Virtual Staging and How it Can Help Sell Your Vacant Listing
Presentation is everything in real estate, especially when most potential buyers check properties out online before they even consider seeing the property in person.
As realtors, we’re all familiar with staging – where a professional comes into a home, decorates and fills it with their own furniture and accessories to make the home more appealing to potential buyers. Traditional staging is a highly effective practice. However, it can be costly and time-consuming. A professional stager needs to have access to the home to move in their furniture and a sufficient amount of time to set everything up and get the property ready for walk-throughs. Dealing with the timeline of movers and stagers can be an inconvenience for many homeowners.
How is virtual staging different from traditional staging?
Virtual staging is simply utilizing technology to show images or photographs of the home fully and professionally decorated. The furniture and other items that appear in a picture of a virtually staged property are not real – they’re simply digital images of those pieces placed into a photograph or digital rendering. Virtual staging can be a valuable tool for vacant properties and for realtors that need to be more budget conscious. Not only can a virtually staged property show how a home looks with furniture in it, but it can even go a step further and show how the home would look with different wall colors and updated appliances. Improvements in digital technology and the development of improved 3D software in computer graphics allow virtually staged rooms to appear very realistic. The bonus is that the buyer visualizes the property in its best light, then when the see the property in person, they’re not distracted by furnishings. The empty rooms give them a blank slate with which to imagine their own belongings in the home.
Precautions with virtual staging
When you are using virtual staging, it’s imperative that you disclose on the images that they have been digitally enhanced or virtually staged. Presenting the image without disclosure gives the appearance that you may be less than honest. The disclosure will prepare possible buyers from walking into a property expecting to see furniture and finding an empty home. One good practice for disclosing virtual staging is to show the staged image beside the actual image of the same room. Placing the images side-by-side helps people understand when looking at the images that the images are for example only and the property does not have furniture in it. You can even label these as “before/after” images to avoid confusion when they see the property.
One practice that some agents are having success with is printing professional hard copy prints of the digitally rendered image and displaying them prominently in the property. Having a display on premises can be especially successful when hosting an open house at the property, where you’ll have a chance to talk with potential homebuyers and explain more about the digital renderings if they have questions.
Why bother staging at all?
With the popularity of photography and online video to attract prospective buyers, real estate agents need always to be conscientious of their listings online first impression. Studies show that staged homes sell for more money and they sell in a shorter amount of time than a vacant property. Vacant homes are traditionally hard to move in the real estate market. Vacant homes don’t photograph well, and many online viewers will scroll past images of empty rooms without taking the time to gather further details. Whether it’s their perception that something may be “wrong” with the property or the fact that without furniture they cannot visualize themselves living in the home, an image of an empty room rarely generates interest. If potential buyers are not bothering to look at the online details of the property, this means that they’re not going to bother to view the property in person, either.
One real estate agency that wanted to test out virtual staging has reported that they had a 30% increase in web traffic for their first virtually staged property that they listed. As a result, their open house had increased traffic, as well.
Virtual staging seems to be especially popular and effective in urban markets and for condominiums, where curb appeal is not a factor. The inside of the home, in these markets, is the focal point of the home.
How to get the most out of virtual staging
When using virtual staging, it’s important to highlight the home’s strengths first and foremost. Do you have a gorgeous, well-lit breakfast nook that you want to show off? An incredible stone fireplace in the family room? How about an open layout of the kitchen and family room that would be visually enhanced if you could show it filled with furniture? By utilizing virtual staging in this scenario, your potential homebuyer would be able to picture the scale and size of the room just by viewing it online. This will generate more appointments to see the property.
On the opposite side, you can and should use virtual staging to downplay any weaknesses the home may have. Is it a property that has a lot of small room and appears to have an ill thought out flow? Take advantage of the capabilities of virtual staging to show the potential of these rooms with some design tricks added in. Having a home that may need a boost due to design flaws is where the before and after pictures can be a tremendous help.
How is virtual staging done?
To arrange for a property to be virtually staged, the first step is to contact a professional real estate photographer, like Northern Virginia Real Estate Photography. An experienced professional real estate photographer knows and understands how to photograph rooms in a home in the most flattering way possible. Your photographer will take photographs of the empty rooms at various vantage points and angles. Next, once your photographer has a good set of images for the rooms that you’re staging, digital images of furniture, window treatments, home accessories, wall color, and other details are added.
Comparison to Traditional Staging
A home that is traditionally staged can range from $3,000 to $12,000 per month, depending on how much furniture you’re using from the staging professional and how long it takes them to set everything up.
Most virtual staging is charged on a per-room basis. Typically, agents will select just one or two rooms to have staged. This is just enough to pique viewers interest and get them in the door. In some cases, you can virtually stage a property for as low as $200 total.
To find out if virtual staging would be beneficial for your listing, contact Northern Virginia Real Estate Photography today.
Northern Virginia Real Estate Photography
Professional real estate photography and marketing, serving all of Virginia, Washington DC and Suburban Maryland. Including Manassas, Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria, Stafford, Fredericksburg, Woodbridge, Potomac, Rockville and Bethesda.