3D technology has become an everyday tool for the real estate community and has changed how people view and buy homes because of the changing guidelines around COVID-19 and how they operate.
Matterport, a company based out of California, provides the 3D technology behind virtual tours and computer learning and artificial intelligence to create 3D images.
Harrison Lippy, a sales development representative at Matterport, said real estate agents use the technology in several ways.
“When they use Matterport, they are able to get more qualified leads because potential buyers have the chance to fully understand the property without setting foot in it,” Lippy said. “With COVID-19 and international real estate investing, buyers no longer have to travel to a property. You can host virtual open houses and guided tours all online.”
Local Bellingham real estate companies have started to use 3D virtual tours more since the pandemic started.
Paul Balzotti, owner and broker of John L. Scott Real Estate in Bellingham, said the most significant change was relying on virtual tours using 3D technology.
“Instead of one out of five houses having them, now half the listings have them,” Balzotti said. “More virtual tours were given so people could feel more comfortable.”
Having the ability to give virtual tours gives people worldwide the opportunity to view a property with the convenience of never getting off their couch.
Chris Erdmann, CEO of Blu.ink real estate in Bellingham, said he’d seen an increase in the number of people working from home due to COVID-19.
“I’ve been seeing quite a bit of people who have been calling from outside the area to look at homes here,” Erdmann said. “I see people coming from Bellevue, Seattle, Vancouver, B.C., New York, Chicago; I’m not shocked when people are coming from different cities all over the U.S.”
3D technology has given the real estate industry benefits no in-person open house can.
“It is crucial to implement this technology because of the value you are giving the buyer and the time and money that the actual agent saves,” Lippy said. “The buyer has a much easier process finding what they like and knowing that a property is in the right conditions.”
Meanwhile, in-person open houses have still been operating through COVID-19 with some restrictions, including masks.
“Realtors started putting kits together, and a lot of us [are] still using them,” Balzotti said. “The entry has gloves, hand sanitizer and masks.” The kits are put at the entrance of the home for buyers when they walk in.
The National Association of Realtors strongly encourages members to be sensible about COVID-19 while holding in-person open houses with the guidance of federal, state and local authorities.
Meanwhile, 3D technology is very accessible for real estate agents and brokerages to use.
“It is an extremely user-friendly product,” Lippy said. “The AI processing engine does all the hard work, and all you need to do is place the camera where you want the user to be able to move. You are able to capture from a wide array of devices such as 360 camera, our proprietary camera or even an Android or iPhone.”
Click here to check out homes in Bellingham that have 3D virtual tours available.
Emily Paulson (she/her) is a senior reporter for The Front this quarter. She is a sophomore currently pursuing a double major in journalism specifically news/ed track and in accounting. Emily focuses her reporting on the Bellingham waterfront and other city news stories. Outside of journalism, Emily plays on the Western softball team, enjoys watching sports, spending time with friends and working on her podcast.
Her instagram is @empaulson22