Relying on an All in One Machine can be Risky Business

Relying on an All in One Machine can be Risky Business.

We all have heard the adage – “If it’s too good to be true…”  This statement definitely holds true for an all-in-one machine such as Matterport, Leica BLK360, or other such locally available technologies, which can measure, photograph and provide a 3D walk through of a property.  Now, this is not to say that these machines and the technology behind them isn’t incredible, but let’s review how they do things and see if they meet the needs and standards of the real estate industry so that YOU are not left LIABLE.

Let’s start off with measurements, because this is where you, the listing agent, has the greatest risk.

As you know, RECA (Real Estate Council of Alberta) and CREB (Calgary Real Estate Board) all have very strict and well defined standards for measuring homes. These standards have been put in place to protect sellers, buyers, and the real estate industry members. The responsibility is on the listing agent to ensure that the measurements taken are accurate and reliable.

Let’s take the example of a Matterport, which does 3D renderings of a home. Calgary Photos provides Matterport and we think it is wonderful, a wonderful tool for 3D and virtual tours. HOWEVER, we do not offer it or use it to provide any floorplans or measurements because of the lack of reliability as a measurement instrument. To demonstrate what we mean, using the Matterport camera, we took two scans of the same condo and then ordered the measurements from each scan. One came out as being 95.0 m2 (square metres), the other came out at 97.0 m2. That difference of two m2 (21.53 ft2), equates to over a 2% variance. Keep in mind, the same machine, scanned the same property, and came out with different results – so NOT reliable as a measurement tool. That wasn’t the only issue; the Matterport camera only provided measurements to the nearest square meter, which means that the total variance could have been even higher, and it does not meet the RECA RMS requirements.

Now granted, the Matterport is not representative of the capabilities of all, all-in-one machines, and other machines such as the $30,000 Leica BLK360, may have better measurement accuracy and reliability. Yet, all All-in-One machines have one universal issue, and that is that they cannot make judgement calls. For example: when to measure from the exterior wall or interior wall (*RMS Principle 4) ; or when to include space and not include space in areas with varying ceiling heights (*RMS Principle 7) or when to include stairs, open areas (*RMS Principle 9), and extensions (*RMS Principle 8). If areas are incorrectly included or excluded – that could have a huge impact on the overall salable area of the home. Only a professional measurement technician with proper training can make the right judgement calls to ensure full compliance.

So, imagine this: you sell a home today, measured by an all-in-one machine and five years from now you get a call from the buyer raging that his home, after been measured by a professional measurement company, shows that the property is up to 10% smaller than when you sold it to them.  You could be on the hook for that difference, especially if the all-in-one service provider is now out of business and you can’t make them responsible. We at Calgary Photos, and our exclusive measurement partner Excelsior Measure have each been in business for over nine years, and we intend to be there for the long run. We’ll provide you with accurate measurements and floorplans, fully compliant to the strict Residential Measurement Standards, fully insured and fully guaranteed.

On regards to photography, any Real Estate photographer will tell you that the right place to take a photo and the right place to take a 360 image are polar opposites. Photos need to be taken from the corners, at varying heights to adjust for furniture and other room features, and at various focal lengths (zoom) to adjust for varying room sizes. 3D scans and 360 images generally need to be placed relatively in the centre or about three feet from the entrance of a room, roughly where an actual person would be standing to view the room in real life. 3D scans and 360 images are only shot with one lens at a single focal length (zoom). 3D scans and 360s also generally have to be taken at the same height to ensure that the software can stitch the imagery properly. Extracting a flat photo from a 360 image placed in center of a room makes small rooms feel even smaller because the view is not set back far enough into the corner to capture the entire space, and larger rooms feel like they are shot through a fish eye, because they can’t be zoomed in to proper focal elements.

Long story short, a 3D scanner or all-in-one machine is great for taking 3D scans and a great way to get virtual tours, but for anything else, we would only recommend having the proper professionals fill the roles, that guarantee, insure and stand by their work. Be sure to ask how your measurements are being taken, what measurement tools are being used, and what procedures are in place to ensure RMS compliance. 

And most importantly, be sure to watch out for Red Flag statements

like “measurements should be considered approximate”, “need for independent verification”, “sizes are approximate”  or “actual sizes may vary”, because you  know these statements are not intended to protect you.

For more information give us a call or email.

Results of our findings can be found here:
Sample Matterport Floorplans



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