After a prospective homebuyer wanders into a home’s living room, she grimaces: the space groans with off-color wallpaper, shag carpeting and a well-worn couch. But her agent is smug as a bug. She hands her client a smartphone and instructs her to peer through its camera.

  • Real estate agents can use Rooomy's smartphone app to show buyers different interior-design possibilities during showings.
  • The app uses Google's Tango technology to overlay furnishings onto a smartphone's camera view.

After a prospective homebuyer wanders into a home’s living room, she grimaces: The space groans with off-color wallpaper, shag carpeting and a well-worn couch.

But her agent is smug as a bug. She hands her client a smartphone and instructs the buyer to peer through its camera.

Reality transformed: The buyer sees newly-painted walls, a leather couch, reading lamp, ottoman and big-screen TV as she surveys the space.

This is how real estate agents can use a new mobile app from virtual-staging provider Rooomy to show a home’s full potential.

A promotional Rooomy graphic shows a room's real appearance in the upper right-hand corner and a home's an augmented-reality version of the space on the left.

A promotional Rooomy graphic shows a room’s real appearance in the upper right-hand corner and an augmented-reality version on the left.

The app, which Rooomy plans to launch in the Google Play Store in February, will only be compatible with smartphones that use Tango, an augmented-reality (AR) technology from Google that can map and “augment” the real world through a mobile device’s camera.

The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is the only smartphone that uses Tango at the moment, but a second, the Asus Zenfone AR, is slated to debut in the first quarter of 2017.

Rooomy’s app works by overlaying furnishings into a user’s camera view of a room, so they see an “augmented” version of the space.

“We all know that one of the biggest hurdles that Realtors are dealing with is that 90 percent of consumers don’t have ability to visualize the space,” Rooomy CEO Pieter Aarts said. “[Rooomy’s app] is really showing the full potential for the property, especially during open houses and viewings.”

Prospective buyers can choose from a wide range of existing design schemes to project onto a space, or they can use Rooomy’s app or website to design their own, perhaps before they visit a listing.

Rooomy will pilot the app with San Francisco Bay Area brokerage Climb Real Estate. Climb had already been using Rooomy’s flagship product, which converts photographs into online 3-D models and virtually stages them.

Tango will likely spawn a range of apps that can add a new dimension to home shopping.

Online furniture marketplace Wayfair already offers Rooomy-like virtual-staging app, while Matterport’s app lets users capture bare-bone 3-D models of spaces.

Email Teke Wiggin.

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