By now everyone knows what staging is and many sellers know the benefits of a well-staged property. NAR (National Association of Realtors US) has done a study that shows the positive effects of staging (click to view). The bottom line – a property that is presented well, will show better, and that will increase the likelihood of a successful sale, for more money and in less time. But what is virtual staging and how does it compare to real staging?
It is a technique used in real estate marketing to enhance the visual appeal of a property by digitally furnishing and decorating empty or minimally furnished spaces. It has become popular over the last few years, especially during the recent market downturn which has caused properties to stay on the market for longer, or not sell at all. The good old days of multiple offers on every property are over and agents and sellers have chosen a path to cut costs. Virtual staging is WAY less expensive than real staging, but cost is not the only consideration. Let’s look at all of the pros and cons so that you can make a good and informed decision when you list your property for sale.
If you’re going to do it, do it well!
If you choose to go the virtual staging route, make sure it’s done well! There are plenty of services that do a very basic version of this service and will charge you or your agent less than $10 per photo. The quality of those photos often leaves a lot to be desired. They use outdated furniture, awful design; and colours, furniture that isn’t to scale, and as a result, it gives an unrealistic representation of the property. The examples below are properties that I have visited in person and both I and the buyers thought that the virtual staging did the seller no favours. The photos would have looked better vacant with no editing. Ensure that your agent has the right marketing and your place will look better, even if it’s just online.
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Virtual staging vs. real staging
- Low cost: Compared to real staging, virtual staging is a lot less expensive. There is no need for rental furniture, transportation, etc.
- Quick: If you need to list in a hurry, virtual staging can be done a lot faster than real staging.
- Flexibility: It provides a high level of flexibility. Changes to the staging can be made easily and quickly, allowing for different styles to be tested until you achieve the optimal look.
- Not tangible: Virtual staging, if done correctly, can enhance a property’s look online and in marketing materials. In my personal experience, buyers make buying decisions after in-person visits. Real staging is the only way to provide scale & perspective, show the property’s potential, and evoke emotion during in-person visits.
- Unrealistic: The realism of virtually staged properties is limited compared to real staging. Buyers might find it challenging to gauge the actual size of the digital furniture.
It’s fair to say that there are pros to virtual staging but when it comes to the core purpose of staging – to present the property better to achieve a higher and faster sale – it comes up short. While there are scenarios where I’d prefer virtual staging, by and large, I strongly recommend the real deal. If you decide to work with me, REAL STAGING is part of the services included and we offer very competitive commission rates to boot. Call to find out more details. No pressure. No commitment. I promise.
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