Staging homes has become a critical component of the real estate process, essential for helping clients visualize how space in a home can be used before they purchase it. However, moving and removing a home’s worth of furniture is a difficult process to coordinate, even for the best staging companies, and the design and style of the chosen furniture could actually act as a deterrent for clients looking for something different.
Startup roOomy looks to solve this problem using advanced virtual reality technology. Their product gives agents, furniture sellers, and consumers the ability to design and decorate a space virtually, offering a much more accurate and immersive portrait of how a home might look. It also allows consumers to try different pieces of furniture before purchasing them, helping furniture sellers make the sales process more efficient and increasing customer satisfaction.
Climb will be trying out roOomy’s product at multiple listings in September. Our place at the center of the technology world makes roOomy’s product particularly attractive — Bay Area customers enjoy tools that increase choice and efficiency.
We got in touch with co-founder Pieter Aarts to get a better sense of roOomy’s story, journey, and goals:
How did you arrive at the idea for this product? Was there something in particular that inspired you, or was it simply a matter of VR technology improving to a degree that made it possible?
In 2009, a passion for interior design and the personal challenge of envisioning how a sofa would look in my own living room led me to become a founder of roOomy’s parent company, LOFT, INC. This allowed me to connect with the retail home décor industry by transforming 2D static images of furniture into 3D interactive models. We have developed an extensive library of furnishings by the country’s top retailers (currently over 40,000 and growing), and the quality of our work caught the attention of one of the country’s largest REITS. They approached us with the idea of bringing this technology to the multifamily market, and the roOomy platform for real estate was born.
Virtual reality is a relatively recent addition to the real estate market, and the technology behind it is still evolving. The technology behind your product seems quite advanced, even for the virtual reality market. What was the biggest technological challenge you faced in developing roOomy?
The greatest technological challenges we faced were our own high expectations — we consistently strive to make our models and renderings look as photorealistic as possible. For example, in the early stages of roOomy, a rug looked a bit like a pizza box; something you had to step up to. Today, roOomy is able to provide industry-leading detail and photorealism throughout our 3D models and renderings.
Having a three-way marketplace, as you do, is great because it can increase potential channels for revenue. However, it also depends on the engagement of all three participants to work well. Of consumers, furniture retailers, and real estate professionals, which participant has been the easiest to market to, and which has been the most difficult?
This is a great question, and quite a difficult one to answer at the moment. The retail side of our business has been established for much longer than real estate, so we are seeing a great deal of growth happening in property staging. As it stands, we are quite seasoned in the home décor market, and the way roOomy has been embraced by the real estate industry has been encouraging. We have three real estate arms: Realtors/ Brokers, Multifamily (private and REIT), and new builds. We are excited to be working with one of the largest multifamily properties in North America and have gained great momentum and traction with our Realtor/ Broker partners.
Where do you see this product going next? What next steps do you think virtual reality is taking that excite you the most?
One of our largest accomplishments this year is connecting with technology giants to utilize 3D scanning technologies. These partnerships will bring roOomy’s platform to Android, as well as the current iOS. The functionality of ‘mixed’ reality (both virtual reality and augmented reality) is very exciting for us.
Are there any other real estate companies or products that you’re excited about?
We are pleased with the recent recognition and momentum in the virtual reality and augmented reality realm. In regards to real estate relationships, we are establishing ourselves as the future of real estate marketing by join forces with forward-thinking companies such as Climb. We enjoy seeing how the industry is changing with players like OPENDOOR. Real estate is adopting technology at an exciting pace and we are proud to be on the forefront.
Stay tuned for more as we continue experimenting with this exciting product.