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    Categories: Local News

A virtual home viewing

VIRTUAL DOLLHOUSE – The technology scans and photographs the inside of homes with an infrared camera. Once the data is collected

Would you buy a house thousands of miles away if you could walk through it from the comfort of your home?

Jesse Tutt says yes. The IT director and NAIT student just founded a company that makes it possible to walk through and view homes online, a technology now used by St. Albert realtors.

3D Scan Experts scans and photographs the inside of homes with an infrared camera. Once the data is collected, Tutt then creates a 3D model of the home on his computer, similar to a virtual dollhouse.

“There are so many people now who are buying homes from outside the province or moving from Edmonton to Calgary,” he says. “With this technology potential buyers can easily look at the homes and pick one from the comfort of their home.”

The technology is the next big thing for realtors, says Sharon Ryan with ReMax River City. Ryan recently had Tutt scan one of her largest items on the market, a $5.3-million home on Kingsford Crescent.

Houses of this size and price-range often sell internationally, she says. But the market for any realtor is competitive and you need “to stay ahead” to get potential buyers to recognize your offer, she says.

“They can walk through the property and it engages them and that is step one to getting them to want to physically see the property,” she says. “The biggest part of my job is to find these people and get these images in their field of vision so they take the time to come and see this property.”

Tutt says he first heard about the 3D scanner being used by companies and realtors in the United States. But nobody had brought the technology to Alberta.

While many realtors use photographs to sell homes online, pictures can only say so much, he says. Being able to walk through a building virtually can convey much more of the “feel” of the home, help people make their decision earlier, and save time and money.

Pricing for a scan starts at about $300 for a small condominium or apartment. Small to medium homes (2,500 to 3,500 square feet) sell at about $425 to $525 a scan. The scanner takes about an hour for every 1,000 square feet.

Tutt doesn’t suspect the technology will replace realtors.

“You still need someone to walk through the home with you,” he says. “But (realtors) will probably get more qualified showings … so you probably have a higher chance of selling the home.”

Viola Pruss: