Many apartment-seekers have a hard time visualizing how they can make a potential new home fit their own aesthetic and furnishings. They may have difficulty looking beyond the clutter of an existing occupant if the property is tenant-occupied while it’s up for rent or sale.
New York-based 3DAPARTMENT makes the home search faster, less expensive, more productive, and more pleasant. It was founded in 2018 as the first virtual reality–only apartment search platform, enabling renters to confidently find what they’re looking for in a fun way from the comfort of home with virtual open house capabilities along with virtual staging of furniture and artwork. “Our initial goal was to make Brooklyn the first virtual city by capturing enough listings to provide a meaningful search experience for our users,” says Gregory Ardbelava, Founder and CEO of 3DAPARTMENT.
From Virtual Tours to Gamified Virtual Staging
The company started by helping property owners, managers, and brokers better market their rental properties, enlisting Matterport, Inc.™ Capture Services technicians to capture 3D imagery at 4K resolution using Matterport Pro2 3D cameras. The result is a digital twin and a fully immersive 3D virtual tour that property visitors can navigate on any device with an internet connection.
In January 2021, 3DAPARTMENT, aiming to level up the home shopping experience, partnered directly with Matterport to develop a gamified virtual staging technology called Listing3D Virtual Staging Club that can digitally stage Matterport 3D tours with furniture and decor from its in-house library. Using the tool, buyers and renters themselves can control the virtual staging by mixing and matching colors and wall art, adding furniture from the library that resembles their own style so they can truly see what the space will look like when they move in. The platform uses the spatial data in the digital twins to make sure the furniture is sized correctly and is displayed accurately.
Using the Matterport Software Development Kit (SDK) and Application Programming Interface (API), 3DAPARTMENT enables visitors to purchase staged furniture or artwork with a click of the button. It also powers virtual open houses, where each visitor is portrayed as an avatar in the digital twin and can communicate in real time with the real estate agent, mirroring the warm, personable interactions that would have taken place in person.
Matterport helps 3DAPARTMENT tackle landlord and property manager challenges while providing renters the tools they crave, such as virtual tours, virtual leasing, and virtual staging,” says Kate Montalbano, Head of Virtual Staging at 3DAPARTMENT. “With the vast majority of home searches beginning online, displaying compelling visual information is essential to attracting and retaining interested renters and buyers.”
Helping Properties Look Their Best
With Matterport and virtual staging, a property can be captured as it is, decluttered virtually, and staged to help home shoppers visualize the space as their new home. This also gives property owners and occupants a smoother transaction experience as they no longer have to quickly empty out the space and rent furniture for several weeks to stage the property. Renting furniture is a costly endeavor, often costing the property manager and the owner more than $1,000 monthly. Having a virtually staged property ultimately helps drive views to the listing, helping the property transact faster to minimize the loss of property income due to unit vacancy.
“With virtual staging, residents have the advantage of staying in their home while it's on the market,” says Amber Kaplan, Sales Director at 3DAPARTMENT. “Once a digital twin is created for the virtual staging, homeowners are free to live in their space as usual. It’s significantly more convenient for sellers who want a comfortable lifestyle while their home is on the market.”
Reducing the Stress of Finding an Apartment
3DAPARTMENT surveyed 3,000 visitors and found that 60% of renters are willing to lease a property sight unseen after having viewed one of its 3D tours. The virtual tours generate 49% more qualified leads, and leads convert twice as quickly as they do without virtual tours. Using digital twins for rental leads also means fewer in-person showings and an easier process for clients who live out of town, out of state, or out of the country. While most renters still tour properties in person, they no longer need to physically visit as many.
Moreover, digital twins reduce the time between initial contact and showing. Clients know exactly what they will be seeing, and they tend to arrive prepared to apply for the unit. Even more impressive, 3DAPARTMENT is seeing 500% higher user interaction on its website pages that include virtual staging. Perhaps most surprising of all, nearly one in four renters are now finding a new home without setting foot in it. “Renters are happy as digital twins and virtual staging reduce the stress of finding an apartment,” says Ardbelava. “By viewing the virtual tour, they don’t have to spend so much time looking at apartments that they can see won’t work for them. Now they know exactly what they’re going to see, and for the most part, they visit in person to confirm what they’ve already seen in the digital twin.”
An Underserved Market
3DAPARTMENT has so far captured 30 million square feet across 20,000 properties. Its digital twins have been viewed 1.5 million times, up more than 50% since 2020, and the company expects to continue growing for the foreseeable future.
“Our research shows that before the pandemic, less than 1% of all residential listings in the U.S. had virtual tours,” Ardbelava says. “Now that number has jumped to around 10%. Half of all renters wish listings had 3D tours available, so currently, the market is extremely underserved. We believe that all properties will be managed digitally in the future using companies like 3DAPARTMENT and Matterport.”
3DAPARTMENT is a Matterport Platform Partner that leverages Matterport APIs and SDKs to build and commercialize apps and integrations with Matterport’s market-leading spatial data platform. As a Platform Partner, the company gains access to a range of commercial benefits, such as Matterport’s distribution network and enhanced support as well as co-marketing and co-selling programs to help successfully monetize its applications. To learn more about the Platform Partner Program and apply to join, visit https://matterport.com/platform-partner-program.
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3DAPARTMENT is a virtual reality real estate marketplace that partners with Matterport to create 3D virtual tours and virtual staging of properties for rent and for sale. By providing an immersive virtual touring experience for home shoppers, 3DAPARTMENT helps owners and agents transact faster.
Headquarters: New York City, New York
Products: Matterport SDK, Matterport API, Matterport Capture Services
- Online engagement up by 500%
- 49% more qualified leads
- Fewer in-person real estate showings, driven by consumer preferences for agent-led virtual open houses.
- Reducing apartment staging costs by more than $1,000 per month and promoting furnishings e-commerce with virtual staging