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Better Homes & Garden Rand Uses New System To Give Buyers Unique Look

Better Homes & Gardens Rand Realty is using a new 3-D photo imaging system to give prospective buyers a view of homes. Photo Credit: Screen shot from
The pictures from Matterport cameras are in high definition and high dynamic range, which adjusts the pictures to available light. Photo Credit: Screen shot from

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Matt Vanacoro watched technology change the way real estate transactions have been conducted for the past 25 years. Vanacoro, an Associate Broker for Better Homes & Gardens Rand Realty, believes a new 3-D photo system might be the biggest game-changer yet.

Vanacoro, who also has a background in photography, has taken photographs of nearly 100 homes in Westchester, Rockland and Orange Counties in New York and in New Jersey with the Matterport 3D system. Click here for a look at one of Rand’s listings with Matterport photos. Vanacoro said Rand is the only real estate agency in the region current using the Matterport system.

“It’s a highly-detailed virtual walk through the home,’’ Vanacoro said. “It puts the buyer in the driver’s seat. You can walk through the entire house and get a much better feel for the house than even a video.”

Joseph Rand, one of the Managing Partners for Rand Realty, discovered the technology earlier this year during a real estate trade convention in California. Vanacoro got trained on the system and took pictures of the homes. Vanacoro said it takes 2-3 hours to photograph a 4,000 square foot house.

The camera includes nine lenses and is mounted on a tripod. Vanacoro activates the tripod from another room in the house. The camera also works in high definition and high dynamic range, which allows the camera to adjust to the light in the house. No additional lighting is required.

“Matterport stitches the images together to walk you through the house,’’ Vanacoro said. “You can up go up and down stairs, left or right, and you can see every detail. In one of the pictures it picked up a prescription bottle where you could see everything. From that point on, I had to be very careful.”

Matterport also provides a dollhouse image of the home, peeling off the roof to give a unique perspective. Potential buyers can also view a floor plan of the home.

Vanacoro said the technology is especially valuable for potential buyers who might be moving from out of town. “People come in and sometimes have only a day or two to see neighborhoods and homes,’’ he said. “This gives them such a thorough look that it feels like they’ve been there already. They can plot out where they want to put furniture and paintings. For sellers, it gives exposure to as many qualified buyers as possible.”

Vanacoro said builders also love the 3-D pictures because it allows them to jump from room to room and floor to floor. Buyers enjoy seeing the flow of the home. “That’s really an important feature,’’ Vanacoro said. “Buyers can fall in love with the flow of the home without going into it. That’s something that a lot of buyers look for in a home.”

For now, Rand is using the feature to market high-end homes. For Vanacoro, it’s another step in the marriage between real estate and photography technology that makes it far easier for people to view homes via the web.

“It’s interesting the way technology and photography changed real estate,’’ Vanacoro said. “Suddenly, the two careers clashed. I look back what just seems like a few years ago and the only picture was a black and white in the newspaper with a little bit of home detail. Now there’s a lot more information in the hands of the consumer, and that’s a good thing.”

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