Jimmy Chan was frustrated as he shopped for his first home. After researching dozens of real estate listings online, looking at photos and reading descriptions, he thought he had found a house that he really liked.
“I can still remember to this day the moment I stepped foot through the doors and into the house. I felt incredibly disappointed. I felt like all the research I had done before going to the property was a complete waste of time.”
Photography tricks meant that triangular rooms looked square. Lack of photos meant he had no way of knowing, in one instance, that a ceiling had rotted from a pipe leak.
“I thought to myself at that point, what if there's a way that we can screen out all the properties that you don't want to see and only have to visit the ones that you actually like?”
Chan said the typical home buyer will view anywhere from 10 to 20 houses before deciding on the one that they want. That was the case for him, too. “We finally ended up selecting one, but we went to 15 different properties before we chose it.”
In January of 2017, Chan launched Odyssey3D. The startup, based in Toronto, Ontario, is hoping to completely change buyer/seller relations in real estate. “Odyssey3D uses leading-edge technology to showcase properties in the most realistic way possible online and through virtual reality,” Chan said. “We do that so buyers can walk through a home without having to book an appointment.” The company also aims to help realtors stand out from their competition.
Odyssey3D was conceived in Israel. “Per capita, Israel produces seven times more entrepreneurs than anywhere else in the world,” Chan said. “I wanted to understand this.” After Chan bought his house in Toronto, he went to Israel for a month for a field study elective course he was taking with York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering. “As a part of my research project, I had to come up with my own startup idea,” Chan said. Odyssey3D was born. Now he runs the startup on the campus of his alma mater, the Schulich School of Business at York University.
Odyssey3D, which you can see in this online demo, allows you to walk through a house or other real estate by navigating with your finger. Want to the view from the master bedroom deck? How about the really cool bathtub? Walk right in. Want to see an eagle eye view of the entire property? Use the dollhouse feature. You can even view the space in virtual reality using Google Cardboard and Samsung GearVR.