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Realtors know that “staging” a home or apartment can increase the chances of selling it, because the prospective buyers can more easily visualize living in it.
Staging can simply mean a good cleaning, but it can also involve the expense of renting and moving in temporary furniture for an empty property.
A new home and business application called Rooomy (with three o’s), launching today, offers a way for realtors to virtually stage a property in 3D. It also lets consumers test out furniture for their own dwellings in ways that parent company Loft-Nedsense says are unique.
The downloadable iPad app started life as a white-label platform called Loft. U.S. and European stores, including Crate & Barrel, Wayfair, Thonet, and Design Within Reach, have used it over the past four years to help customers visualize those retailers’ furnishings in home settings.
There are a number of online and downloadable tools out there for visualizing 2D and 3D spaces. But Rooomy and its underlying Loft technology are different, CEO and cofounder Peter Aarts told me, for several reasons.
It allows a user to convert, in real time, a 2D photo into a 3D space. You just align a wireframe tool with the corners of the room, and Rooomy generates a 3D space. Similarly, it converts 2D images of furniture in participating retailers’ catalogs into 3D objects in real time.
This means that virtually any furniture catalog can be rendered as 3D objects. At launch, the app is accompanied by a catalog of about 500 pieces of furniture from major furniture brands. The company said about 6,000 more furniture products will be available within the next six months.
After you see how that sofa looks in your current or prospective living room, you can click on it to buy it through the maker’s website. If you don’t like the fabric, a few clicks change it.
You can also remove a piece of furniture that might have been in the photo of the room. The application immediately fills in the empty area. In the demo I saw, the walls exposed after a sofa was removed were kind of a smudge, but the floor that had been under the sofa looked like the rest of the floor. Other applications allow you to move furniture, but they leave a hole in the image, Aarts said.
In addition to a growing catalog of furnishings, Rooomy offers rooms from hundreds of houses or apartments on the market. At launch, participating real estate partners include Prudential Cosner in California and Modern Spaces in New York City. If they like a property, users can connect to the realtors through the application.
Aarts said that these features — buyable furniture catalogs, the ability to remove existing furniture, buyable real estate, and real-time conversion of 2D photos into 3D spaces or furniture — make Rooomy unique.
“Nobody has enabled home shoppers to view in detail their furniture with real products from leading retailers,” he told me. “None of the others are connecting retailers with real estate.”
Some companies like Matterport, he said, offer 3D fly-throughs of properties but without personalized presentations. He added that the Houzz platform presents photos, but again without personalization. Autodesk offers 3D constructed models of furniture in a 2D room or 3D in 3D, he noted, but you can’t convert a 2D photo into 3D in real time.
The Rooomy application is free to download. Realtors pay a subscription fee. Loft-Nedsense can virtually stage a room with furnishings for a small fee, or realtors can do it themselves. Retailers pay a fee for each lead they get, plus up to ten percent of the gross price if that piece of furniture is sold.
The retail app has both desktop and iPad versions, but only shows furnishings from that retailer and no realtors. Versions for the iPhone and Android are scheduled for release early next year.
So far, the company says it acquired 44,000 followers on Instagram during the two-month beta period for Roomy. Loft-Nedsense, founded in 2009, is based in San Jose, California and has its software development team in Amsterdam.
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