By Anne Ewasko
I am always looking for ways to cut costs and be more efficient with my time while maintaining quality. In a time when buyers are reluctant to physically view properties and owners are afraid to have people coming through their doors but have the need to get the buyers to see their homes, the 3D tours couldn’t be more important.
As 3D tours are almost a necessity now, I have been on the hunt to find something that is cost-effective, easy to use and doesn’t compromise quality. Zillow and Matterport have both come out with 3D capture apps but you need an iPhone and Matterport requires you to have an expensive subscription.
So I did more research and found this new product, Asteroom. For $100, you get their 3D “kit” which includes a fisheye pano lens that snaps on to your smartphone, a tripod, a phone case and a rotator — a gadget that connects the tripod to your phone. I liked the fact that I didn’t have to spend a lot of money upfront and could use my Android but I was very concerned about the quality but for a hundred bucks, I thought I would give it a whirl.
So I decided to test it out on one of my smaller properties, a one-bedroom condo with amazing views in a Chicago high-rise. Downloading the app, setting up the rotator on the tripod and attaching the fisheye on my phone was pretty straightforward.
You then have to sync the app from your phone to the rotator. It took me a while to get it to talk to each other but after a few tries it did. Fortunately, they had a great instructional video that’s short and concise that I would pause as I went through each of the steps. Once you have it all set up, you basically hit the play button on your camera and just let it do it’s magic. It was fun to see it clicking away and rotating around on its own. I just had to make sure I stayed behind the phone as it was shooting to avoid being in the images (and word of caution, watch out for mirrors)! It took no more than 60 seconds to do one rotation of the room. Then, you just pick up the tripod and move it to the next room, find the spot you think is best and then hit play again and within a minute, that room is done as well. I thought it was pretty cool and it was actually a lot of fun, and the whole process took no more than 10 minutes for this small condo.
Each shot automatically gets saved in the app and all you have to do is tap on the ones you want to use for your tour and then submit your order. They charge only $59/property but that also includes a 2D interactive floor plan and hosting for 180 days. I thought this was almost too good to be true because now I didn’t have to spend the time or money on a floor plan and theirs is interactive, which consumers prefer.
Once submitted, they promise a turnaround time of 24 hours and believe it or not, I received mine back literally within a few hours, I was pretty impressed with that. Perhaps because they are newer and maybe do not have a ton of users yet or they just are that efficient. Regardless, it’s nice to be able to access this so quickly when time is usually of the essence in getting these 3D tours ready for new listings. I was extremely impressed with their editing skills. They corrected the exposure and stitched them together with little or no distortion and was almost seamless. I do find all of these 3D tours have some distortion, even the professional ones. And fortunately, with my amateur shots on a rainy day, no one would know that it wasn’t done professionally which for me, was a win. If one wants to compare, the $375 Ricoh Theta V has only 13 megapixels, the $3,400 Matterport does 40 megapixels and the Asteroom fisheye pano lens used with your smartphone is 32 megapixels.
With so many consumers demanding 3D tours, it’s been a total game changer for me to be able to provide them in an affordable and efficient way on all my listings, even rentals, which were never an option in the past, and now it is. More views means more sales and ultimately, this is what this is all about. Mission accomplished!
Anne Ewasko is a veteran Realtor in the Chicago area and a longtime techie. Visit her at anne.luxhomechicago.com.