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The Truth About Virtual Staging

Dining room with virtual staging

There’s no doubt about it — the quickest way to sell your home for top dollar is through professional staging. Staging your home tells a story to prospective buyers. It helps them visualize themselves living in the space. Nothing compares to the experience of walking into a beautifully staged home, but there are some circumstances in which you may want to consider virtual staging instead. Virtual staging is the art of editing photographs of your home to add furniture and accessories digitally.

The Difference Between Virtual Staging and Traditional Staging

Virtual staging, like traditional staging, creates a vision of what life would be like in a home. Unlike traditional home staging, however, it requires no moving of furniture or accessories. Since virtual staging is a digital process, all you need are professional photos of your home. As a result, the process requires less manual labor and takes less time. This makes it more affordable and more convenient than traditional home staging.

The Benefits of Virtual

Virtual staging also offers greater customization. You can virtually style a room in many different ways much easier than you could swap out real furniture. You can also easily tailor the functionality of a room to the many varied needs of your prospective buyers. For example, you could show the same spare bedroom staged as an office, nursery, or arts and crafts room. This helps promote the versatility of bedrooms, bonus rooms, and flex spaces.

Additionally, virtual staging makes it easy to “change” paint colors and window treatments. This means you can post photos for your listing without having to wait for a contractor. Virtual staging allows you to showcase both existing features and potential features.

The Drawbacks of Virtual

Just as there are benefits to virtually staging your home, there are also drawbacks. When you virtually stage your home, buyers may be confused or disappointed when they see your home in person and it doesn’t look like the pictures. Your home will not have the in-person “wow factor” that many buyers have come to expect at showings. You also have to be very selective when choosing a staging company. Many people these days can use programs like Adobe Photoshop. Just because someone can create a beautiful image on the computer, it doesn’t mean that the image will actually help to sell your home. All the same rules of traditional staging apply to virtual staging, so make sure that your virtual staging expert also understands the real estate market.

When to Consider Virtual Staging

You should consider virtual staging if your home is in a less populated area that doesn’t get many in-person showings. And, since it has no geographical limits, you won’t need to worry about bringing in a staging professional from far away. Another reason to consider staging your home virtually is if it is being renovated or remodeled; it allows you to show buyers what your home would look like upon completion.

Lastly, consider staging your home virtually if you don’t have the budget for traditional home staging services. Virtual staging is better than no staging. Prospective buyers spend a lot of time clicking through pictures before they schedule a showing. It’s important for those buyers to be able to envision themselves in the space. You want them to feel an emotional connection to it. Virtual staging can help achieve this and will make your listing stand out online.

When to Avoid Virtual Staging

We don’t recommend staging your home virtually if you have a lot of in-person showings. Buyers may feel confused or tricked when the home doesn’t look the same way it did online. You want to avoid losing trust from potential buyers. If you choose to stage your home virtually, make it clear that the photos have been virtually staged. You can do this by placing a watermark on each image or by placing a prominent note in the listing description. Avoid doctoring anything that is permanent in a home. This is considered false advertising and is unethical.

Also, avoid virtual staging if you have a luxury home. Buyers of luxury homes have higher expectations. They almost always expect to see a staged home. This is especially the case with the rise of the many home makeover shows on television.

Choose the Right Staging

No matter which type of staging you choose, there are a few rules of thumb that apply to both. First and foremost, use neutral furniture and decor. Style and design choices should appeal to the broadest audience possible to elicit the most offers. Second, make sure that the person or team staging your home is a certified staging professional. The goal of staging isn’t just pretty pictures, it’s to sell a home quickly while maximizing the sale price. Finally, ensure that you aren’t wasting your resources on a cheaper service. Although staging your home virtually can be a good low-budget option, you should also consider traditional staging in just one or two key rooms.

Check out our 5 Questions to Ask a “Value” Staging Company »

Virtual staging can be a great option to help you sell your home. But before you decide on one type of staging over the other, you should first assess which will best serve your home and potential buyers. Based on our extensive experience, we can help you determine the right option for your home. Request a home staging consultation today.

A beautiful home sells faster.

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