Home buyers rated 3d tours as the second most valuable feature, according to realtor.com. 3d tours exist for 5% of all homes, according to Matterport. I profiled 30 companies that create 3d tours, in my book published on Amazon last year.
Buyers want 3d tours, very few exist, and there are many ways to create them. Why do home buyers have such a hard time finding them?
In shopping for homes, I was saddened to learn that so few had 3d tours. It’s quick, easy, and cheap to create 3d tours, but so few homes have them (approx 5% according to Matterport) and the majority of agents aren’t willing to create them. I discovered that agents are busy finding leads, placing ads, showing homes; they can’t be bothered to create a 3d tour for free. Home buyers want 3d tours (2nd most important feature according to realtor.com) but most homes don’t have them and few agents create them. I surveyed 10 home buyers, and all of them admitted they would be willing to pay for an agents time, on these conditions:
- That agents would submit lists of homes with 3d tours for them to see
- That they could choose which agent they wanted to work with
- That the money they paid would be used to pay commission when they closed on a home
I surveyed 5 agents and asked if they would be willing to create lists of homes and add 3d tours. They also agreed, on these conditions:
- That they would be paid for their time
- That they would forego immediate payment, until the buyer closed on a home
- That if the buyer purchases from another agent, they could still get compensated for their time
The answer was obvious! Create a fair market strategy where everybody benefits. Buyers choose from agents who are eager to help them find a home, rather than working with random agents who may be less experienced. Agents can be compensated for their work, rather than waiting to hope they sell a home and get a big commission. Instead of relying on a third-party, which would incur issues with trust, fees, timing, globalization, etc. We rely on smart contracts.
What it does
Allows buyers to list a home search, and propose a set amount of tokens. What they are willing to pay. The agents will see these home searches, and list a bunch of homes with 3d tours, along with a counter offer. The buyer will accept the offer, once they see a home in VR, that they want to see in real-life. After the showing has concluded, the smart contract will release the tokens into a pool. When the buyer closes on a home, they pay the agent commission, and the tokens will be returned to the buyer. When the buyer closes on a home with a different agent, the tokens will be released to the original agent.
How I built it
This is done with four applications. The blockchain, the dashboard, the API, and the interface.
I deployed a private Ethereum blockchain, and use my Node API to communicate with my smart contracts. The UI of the application is built with React, and makes CORS requests to the API, which talks to the smart contracts. The dashboard can be uses to analyze blocks, transactions, and accounts.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
- Deployed an enterprise Ethereum blockchain deployed on multiple nodes
- wrote smart contracts to take tokens from seller, and release them to buyer only after certain conditions have been met
- an http interface to allow my API server to invoke the methods in my Solidity smart contracts
- a UI that calls my API server to interact with my smart contracts
What I learned
Real estate commission prices are large amounts. This causes some agents to be bad actors. There is no immediate cost incurred on the buyer. This causes some buyers to be bad actors. When agents waste time showing houses that won't sell, and when buyers waste time seeing homes they don't want to buy, this indirectly affects the real estate economy and this means you will either pay more, spend more time looking, or settle on a house you don't really like, just because you want the drama to be over with.
When agents only get paid after selling a home, and when buyers don't have to pay to see homes, then bad things happen. Buyers will look at hundreds of homes and decide they want to rent. Agents will sneak around persuading naive buyers to sign, just so they can get a check.
A big part of buying a home, is shopping around and looking at places. When we can save a bunch of time for agents and buyers, by showing homes virtually, the quality will improve and the costs will go down. We can do this today, but not without a reasonable way to pay for it. Now there's hope.
What's next for Token Listings
Get user feedback from buyers and agents. Use this info to guide features and enhancements. Refine the workflow and deploy the VR CMS so agents can work on one site and avoid fees incurred from other VR solutions.