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Real estate portal CommonFloor has introduced a virtual tour for resale and rental property listings which will provide users a 360 degree view of the property, reports ET. The tour will display the property from wall to wall and ceiling to floor. The idea behind this is to display the entire house virtually, saving property hunters the trouble of physically going and visiting the house. Currently available only for Bangalore, Delhi-NCR and Mumbai, CommonFloor will roll this feature to 18 other cities by March 2016.

1,000 listings live, 5 lakh more coming

CommonFloor said in the ET report that it has a team of 200 employees who map houses. It will give brokers access to this technology who should be able to list houses in the same way. CommonFloor claims that so far, it has 1,000 virtual listings live on the desktop as well as its mobile app. In the next 6 months, it will add more than 5 lakh properties, the report added. CommonFloor reportedly makes money per lead from the broker or owner, sparing the cost for end users and keeping it free for them.

CommonFloor Retina for 3D listings

In February this year, CommonFloor introduced CommonFloor Retina, a virtual reality initiative, to let users view listed real estate in 3D. The platform supported Android phones LG Nexus 4 and above, Moto G2, Samsung Galaxy 4 and above, MotoX and the Xiaomi Mi3. A user would also need to have a virtual reality headset similar to Google Cardboard to view the Retina listings. Users would need to download at least one of the CommonFloor Retina apps– each property was a standalone app- to browse multiple properties. A better approach would have been to have a single app download ‘building plans’ as and when requested by the user.

CommonFloor’s funding and acquisition

In January, CommonFloor raised undisclosed amount of investment from Google’s late stage growth fund Google Capital. This was CommonFloor’s third investment round in the past year, which included $30 million from Tiger Global in September last year and Rs 64 crore from Tiger Global and Accel India in January last year.

In the same month, CommonFloor also acqui-hired the Bangalore based messaging startup Bakfy for an undisclosed amount. The company had previously acquired student accommodation portal Flat.to to enter into the student and bachelor accommodation segment in April 2014.

In March 2013, it had launched an Android app called CommonFloor Property India, that let users search properties for buying or renting. The app offered an augmented reality-based search functionality which allowed users to hold the app in camera mode and browse through property listings within 2.5 km radius of their current location.

Other players:

– In July last year, real estate portal IndiaProperty.com had launched a 3D Virtual Property Tour feature. This allowed panoramic view of projects, and in case of ready-to-occupy projects actual static images of the property stitched together to create the virtual tour.

– Housing.com had also launched a platform called Slice View which offered interactive exploration of the project, along with integrated booking options. This platform displayed 3D model of the building along with a list of its floors and let users view a detailed 3D flat view, complete with flat furnishings. Both these initiatives were overall far more impressive, as both are easily accessible to anyone and provide buyers with useful information.