3D House Tours: Real Estate?s Virtual Reality

This article was originally published on Christie’s International Real Estate’s blog Luxury Defined.


A real-life walk-through of a property may not be possible at the moment—but that hasn’t deterred interest in real estate. “We’ve seen an 83 percent increase week-on-week in 3D house tours during lockdown,” says James Mackenzie, senior director of U.K. property consultancy Strutt & Parker. “And we’ve had serious offers from people who have taken a virtual viewing.”


According to Matterport, a leader in 3D-viewing technology, people spend three times longer engaging with property listings that offer a virtual tour. While there are limits to the platform—”like seeing how close the neighbors are,” says Mackenzie—it provides an immersive experience, allowing users to view a space from multiple angles and even get accurate measurements of its dimensions.


3D house tours, such as those hosted via Matterport’s 3D platform, can offer “dollhouse views” of a property—allowing users to see it from any perspective and get an overview of the space.

These are great benefits for buyers, says Carrie Nicholson, Realtor and director of Hawai’i Life Real Estate Brokers in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. “360-degree online tours give you more time to walk through a home virtually,” she explains. “You can look at details you might miss if you were physically at the property.”

“Virtual viewings are a way to tell the story of a property and show the lifestyle a home can offer—Eileen Lasswell


The Next Level

For Eileen Lasswell, real estate broker at Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, Brokerage in Toronto, virtual viewings are more than just a means to show people inside. She believes they can also be used in innovative ways—and that social distancing is encouraging creativity.


“All of my listings offer 3D tours and, in the last two years, I’ve sold properties without buyers seeing them in person,” she says. “But during lockdown the way I’ve used the technology has changed. Now, I see it as a way to tell the story of a property. It’s more important than ever to show the lifestyle a home can offer, and you can pique a buyer’s interest by doing so through digital assets.”

The art-filled living room of a home in Toronto
A virtual exhibition of award-winning artist Koray Erkaya’s work was added to the online tour of this luxury condo in Toronto— just one way technology can enhance the 3D viewing experience. (Find more details on this property in the listing below.)


To highlight the qualities of a home in Toronto’s upscale Rosedale neighborhood, Lasswell took the property’s virtual tour to another level. “Buyers here often comment that they need somewhere to hang art,” she explains. “So, I partnered with a well-known local artist to create a 3D virtual exhibition of his work on the main level. This highlighted the large walls for hanging art, while also showcasing the natural light.”


“In family-friendly Riverdale,” she continues, “I had a home I knew I’d be listing around Easter. Instead of doing a regular video, I hid an Easter bunny on one of the kid’s beds and challenged viewers to find it. It turned the tour into an interactive scavenger hunt and gave people a purpose to view it in its entirety, while also reflecting the family focus.”


Lasswell added an interactive element to pique interest in this family-friendly property. “Buyers are at home and more active than ever on social media,” she explains. “As real estate brokers, we need to provide content that’s right for those platforms.”


The Long View

Mackenzie believes that using virtual viewing technology in this way will mean that “potential buyers will get used to seeing properties in far more detail.” He points out that this in-depth view will help people to research properties—giving them the chance to decide on the homes they’d like to view in person and to prepare for the next step.


360-degree online tours give you more time to walk through a home virtually and see details you might otherwise miss—Carrie Nicholson


That’s in line with Matterport’s research, which found that 95 percent of viewers were likely to place a follow-up call about a listing with a 3D walk-through. “Because these virtual tours are giving people the opportunity to do their homework on properties, as soon as lockdown ends, they’ll be better informed,” Mackenzie adds. “This could mean we’ll see the market come back quicker.”


Nicholson agrees, and predicts that virtual tours will begin to play an even greater role in property sales. “We’ve found a way to talk to buyers in advance and allow them to tour each property. It acts as a 24/7 open house.”


Find a New Home Virtually

Old-Hawaii Charm in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii


Hawaii plantation-style home


Designed for sustainable living, this home is outfitted with solar panels and allows natural light and cool breezes to be enjoyed throughout the interior and outdoor living spaces.


Take a 3D virtual tour of this modern plantation-style home on the Kona Coast of Big Island, on the market with Hawai’i Life Real Estate Brokers. Just moments from the ocean, interior features include vaulted ceilings, an open-flowing floor plan and a dream kitchen, along with three bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths and a spacious great room opening onto a lanai.


A Condo Townhouse in Rosedale, Toronto

Toronto condo


This home offers a flexible floor plan and incredible access to private outdoor spaces as well as a wine cellar—making it great for entertaining.


Walk through this renovated three-storey condo, available through Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, Brokerage, to see the virtual exhibition created in partnership with artist Koray Erkaya. As well as having space for hanging artwork, the property comes with a private rooftop deck, backyard, and custom wine cellar in addition to its three bedrooms, five baths, and living and dining areas.


A Modern Equestrian Home in Somerset, England

An open-paln Equestrian home in Somerset, England


Situated on 69 acres (28 ha), the oversized sliding doors of this five-bedroom, three-bath family home open onto a cobblestone terrace and the countryside beyond.


Virtually view this contemporary family home, on the market with Strutt & Parker, and explore its combination of stylish Modernist design and first-class equestrian facilities. The property’s double-volume living space and open-plan layout provide a feeling of light and openness to the land beyond. Seven detached stables are accessible from the house, and a roof terrace, terraced gardens, and swimming pool complete the wonderful array of amenities on offer.


A Lakeside Estate in Veyrier-du-Lac, France

Lakeside estate


Its breathtaking views, lovely garden and quiet location, make this property an idyllic escape—and an ideal second home.


Take a virtual tour of this estate, on the market with Agence Clerc Immobilier. With a panoramic view of Lake Annecy in the idyllic Veyrier-du-Lac commune of France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, its 4,844 square feet (450 sq m) encompass seven bedrooms, five baths, and leisure facilities including a pool and wine cellar.


Banner image: Courtesy of Matterport