'Like a video game': Virtual reality meets Victoria’s red-hot real estate market
Jeff Lawrence, CTV Vancouver Island
Published Tuesday, July 26, 2016 2:03PM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 26, 2016 6:56PM PDT
Advances in 3-D technology have permeated movies and video games, and now they’re helping home buyers make the biggest decision of their lives.
A Vancouver Island company is offering up 3-D house scans to give potential buyers a virtual reality tour of a home before even setting foot in it.
Proper Measure Ltd. is partnering with realty companies like Remax to provide the service for high-end homes, like a $4.8-million luxury property in Saanich that was scanned on Tuesday.
The company uses cameras worth up to $10,000 that rotate 360 degrees and take pictures with nine lenses including HDR and 3-D infrared lenses.
“This gives them a realistic perspective of how to go through the home, understand the layout, before actually coming to see the house in person,” said Remax realtor Alex Burns.
“Oftentimes, photos can’t really give them the full perspective of the house. What we found with the virtual tour is they can actually walk through, they can stop, look around, and make sure they see all the nooks and crannies of the home that they might not be able to see on a still image.”
The service is costed by square footage, ranging from $109 for smaller floor plans up to $169 for homes between 3,000 and 4,000 square feet.
With a relatively low cost in a red-hot real estate market like Victoria’s – the technology is in high demand.
“The demand is insane,” said Proper Measures 3-D technician Dylan Van Wyk. “It’s absolutely crazy. We don’t really advertise the 3-D scanning because we are so absolutely busy with it already.”
The process to capture a house is fairly straightforward.
A technician sets up the camera at head level “to see from a good angle,” and connects it to an iPad app. Next, the camera scans a room for about 45 seconds while it rotates 360-degrees, snapping pictures continuously.
Then Van Wyk moves it to another position in the same room for a new perspective. One room may take four to five scans, and an entire home can be captured in about three hours.
The technology is so advanced it can also take accurate measurements of rooms and wall thickness.
“It’s actually pretty intense and pretty insane,” said Van Wyk.
The cameras the company uses are compatible with virtual headsets, such as the Oculus Rift, and it could only be a matter of time until the immersive technology is integrated into property sales.
While it’s mostly being used for properties, the applications are limitless.
“We can be scanning RV’s, boats, yachts, to condos to absolutely anything,” he said. “I see it going to the point of actually being able to put a virtual reality headset on yourself, and sitting down and flying through the house while looking all over.”
Homeowner Janegil Gulbrandson said he liked using the technology to give a better glimpse of his home because he moved from Norway 14 years ago – and had to rely on still images to make his decision.
“It will open up for out-of-town buyers that can then get online and do their own home tour,” he said. “It’s almost like a video game, walking through the house, so I think that’ll be a new and exciting way of marketing the property.”