This is where Mongolians go to find a home — complete with 360 degree walkthrough technology
HappyHome is very much a product of Tanan Bat-Erdene's experiences growing up in post-Soviet Mongolia. When Mongolia's communist government fell in 1990, free and open elections were held for the first time. The resulting almost-instant change to capitalism brought chaos to a country long accustomed to a state-run economy. Bat-Erdene, who was raised by a single mother, came of age in the turmoil.
"My mother and I moved 11 times when I was growing up," Bat-Erdene said. "For one reason or another, we were always buying or selling a home and I saw what the process was like."
At that time looking for a home in Ulaanbaatar was done through newspaper listings and television ads. Neither usually included photographs, with even the television ads offering little more than scrolling text.
Today, things are a little different. The country's economy has since stabilized and Ulaanbaatar's real estate market is hot. Most of the city's buildings were built between the 1960s and mid-1980s to house around 600,000 people, though the population has since swelled to over 1.5 million. Construction cranes dot the landscape and you're as likely to find billboards in the city center advertising quality concrete as you are Coca-Cola. HappyHome is stepping in to make sense of the chaos.
HappyHome is a real estate listing platform that, for the most part, works like many other real estate websites — but with a twist. In addition to glossy photos and details about the property, the company offers users a virtual, 360-degree walk-through of the property. Think of it kind of like Trulia, only with Google Street View baked into the experience.
"When you are looking at a property, you never know if it is actually going to look like the listing," Bat-Erdene said. "With the 360-degree camera, you can see exactly what the property is actually going to look like before you arrive."
HappyHome currently has over 1,500 homes listed and operates as a hybrid platform. Users can upload their property and photographs for free, or for a small fee HappyHome will come out and take a professional 360-degree walkthrough of the property. The company says that listings that utilize their service sell quickly, saving time and trouble for both parties.
While HappyHome continues to grow in popularity in Ulaanbaatar, Bat-Erdene sees other opportunities for the technology. The cities Ger Districts can be mapped, using the technology, or the country's booming tourism industry could use it to show visitors what hotel rooms look like from afar.