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Real estate companies like Century 21 now using virtual technology

Graham Stewart, manager of marketing and digital services for Century 21 in Charlottetown, says real estate companies are now using virtual technology to help sell homes. It gives the customer the feeling of being inside a home that’s for sale without actually setting foot in it. DAVE STEWART/THE GUARDIAN
Graham Stewart, manager of marketing and digital services for Century 21 in Charlottetown, says real estate companies are now using virtual technology to help sell homes. It gives the customer the feeling of being inside a home that’s for sale without actually setting foot in it. DAVE STEWART/THE GUARDIAN

Century 21 is taking real estate into the future.

It’s one of the real estate companies in P.E.I. now using virtual technology, enabling people to view a listing without actually being in the home that is being sold.

It uses camera technology that is relatively new in the Canadian market.

“We definitely saw the value in it,’’ said Graham Stewart, manager of marketing and digital services for Century 21. “What it does is uses a camera technology that uses a radar within it. It can actually build a three dimensional model of any home but it can also do a 360 (degree) tour.

“You can go through a home looking ceiling to floor and 360 degrees around. It actually takes your traditional listing photos and goes to the next level.’’

It allows the customers a much more immersive experience into listings.

Stewart said listing photos are still at the heart of any listing.

“This technology is not going to replace it, it’s actually going to complement it. It offers value to buyers and sellers alike because, for a seller, it allows interested parties to get inside the home if they’re not able to view it.’’

That could include people who are out of province or country. The realtor simply supplies a link to the virtual tour.

“We’ve actually seen some success already with this program and we’ve only had it for a short time. We’ve had offers on homes. Someone has looked at the virtual tour a number of times, maybe 10 minutes in and out and they’re ready to make an offer. This technology allows you to see everything for what it is. It’s transparent . . . we’re not hiding anything.’’

Century 21 is also offering virtual reality technology of listings through a small device called Google Cardboard, similar to Viewfinders kids use to look at images in 3D.

“You can put most modern cellphones in it and, with an app, it actually takes a 360 (degree) tour and turns it into virtual reality. When you put the goggles on you have that first-person view like you’re standing in the home. That’s technology that’s on its way up.’’

Century 21 handed out hundreds of the devices at the Biz2Biz Expo on Thursday in Charlottetown.

The third component of the virtual reality tours Century 21 offers of a branded component on its website.

“It takes you to a map of all the listings we currently have optimized for this system. We released this system about three to four months ago and, so far, we’ve done about 15 listings with it. We’re looking to expand our program.’’

Click on a listing and it gives you three icons to choose from – 360 degrees, 3D and virtual reality.

Stewart admits the technology takes some getting used to.

“We advise (people) either sit in a chair or not move. It really does give you that perspective that you’re in another space.’’

Stewart said offering the technology is all about taking real estate to the next level.

“If people sit still you don’t move ahead. I think it’s going to work out in the end.’’

 

dave.stewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

 

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