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You can find here some useful information for real esate professionals, and recent interviews as well!

Heidi Klum Buys $5.1 Million Soho Loft Impressed by Hasten Renderings


Heidi Klum finally bought a home in New York — now she is the new owner of a Soho penthouse loft. Although loft is in need of a total gut renovation, Hasten interior renderings must be a great source of inspiration.

Hasten 3D visualization for 515 Broadway

Hasten 3D visualization for 515 Broadway

Klum had previously stuck to the West Coast for her property holdings. The former Victoria’s Secret Angel paid $9.88 million for a nearly 12,000-square-foot Los Angeles mansion in 2013, per Variety, which she bought right after her split from ex-husband, Seal. The former couple had resided in an impeccably renovated eight-bedroom Brentwood estate, which sold for $24 million in 2014.

Loft 3D visualization by Hasten

Loft 3D visualization by Hasten

But now, Klum has paid $5.1 million for a top-floor co-op at 519 Broadway, which is part of a three-building complex that includes 515 Broadway and 84 Mercer Street. Klum used the limited liability company Hk East Coast LLC to complete the transaction.


The loft was listed by Edward Hickey of Compass and had been used as an authentic art studio for the past 30 years. However, it's unclear if Heidi plans to use it for business or turn it into her new home.


Take a 3-D Apartment Tour to See the Real Estate Listing of the Future

333 East 91st St Teaser Video

MANHATTAN — Real estate broker Bianca D'Alessio was taken by surprise when a woman relocating from Boston to New York called last week with an offer on a new condo in an Upper East Side building, saying she had already done a “walk through.”

D'Alessio never took the woman on a tour of the model apartment at the Gianna, at 184 E. 64th St., but the buyer felt as if she had already seen enough of space, since there’s a 3-D model of it on the building’s website.

“I received an offer based on a visual tour,” said D'Alessio, of Nest Seekers. “You can zoom in on the quality of the finishes and see the magnificent fixtures. As you’re ‘walking through,’ you can see the detailing on the closets. You can zoom in and see there’s a Toto toilet and a Sub-zero refrigerator and Wolf range.”

Offering 360-degree three-dimensional tours is taking the presentation of real estate listings to the next level, brokers said. The tours will soon become more commonplace as technology has made creating such virtual tours cheaper than ever, many believe. 

3-D listing (Image courtesy of GeoCV.)

"For your client [who is selling], you want to be getting the right people through the door," said Alessio, who began incorporating 3-D listings in June. "I think it even weeds some people out. When you have this tool, it's almost their second showing, and you know they're interested as soon as they walk through."

GeoCV has been offering its services — including the 3-D tour, high-quality photos and a dollhouse-like floor plan — to brokers like D'Alessio since June. It plans to unveil a do-it-yourself kit at the end of the year for brokers to rent or buy, with a special 3-D camera that attaches to a smartphone using the company’s custom-made rotation device, explained Anton Yakubenko, GeoCV's CEO and co-founder.

It takes about an hour per 1,000 square feet to do a photo scan of an apartment and two days to turn around the finished product. The company currently charges 10 cents per square foot for its services, with a minimum of $199 per listing.

“It’s really a disruptive price for the market. It costs two or three times more from others,” Yakubenko said about other companies offering 3-D services.

His company uses "new generation" smartphones with 3-D cameras, he said, and is moving toward using a regular smartphone with a special attachment. Other companies tend to use pricey special cameras rather than smartphones.

His company is also developing an application to create virtual-reality tours of real estate listings, which new developments are increasingly using to give potential tenants a better feel for how the spaces will look when finished.

The demand for VR, Yakubenko noted, is less than the 3-D model right now, since few people have VR headsets at home to view listings. But he envisions a future where brokers have headsets in their office or can bring them to clients’ homes.

“It’s time-saving for agents and clients,” he said of the tools that can cut down on unnecessary trips to open houses.

The 3-D tours even help apartments that may need work and don’t show well in photos, he said.

“An agent was selling a townhouse needing significant renovation. He wanted buyers to understand the work involved,” Yakubenko said.

While some homes in similar condition often languish on the market, this particular townhouse, in Crown Heights, sold in a couple of weeks, he added.

D'Alessio agreed that more transparency can help apartments with potential pitfalls.

“It’s better to know what you’re walking into than be surprised,” she said.

Originally written by Amy Zimmer dnainfo.com

Strategies that sell — and fast

Keller Williams Realtor CC Underwood reveals how solid marketing can get homes sold quickly.

Underwood’s advice

  • Always hire a professional photographer.
  • Virtual staging can replace actual furniture.
  • Don’t let dated colors turn off buyers, repaint.
  • Fill the MLS listing with helpful information. Buyers shop online and want information.
  • Open houses are a great way for real estate agents to get leads.

Time is money, as the saying goes.

Keller Williams Realtor CC Underwood explained how proper marketing can expedite the homeselling process at the Northeast Florida Builders Association Lunch & Learn in May.

Skillful online marketing is critical, Underwood said. If buyers don’t like what they see online, they won’t schedule a showing.

“In all price ranges for every 10 showings, you should have one offer, if not more,” she said.

“Your marketing is your brand,” Underwood said. It’s essential that the branding reflect the quality of the product. 

She acknowledged that marketing can be costly, but the investment will be beneficial in terms of reducing how long the home sits on the market.

As the industry changes, marketing strategies have evolved as well. For example, today’s buyers want to view videos of listings.

“If you’re not willing to change with the industry, then you are going to be left behind,” Underwood said. “You’ve got to constantly innovate and do it. Sometimes that means spending money.”

Photo advice

Always hire a professional photographer to take photos of the property, Underwood said. 

There are seven images buyers want to see: the front elevation, the backyard, the pool, the kitchen, the master bedroom, the master bath and the family room. 

Be sure the photos reflect the true colors of the exterior and interior of the home. Interior shots can be tricky because of lighting.

Include aerial photographs, especially if the home is in a golf community or there are other distinct neighborhood amenities.

For new construction, Underwood advocates interactive videos, such as live, on-site walk-throughs. Educational videos about the overall product or specific features, such as showcasing available lots, are another option. 

Ideally, the videos should be between 60 seconds and two minutes long, Underwood said. They can be posted to Facebook or YouTube. 

Staging and updates

Certain colors, such as red — a trendy color in the late 1990s and early 2000s — and patterns, such as florals, will date a home. Paint is an easy, inexpensive update. 

When the significance of color is explained in terms of dollar value, sellers aren’t opposed to painting, Underwood said.

Many million-dollar homes sitting on the market are too dated for the price the sellers are asking, Underwood said. That’s a conversation the professional must have with the client.

Homestaging also can have a significant impact. For vacant homes, Underwood suggests virtual staging rather than filling the home with furniture. 

Because many buyers rely on online photos when home shopping, virtual staging uses computer technology to add furniture and other décor to photos of listings. At a cost of about $35 per room, “it’s completely worth it,” she said.

For model or luxury homes, Underwood prefers in-home staging. If the home is less than $500,000, she suggests staging only the main rooms: master bedroom, dining room, a study, an office, breakfast nook and family room. Patio furniture is another option. 

Staging, though, can be overdone, Underwood cautioned.

“There’s a fine line between staged and too much,” she said. Don’t place items on top of kitchen cabinets, for instance, because it can adversely affect the perception of space, making the area look smaller. 


Today’s buyers are information-seekers, and by providing documentation up front on the Multiple Listing Service, the seller can both demonstrate the property’s value and reduce the back-and-forth conversations about specifics.

“Most buyers are looking online three to six months before they actually purchase and contact a Realtor,” Underwood said.

For example, the cost of utilities is asked by many buyers. Include a utility sheet that lists the average cost, as well as information such as the electric company, cable provider, homeowners’ association dues and lawn maintenance company. 

If there’s a pool on the property, include the cost of upkeep and the company the seller uses for maintenance. 

“These are the true fees and factors that are going to make up the buyer’s mind because they’re thinking payments,” Underwood said. 

Have the seller create an upgrade sheet and their cost. With resales, buyers tend to have a disconnect between an upgrade and its value, Underwood said.

If the home doesn’t have a pool, have a designer draw some design specs for one and post it on MLS. “They can’t visualize it if they can’t see it,” Underwood said. 

The seller also should write a letter for potential homebuyers that describes the property and the community. The seller can highlight annual community gatherings and provide an overall impression of the neighborhood.

 Also, include details such as room dimensions and the school district.

“People are making decisions based on the school district,” Underwood said, “And if you either advertise it wrong or don’t advertise it at all, you could be missing buyers who are searching by school district.”

Social media

Underwood places high value on Facebook as one of her team’s top three sources of business for both buyers and sellers. 

Posts that generate the most traffic are “coming soon” and price reductions. Open houses and featured listings also make effective posts. 

Unless it’s a highly sought area such as Nocatee, for example, the Underwood team seldom includes the location of the home. 

Underwood added that her team will boost their Facebook posts, but they rarely use the Facebook ads feature. 

Open houses and prospecting 

Underwood strongly advocates open houses. To execute a successful open house, preparation is essential, she said. Promote the open house and invite people, including the neighbors.

Neighbors also can provide promising leads. If a new listing becomes available, let the neighbors know someone in their neighborhood is selling their house and ask if they know anyone who might like to live there. 

An additional strategy is to market the listing to surrounding neighborhoods to let them know about the opportunity to move up in a nearby community. “Typically, people stay close,” Underwood said. 

Originally written by Carrie Resch for http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/

Selling the World, Virtually

Spatial computing is beginning the slow crawl to maturity. As the technology develops into something simultaneously more complex and also more stable, new areas of possibility open and grow. Since the beginning, avid enthusiasts have seen hope of a reformation of the real estate industry with the help of spatial computing, but it’s only now that real solutions are starting to be feasible.

Augmented reality projection rooms. Virtual reality walkthroughs. Mixed reality remodelling. These are just some of the potential ways that the act of buying and selling property will begin a seismic shift. We’ve collected five different projects that are using spatial computing to revamp real estate — plus, our breakdown of how successful we think they will be.

#1. 360 Walkthrough

The idea of a 360 walkthrough isn’t new, but until recently the technology has limited these “previews” to a flat experience. You could view a home on your computer, running around a space using the same drag and drop technology that Google Maps used to let us explore the world. Thanks to head mounted displays, those 360 walkthroughs are now even more immersive, and because 360 cameras have gotten so cheap and easy to use, every realtor can and should be adding a 360 walkthrough to their listings.

Because the cost of entry is so low, 360 walkthroughs are still a smart place to start, but this technology is quickly being overshadowed. There’s no real sense of immersion, since your point of view is limited to wherever the camera was initially placed; viewers don’t have the freedom to walk around, putting themselves in corners or experiencing the room from any angles the camera didn’t capture. We doubt this technology will survive more than five years, though for now the cost of hardware for alternative options will keep it afloat.

#2. Lightfield Volume Capture

Speaking of alternative options — we’re a little obsessed with light field volume capture at Hammer & Tusk, but it’s hard not to be. These cameras capture 360 video with 6 degrees of freedom, which means they can reproduce a location in photorealistic detail, and then let a person wander through that space. While creating video with this technology is still in the “so many hurdles to overcome” camp, the great news is that still pictures are ready for their mainstream debut.

There are a ton of companies working on this hardware, but none that we know of specializing specifically in adapting it for real estate. It’s a wide open playing field.

#3. Building in a Virtual World

Getting to consumers is a huge part of real estate, but what about creating buildings in the first place? If you’ve ever seen someone painstakingly hand-paint 400 tiny fake trees to put on the outside of an architectural model, you know the discipline is rife for disruption. Enter software like Vividly, which lets you create life-sized 3D models of real estate.


Walk through your creations, share them with colleagues or clients, and even convert existing 3D models from traditional architectural software. The world is your oyster!

#4. Remodelling the Future

Okay, so you’ve bought a house, but now you want to see what it would look like with granite countertops instead of marble; or maybe you want to knock down that wall into the kitchen and create a pass-through. If that’s the future you’re imagining, you’re not alone! So many people are entering this space that it’s hard to call out just one or two.

IKEA will be taking on remodelling thanks to Apple’s ARKit, which will improve the quality and ease-of-use of previous offerings that IKEA has tested over the years.

Cadsoft is a less proprietary company; no matter which construction company you’re using, or where you’re getting your fixtures, Cadsoft will create 3D renderings and provide them for viewing in a headset or on your computer. VR viewings avoids the mobile-first issue of realism, but adds on the headache of needing the right hardware, which is solved by the backup plan of computer mockups.

The upside of this technology is that you don’t have to try to picture how a remodel will look; the downside being that you still need some imagination to turn these digital creations into their life-life alternatives.

#5. The CAVE

This technology is not technically being used for real estate today, but it has huge potential for future use-cases. CAVE is an open-source software system paired with projector hardware that primarily exists in university research settings.

Think of it has a modern Holodeck — a large room whose walls are actually rear-projection screens or flat panel displays. The images on the walls are controlled by the motion of the person inside the CAVE, allowing a sense of real immersion as the room moves realistically along with the user.

The applications for real estate are incredible. Imagine going to your realtor’s office, and instead of driving around the city to thirty showings, you could walk into the CAVE and see every home from there. You would walk around a pre-filmed environment, check out the layout, even peer into cupboards! As long as a camera captured it, you could view it.

The strength of this technology is the ‘teleportation’ factor, and the ability to have more than one person experiencing the virtual environment at the same time. Downsides are that you’re still restricting to four walls and a small space, so things like moving up and down stairs will never feel entirely real. Plus, these setups require motion-capture technology and head-mounted displays, so comfort and setup would be a concern in a commercial environment.

Academic institutions aren’t the only ones working on tech like this. We’re seeing commercial applications, too.

Originally written by Wren Handman for www.hammerandtusk.com.

3x2017: Tech Trends That Impact Real Estate

2017-04-08 .png

Presented at the Inman Connect New York Conference

Stories about people and their connection to place are at the heart of what we do at The New York Times, no more so than within the real estate section. So today, I’m going to share with you three short stories, which I hope will serve as food for thought for your year ahead. I believe that storytelling is at the heart of communities, families and cultures. It’s also at the heart of memories. And as a passionate advocate of real estate brands, products and building things to make the process more enjoyable, especially in New York, I believe it’s in the DNA of what it feels like to own a home.

As you can imagine, The New York Times is going through an exciting, unprecedented period of change. But in making our journalism actionable, we believe that true, future-facing value not only for our readers, but the users of the services we build, comes from bridging the gap between our journalism, and problems in our users’ lives. As such, we build tools for everyday living, built squarely upon the expertise and authority of our newsroom, with the clear premise that these tools become more valuable in our readers’ lives over time. In short, we believe that the future belongs to those who are relentlessly helpful, something we share a clear alignment with the Real Estate industry as it too continues to undergo seismic changes. We believe that this is the only way to grow a business in 2017.

With that in mind, let’s dive in here.

The first trend we’re seeing enormous momentum behind, especially at The Times, is Virtual Reality.

It feels as if we’re finally at that tipping point where, after many false starts and promises of truly immersive experiences, we’re at that point where VR is going to hit the mainstream. With an aggressive democratization of the means of experiencing VR content, most notably through Google Cardboard, falling hardware prices fueled by Sony, Samsung, Microsoft, the gaming industry, and Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition of Oculus, it certainly seems as if 2016 is going to be the year where VR begins to gain some long-awaited traction.

Indeed, combined with some truly innovative new forms of storytelling, late last year some of you may know that we distributed 1.3 million Google Cardboard devices through one of the oldest forms of distribution, the newspaper. But cutting through the hype, it’s probably going to be off to a slow start, with traction around gaming in particular only picking up towards the end of the year, especially when titles such as Minecraft begin to ship for the Oculus Rift around the holidays, and June’s Playstation VR headsets (which are rumored to be significantly cheaper than Oculus) begin to hit stores.

As Ben Schachter of Macquarie Capital cautions,

“To over use the not used often enough baseball analogy, we don’t even think we are in the first inning yet. For VR, we have just pulled into the parking lot and tailgating is about to begin. Samsung just arrived with a six-pack of Bud Light, Facebook called and is bringing a new microbrew, and Sony might bring a more mass-market palatable ale. By the end of 2016, we’ll have a better sense of what’s been brewing at Google, Microsoft, and perhaps Apple might even stop by just to see where this is all going. Only after 2016 will the VR game begin.”

For the Real Estate industry, we’ve seen the growing democratization of VR through great folks like Matterport or Floored, but this is a much bigger opportunity. For those of you who work with international, or relocation clients, the opportunity to give them a remote, but truly immersive tour of your apartment might be something really special. We’re already seeing some of this via Google Hangouts, where the agent ‘drives’ for the client, but there’s also those agents who send the Oculus headsets around the world to prospective customers, especially in the commercial space, to let them ‘walk around’ the property themselves.

So the dynamics of falling prices, and a growing democratization of the tools needed to experience this are certainly something to keep an eye on this year, especially for those of you who have kids.

Second, it’s no secret that there’s more being produced than ever before. Indeed, as Erica Berger suggests, there’s a very real sense that the ecosystem we’re in right now is at highest editorial capacity for content, coupled with a shifting revenue stream away from publishers and to networks and large tech companies. That’s why she, and many other marketers suggest we’ve reached ‘Peak Content’.

Not only is this an assault on our attention, but it’s also an increasing challenge to keep up with. Especially in the Real Estate industry, while there’s no shortage of things that agents ‘could’ be doing on social platforms for example, the overwhelming challenge is simply keeping up. Not only is producing enough content fraught with its own logistical challenges, just the effort to respond to all the different points of interaction in a genuine, consistently interesting way is incredibly time-consuming, and for many, just exhausting. For many of us, the tyranny of our own inbox is enough. Ultimately, it’s not unreasonable to expect that, at some point, the investment necessary to keep attention will be higher than the impact on revenue.

For some context on what I’m talking about, here’s what happens every second on the internet:

  • More than 8,000 tweets go live
  • More than 1,500 Instagrammers post images
  • More than 54,000 people click “like” on Facebook
  • 92,000 YouTube videos play
  • 46,700 people conduct Google searches

And perhaps most shockingly, more than two million three hundred thousand emails go out every single second. Most of them from Inman Select signups of course (just kidding).

And if you think about where that revenue is flowing, towards sites such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, or YouTube, the main point of differentiation is that these sites don’t actually create anything themselves. This, of course, bears close parallels with larger Real Estate portals, who while fantastically skilled at the assimilation and interaction of cross-platform search experience, are not the source of anything they present as a ‘result’. Now, I’m not suggesting we’ll see a reclaiming of content from any of these services, but in the spirit of being relentlessly helpful, and making your own knowledge actionable for your customers, the means of that distribution comes sharply into question.

Ultimately we’re talking about the transference of value here, and for agents and brokerages in particular, the commoditization of listings data isn’t the question any more. The production of listings online isn’t either. So what is? For us at The Times, we hear from our users that finding listings isn’t a problem they have. But finding which neighborhood to look in still hasn’t been solved online, and this is a key value proposition when it comes to the agent. But very often that discussion is a cautious one based on Fair Housing implications. So how do you solve for finding that great neighborhood? I’m not talking about making blog-like ‘guides’, I’m talking about genuinely helping the userin the moment, solve for something that’s a very real problem for them. And brokerage sites, this is a call to action for you. Digitize what’s inside your agents’ heads, and you might be able to play here.

My last point is related to this idea of peak content, which is that given everything that’s being produced, curation as a philosophy is an obvious necessity, but as a business is a bit of an enigma. As Om Malik accurately describes it, ‘the problem with curation is that no one wants to pay for it’. This is no truer than for Real Estate professionals, who consistently have to distill all the information about the market, pricing, the process, inventory, neighborhoods or timing for each customer. In many ways, I think that Real Estate professionals are the ultimate curators. But very often that value proposition is in question, often eroded by agents less than willing to justify their commission check. This impacts everyone, even the perception of high-performing agents, and certainly the brand of the industry as a whole. Ultimately, the act of curation is about reflecting a point of view, but from a business perspective, sending people elsewhere very often doesn’t make sense.

A great example of what I mean here is the difference between what’s served up in the search results experience online, versus what an agent does with their customer. It’s not about volume of results and comprehensiveness, it’s about empathy, guidance, insight and understanding. And it’s the key point of differentiation between an agent and a portal. So in shaping the experiences of our customers, curation is increasingly a challenge, not only given the amount of content being produced every day (we write the equivalent of a Harry Potter book every day at The Times for example), but also our need to remain relevant in our customers’ lives, AND our future customers’ lives. In many ways, you are what you share. There’s many agents who do this fantastically well, truly ‘owning’ their respective markets, but for too long these folks have been in the minority.

So when we look forward to the kinds of technology trends which will shape Real Estate in 2016, keep an eye on the gaming industry in particular, as VR has the capability to hit our industry like a long overdue freight train, but also keep in mind that more is being produced than ever before, so distribution might be best thought out strategically, rather than from a ‘fear of missing out’ perspective. And lastly, curation is your key competitive differentiator, so use it wisely, sparingly, and stay relentless helpful as a means of remaining relevant.

I hope you enjoyed my stories. Thank you.

The original post: here.