We’ve discussed in detail how effective home staging and great photography can be when selling a home. But how do you accomplish this with a vacant, empty home? One option is to furnish the whole home as part of the staging process. The other is virtual staging.
We spoke with Krisztina Bell, Founder of Virtually Staging Properties, to learn more about virtual staging and how it helps sell homes.
What Is Virtual Staging?
Virtual or digital home staging is virtually placing furniture and decor into photos of a typically vacant home to show buyers what the room would look like with furniture. Because online listings and their photos are so important, and photos of empty homes are far less attractive to potential buyers, virtual staging is an effective way to impress buyers and drive traffic to the home.
Benefits of Virtual Staging
There are several benefits of using digital home staging versus the alternatives of having photos with no furniture or paying to furnish the entire home.
Virtual Staging Sells Better than Photos of a Vacant Home
Simply put, photos of an empty home usually don’t drive the traffic that’s needed to get a home sold. “The whole point of virtual staging is to drive buyer traffic,” says Bell. “People blow past photos of vacant homes. Many would never visit a property without the virtual staging.”
Virtual Staging Is Cost-Effective
According to Bell, another big advantage of virtual staging is the cost. When comparing the price of virtual staging versus the price of staging an entire vacant home with furniture, there’s no comparison.
Virtual Staging Provides Flexibility
Digitally staging your home offers a high level of flexibility that can be customized on a case-by-case basis. Below are a few scenarios where this flexibility can work to a seller’s advantage.
Stage the Whole Home or Just Certain Rooms
Sometimes, only a room or two in a home are empty. In this case, virtual staging provides the flexibility to provide buyers an example of what those specific rooms would look like with furniture.
Stage Flex Rooms Multiple Ways
Bell says that flex rooms are another place where virtual staging can really shine. Not sure whether to show a room as an office or a bedroom? Virtual staging makes it simple to show it both ways. Hoping to show a room as a gym or a game room? Virtual staging also offers things like gym equipment and pool tables that the average staging company won’t have.
Show Modern & Traditional Furniture
Maybe you don’t even want to show the rooms with different functions. Maybe it’s different styles. Show a room with more modern furniture that will appeal to some, and more traditional furniture that will appeal to others.
Things to Know About Virtual Staging
If you think digital home staging might work for you, there are a few things you should consider.
Not All Virtual Stagers Are Created Equal
According to Bell, many virtual stagers are graphic designers without real estate or home staging backgrounds. Bell and Virtually Staging Properties have the specific home staging expertise necessary to know how to lay out rooms in a way that helps buyers imagine themselves living in the home. If deciding between virtual staging companies, choose one with real estate and staging experience.
Another thing you’ll see between virtual staging companies is furniture that looks very real, as well as furniture that looks cartoon-like. “There’s really generic stuff out there that looks cartoonish,” says Bell. “Our furniture is very realistic. That’s why higher-end photography companies come to us.” Bell adds that they’re constantly updating their digital furniture inventory to represent the current styles.
Quality Photos Matter
As we’ve discussed previously, quality real estate photos matter. The same applies for virtual staging. If the photos are too zoomed in on a room, it’s difficult to virtually place furniture. Virtually Staging Properties does their best to work with the photos provided, but in some instances, they will suggest that photos be retaken by a professional photographer.
Virtual Staging Shouldn’t Deceive the Buyer
Bell mentions that they often get requests to alter a home, including replacing floors and changing wall colors. This isn’t something that Virtually Staging Properties participates in.
“We don’t believe in misleading buyers,” explains Bell. “Our service is simply to place digital furniture to give homes a staged look.” As part of working with an agent, Bell says that they’re adamant that the agents do disclose that the property has been virtually staged.
Though doing the right thing is enough reason not to mislead buyers mislead buyers through virtual staging, they’re also going to be disappointed if you’ve virtually altered the home in any way when they make an in-person visit to the house and see the real thing. Just as professional photographers try to accurately represent the home, such as not making it appear larger than it is, you don’t want to do anything that will make a showing disappointing to buyers.
If you need to sell a vacant home or have empty rooms in a home for sell, virtual staging is a great, cost-effective alternative to staging the entire home with real furniture. Plus, it provides versatility that isn’t possible or would be very expensive with traditional staging. Just be sure to hire a quality virtual staging company that understands home staging and give them high-quality photos to work with.
All images courtesy of Krisztina Bell, Virtually Staging Properties.