Apartment List brings 3-D tours to rentals

Using 'Look,' consumers can access a series of panoramic images for listings in 5 major cities

Rental marketplace Apartment List is giving its listings a 3-D boost with “Look,” a new feature that provides potential renters virtual 360-degree views from within a rental.

Using special cameras, the San Francisco-based firm has filmed 30,000 units so far in five launch cities: New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Denver and Washington, D.C.

Screen shot of Apartment List's blog post announcing Look.
Screen shot of Apartment List's blog post announcing Look.

Look, which works with the Android and iOS versions of Apartment List’s free mobile apps, provides panoramic views from multiple spots within a listing, including floors, ceilings, and, in some cases, views from the apartment, building amenities and exteriors.

It’s designed to give prospective renters a good sense of a rental without having to physically visit it, John Kobs, CEO of Apartment List, told Inman News.

The average renter checks out more than four places in person before choosing one, Apartment List has found. The firm wants to streamline the apartment hunt by giving renters a virtual window into a rental that piques their interest.

To make Look a reality, Apartment List builds out its own contract camera crews in the cities where it wants to film, trains them, ships them cameras and schedules photo shoots, Kobs said. Apartment List uses a software it developed itself to process the images it gathers into the feature, he said.

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Since rolling out the feature on a subset of its listings over the past month, Apartment List has seen engagement on Look-enhanced listings trump that of regular listings, Kobs said. Consumers spend an average of three times the amount of time on listings with Look than those without it, according to Kobs.

3-D virtual tour modeling is heating up in the real estate space as increasing computing power and technology advances make immersive, 3-D virtual tour tech cheaper to build and more accessible.

Matterport won Realogy’s FWD pitch competition in June by wowing judges with its fly-through 3-D technology. Floored, another 3-D virtual tour provider, took top prize at last year’s event.

Surefield launched a new brokerage model in April based around providing its proprietary 3-D tour technology to home sellers to help eliminate some of the hassle that comes with hosting open houses and numerous buyers.

Launched in 2011 and currently 80-employees-large, Apartment List has raised $21 million since November to build a comprehensive database of rental listings across the U.S. “We want to have the best rental supply,” Kobs said.

The site currently features approximately 300,000 rental listings sourced from more than 100 partners including ForRent.com, ApartmentFinder.com, the listing distribution platform ListHub, and property management companies, Kobs said.

In May, Apartment List attracted 1.5 million unique visitors to its site, making it the 15th most popular real estate network that month, according to comScore.


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