Virtual Home Staging: cheaper is not always better
Over the last couple of years there has been a conversation and increase in popularity with Virtual Home Staging. For those who don’t know, this type of staging includes creating furniture and decor in a graphic editor in a photo that will be used when the property enters the Real Estate Market. I currently do not offer Virtual Home Staging and I do think it has its place, although I haven’t discovered that for myself or my business yet. I believe people are mainly interested in it because it’s cheaper than traditional Home Staging and as you’ve heard before “You get what you pay for”.
I’ve been engaging in the conversation that is happening with other stagers about Virtual Home Staging. Those who do not offer it, seem to be very much against it and I do understand their reasons for that position. There are stagers who offer it and have been successful with it. I will share with you the conversations I’ve come across regarding this type of home staging:
• Virtual staging only helps online viewers/buyers understand and make sense of what the rooms are used for. It may get the buyers there to see the property, however, they won’t get that emotional connection once they step foot in the house.
• Virtual staging suits the agent to drive buyers to the listing - it does not help sell the property or help the seller get the best price for their home.
• Sure, it looks good online, but what happens when the buyers get to the space and it’s empty? The whole point of providing them with spatial recognition and a vision for what it can be is lost. Not to mention you now have buyers wondering why it’s all-of-a-sudden vacant. This could cause them to start considering a lowball offer.
• Staging helps portray useable and perceived square footage. Virtual staging does none of that. It offers perceived value and an emotional response that vacant homes simply don't have.
• We have had two listings in the last two weeks ask us to stage that we’re virtually staged because the buyers said the pics were misleading.
• It's great when you're sitting in the office showing a listing and using virtual staging; however, when they get to the home, it is still just an empty shell and they still can not get a feeling of the home and if their furniture will fit in the space. As soon as you walk into an empty house, it's still an empty shell, and feels cold like an empty shell.
The choice is yours and like I said before, I do believe Virtual Home Staging has its place. I do want to point out that for the sake of producing a quality result, do your research and make sure the photos look realistic. The below MLS photos of Virtual Home Staging prove that just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.