Zillow’s 3D Home app can now generate home floor plans based on scans a user uploads, the company announced today. The new feature, powered by the company’s artificial intelligence technology, is available today in the Zillow 3D Home app and could prove useful for people looking to relocate during the pandemic — or just anyone fantasizing about living in a mansion in Nebraska.
Zillow 3D Home was originally launched in 2019 as a way to offer customers a more immersive way to view listings on its site and real estate agents and property managers an easier way to create them. Using a phone or a 360° camera and the Zillow 3D Home app, you can upload a series of photographs that the app can stitch into a 3D tour. It’s not quite the same as wandering through an open house, but it could tell you more about a space than photo or video tours can.
The new AI-generated floor plans add another layer of information to that equation. Anyone viewing a listing on Zillow’s site or app with a 3D Home tour and floor plan available can click on a specific room in the floor plan to jump to that part of the tour. Zillow says the floor plans can be uploaded for use in industry-standard sites like an MLS (multiple listing service).
Beyond just generating a map of your home, Zillow also says the AI can predict the dimensions and square footage of rooms based on the photos you upload. It’s hard to say without testing just how accurate the AI is at guessing these measurements, but with the feature available now in 25 markets, with more coming over the course of the year, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to try for yourself soon.
Expanding 3D Home’s features makes sense for people looking to relocate during the pandemic without the ability to necessarily view a home safely, but it could also speak to Zillow’s awareness of its use as a source of entertainment for millions of people stuck at home. The whole idea is captured pretty succinctly in a recent Saturday Night Live skit featuring actor and writer Dan Levy, focused on using Zillow to “spice up” people’s love lives.
Zillow knows it’s used for escapism, Zillow CEO Rich Barton admitted as much in a CNBC interview where he acknowledge the skit. Capturing people who enjoy “Zillow Surfing,” as The New York Times’ Taylor Lorenz explored, could be improved by making Zillow more engaging, and piling on different ways to “experience” homes is a good way to do that.
Whether those people ever get funneled into buying or renting a home is a whole other problem, but if Zillow remains popular, there’s a good chance they’ll head there first when they’re ready to move.