Croft Residential, an estate agency that specialises in luxury homes in Yorkshire and the York city centre property market, has launched a high-tech service enabling prospective buyers to take hyper-realistic virtual property tours as an alternative to conventional viewings.
Working with Cloud 9 Architectural Photography in Leeds, York-based Croft Residential has invested in immersive three-dimensional technology that can create highly accurate scale models and virtual tours of properties, viewed on bespoke headsets. Originated by Silicon Valley property tech company, Matterport, the 3D imaging hyper-real virtual tours enable viewers to zoom in on details such as bathroom and kitchen fittings and to look out of windows to outside areas and views.
Toby Cockcroft, who founded Croft Residential in 2010, believes his firm is one of the first in the region to adopt the new technology, which is already popular in the US. “We’re ahead of the curve in introducing this high-tech service for our clients here in Yorkshire,” said Mr Cockcroft. “It will be immensely helpful in situations such as for overseas buyers who are looking to move to the UK, and the growing trend of Londoners relocating to York or other value-for-money northern locations.”
Cloud 9 director Jonathan Taylor said: “We have been shooting property for 30 years and seen many developments in digital technology, but the new Matterport 3D scanner is the first bit of kit we have bought that has really struck me as a great leap forward.
“The idea of 3D walk-throughs has been around for over 15 years, but in the past they were slow and required specialised software to run them. Matterport has finally taken this concept and made it work. The house models are stored online so that all you need to view them is an internet-connected device.”
Mr Cockcroft said: “Buying a property sight unseen happens a lot these days in US cities such as New York and San Francisco, where there’s high demand and low supply. Although a virtual tour is unlikely to be the only viewing that will be made before someone buys a property here in Yorkshire, it’s definitely a game changer in terms of the accuracy and ease with which you can now view a house and decide whether to add it to your shortlist. We think it will be a real boon to our clients and will help us to sell their properties for them, which is what we are all about.”
The Matterport technology offered by Croft Residential can also generate a ‘digital twin’ 3D version of a property that is an exactly scaled replica. High-res 3D tours of every room are then saved into a file that can be shared in all its detail, by a simple text or email, with builders, architects and engineers.
Founded by Mr Cockcroft in 2010, Croft Residential currently has a £75m portfolio of properties across the north of England, from new-builds to country estates. This summer the agency was appointed to sell the Boston Spa home of cricket legend Sir Geoffrey Boycott.