Based on a recent NAR survey, 77% of buyers stated home staging made it easier to visualize the property as their future home.
In fact, the majority of agents agree home staging decreases the home’s time on the market and increases the sales price (up to 15 percent).
With options from hiring a professional, to doing it yourself, here’s why more agents are choosing virtual staging.
Search the internet for virtual staging and you’ll find lots of articles on how “dishonest” the practice is and how “deceived” potential buyers feel when they visit the home and the staging they saw online isn’t there.
But, read who is writing these hit pieces – professional home stagers – and it’s easier to take them with a grain of salt. Besides, many agents are successfully using virtual home staging and have great tips to offer.
The vacant home
Regardless of the type of market or home, staging is a must for most vacant homes—even if it’s staged only for the listing photos.
But, there’s more to it than marketing. Vacant homes send a message to potential buyers: this seller is desperate.
At the very least, buyers may assume there’s an urgency on the seller’s part to get rid of the home. Hello, lowball offers!
What virtual staging is, and isn’t
Virtually staging a home for sale involves digitally enhancing the home’s rooms with furniture and accessories.
Many companies offer the service and it’s quite easy to use. All you, as an agent, need to do is send high-res photos of the rooms your client wants to be staged to the staging company. Depending on the company, you can have the finished product within 48 hours to a week later.
Costs vary as well. BoxBrownie.com charges as little as $32 per photo. While other companies can charge up to $100 or more per photo.
Virtual staging isn’t a DIY project. Sure, you can purchase software, but it isn’t the same software the pros use and, without a staging background, it’s not wise. Unless, of course, you think homeowners going FSBO is wise, then, by all means, go for it.
Unlike most of the out-of-the-box virtual staging software, the professional virtual staging software doesn’t virtually remodel homes. It presents the home’s architecture as-is and design the staging around what is actually present.
The photos are high-resolution and far more realistic and professional-looking than you’ll get with consumer-oriented software.
So, how do you keep a potential buyer from feeling manipulated?
Hard feelings may ensue when what a potential buyer sees in person isn’t what was presented online. Buyers may feel deceived, or like the victim of a bait and switch type of con.
Kiawah Partners in Charleston, S.C. has a brilliant solution.
“The company shows two versions of the photos: the room as it was originally photographed and the virtually staged room with the word ‘visualization’ prominently watermarked in the corner of the image,” explains Realtormag.com’s Erica Christoffer.
“The potential home buyer can see that the kitchen currently has beautiful dark wood cabinets and dark quartzite countertops, say, but can also see what it would look like if the cabinets were painted white and the dark countertop was replaced with a white marble,” explained Tiffany Jonas, Kiawah’s advertising and marketing manager
The company also includes a disclaimer in the property’s MLS description.
At vacant properties, the empty rooms contain large photos of the virtually staged room, “mounted on foam board and sitting on easels,” according to Cristofer.
“The potential home buyer can plainly see the original, real room in front of their eyes and, in the mounted photo, how that room would look with different furnishings and finishes,” Jonas told the magazine.
Other agents who employ virtual staging have the most popular rooms staged several different ways. “To help buyers visualize, for example, how a space could serve as a study, an exercise room, or a guest room, depending on one’s needs,” according to Boston Globe correspondent Marni Elyse Katz.
What to look for in a virtual staging company
Choosing a virtual staging company is rather like choosing a professional real estate photographer—it’s all about the photos.
Of course, you’ll want to ensure that the photos are realistic. You’ll also want to ensure that they take into account all the other aspects of stunning photography. These include lighting, scale, color, and composition.
A virtual staging company should also offer experience in home décor and styling. This includes the ability to create tasteful combinations of furniture and accessories, wall colors and flooring.
Finally, consider what you get for the money you are willing to spend.
We recommend BoxBrownie.com, not only for their skills and affordability but for the extras they offer, such as professional copywriters, to really make your listing sing.
Another way to attract more buyers is to send the Still Renting postcard from the First Time Buyer/Renter Series to at least 100 renters in your area. Need a mailing list of renters? Click Here.
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