One potential downside to virtual 3-D models of homes is that they can reduce the ability of an agent to “sell” a prospective buyer on a property, some agents say. That’s because the models can provide enough information upfront to cause more house hunters to rule out a property from their keyboards.

  • 3-D provider Matterport has introduced tags that can be placed in 3-D models to highlight and provide information on various features of a home.
  • "Mattertags" allows agents to bring some of their sales skills to bear in 3-D models.
  • Graphics highlighting Matterport models have been removed from Zillow listing pages with a redesign of Zillow property pages that included changes to different modules.

One potential downside to virtual 3-D models of homes is that they can reduce the ability of an agent to “sell” a prospective buyer on a property, some agents say.

That’s because the models can provide enough information upfront to cause more house hunters to rule out a property from their keyboards, potentially denying a buyer’s agent or listing agent the opportunity to highlight a property’s less-obvious perks in person during a showing, they say.

Sunnyvale, California-based Matterport, a 3-D provider that claims to have generated more than 100,000 3-D walkthroughs in residential real estate, has rolled out a new feature that could empower agents to bring more of their sales skills to bear in its 3-D experiences.

‘Mattertag Posts’

Pop-up boxes that can describe features of a home can now be stitched into Matterport’s virtual tours. Users can run their cursor over a circle to activate a “Mattertag Post” that could highlight, say, a kitchen’s granite countertops or stainless steel appliances.

David Troyer, a Los Altos, California-based real estate agent who creates Matterport models for his listings, said he’ll use Mattertags to call attention to specific finishes, such as limestone flooring and quartz countertops, along with hidden features, including storage areas, dumbwaiters and media closets. He said he’ll also use the feature “to tell a story about how one might live in the home.”

Sample Matterport model showing a Mattertag Post.

Sample Matterport model showing a Mattertag Post.

The feature lets a model’s creators add a new dimension and context to their models, Matterport said in a statement.

“Items that may have otherwise been overlooked are now in the forefront and the buyer can leave the tour with a much clearer vision of the home,” said Troyer, who works at Intero Real Estate Services.

“It is also useful to those people who have already visited the home, but want to virtually ‘revisit’ as they think about putting in an offer,” he added.

How they work

While two-dimensional tags of a single point of interest would have to be added across several images to be accessible to a viewer, Mattertags only have to be placed in a model once to appear to a viewer from any perspective as a user moves around in a model, according to Matterport.

Real estate agents and marketing firms create Matterport models by using a rotating 3-D camera made by Matterport to capture thousands of photographs and readings from infrared sensors. They then upload the data to Matterport, which renders it into a model that’s accessible on matterport.com or can be embedded on another website, such as a listing details page.

Mattertag Tags follow other improvements made to Matterport’s models that have helped enhance their marketing value for agents.

These include labels that can show a name for a model, a listing description and a link to the property’s location, as well as a highlights reel and guided tours that removed the need for a user to plod through a whole model to discover all of a home’s best features.

Matterport models appeared to have received a boost when Zillow introduced special graphics that could advertise a Matterport model on Zillow listing pages. Users could click the graphics to access a model.

But Zillow removed the graphics a few months after Inman reported their display in late May 2015.

They were removed with a redesign of Zillow property pages that included changes to different modules that appear on the pages “so we can scale easily for the majority of our listings,” said Zillow spokeswoman Amanda Woolley.

“Zillow launched a new web site, and have yet to integrate the feature into their new web site,” said Matterport spokeswoman Diane Whitlow, when asked why Zillow had scrapped the Matterport graphic.

Zillow listing pages can now only provide access to Matterport models through a link that reads “View Virtual Tour” in the property details section. The text can link to a wide range of virtual tour types, not just Matterport models, depending on what a listing agent has added to a listing.

Matterport said it plans to eventually expand Mattertag Content to include “multimedia content associated with any point in 3-D space,” raising the possibility that agents will be able to embed videos in their models.

Other 3-D providers in real estate include InsideMaps, Virtual Xperience and Floored.

Email Teke Wiggin.

This story has been updated with comments from Zillow and Matterport about the removal of Matterport graphics from Zillow listing pages. 

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