Home staging can be an effective tool when selling a home. But what about when you’re selling an empty home? One option is to furnish the whole house as part of the home staging process, but that can get expensive depending on how much furniture is needed. Another option is the more cost-effective virtual staging. We spoke with Krisztina Bell, founder of Virtually Staging Properties, to learn more about virtual home staging and how it can help sell homes.
What Is Virtual Staging?
Virtual or digital home staging is the process of virtually adding furniture and decor into photos of a vacant home. Like traditional home staging, it’s essentially decorating your home to attract buyers—just without physically decorating. This is important because potential homebuyers are more likely to go for a home that’s furnished because it’s easier to picture themselves living there. Photos of empty homes are far less attractive to buyers, so virtual staging can be an excellent way to provide a better view of your home, impress buyers, and potentially get more offers.
Benefits of Virtual Staging
There are several benefits of using digital home staging. For one, photos of an empty home usually don’t perform as well in online listings. “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.”
Another big advantage of going digital is the lower home staging cost. Adding furniture and decor to an empty home via traditional home staging can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000, whereas high-quality virtual staging can cost about $50 per photo.
Digitally staging your home also offers a unique level of flexibility and customization. Maybe your home only has a few empty rooms that need to be filled. Perhaps you have a flex room that you want to show off in multiple ways, with photos displaying different uses for this living space. Or maybe you want to show different styles of decor in a room to attract a wider pool of potential buyers.
Regardless, virtual home staging can address a lot of the issues you may run into when putting your home on the market. And like traditional home staging, it’s more likely to help your home sell faster.
Challenges of Virtual Staging
Though digital home staging can be a convenient and affordable way to stage your home for sale, there are a few things to consider and watch out for when opting for virtual home staging.
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 her company have the specific expertise necessary to know how to lay out rooms in a way that helps buyers imagine themselves living in a home. If deciding between digital home staging companies, choose one with both real estate and home staging experience.
Another thing you’ll see between virtual home staging companies is some have furniture that looks very real, while others will have fake-looking furniture. “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 trends in home decor.
Quality Photos Matter for Digital Staging
Quality is important for both real estate photography and virtual home staging. If photos of an empty room are taken from a bad angle, are too zoomed in, or have poor lighting, it makes it harder for the virtual stager to place furniture realistically and present the room in an attractive way for buyers.
According to Bell, digital home stagers can do their best to work with the real estate photos provided, but in some instances, they will suggest that photos be retaken by a professional photographer.
Virtual Staging Shouldn’t Deceive Buyers
Bell has been asked to alter the look of a home before, including replacing floors and changing wall colors, but that’s something Virtually Staging Properties will not do for their home staging clients.
“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.
Just as professional real estate photographers try to accurately represent homes, you don’t want virtual home staging that will lead to potential buyer disappointment during a home showing.
Looking for more information on staging your home for sale? Check out these helpful guides:
- How to Stage Your Home for Sale: The Complete Guide
- Why Staging Your Home Is Absolutely Worth It
- Home Staging Tips: The Best Paint Colors for Selling a House
- Staging Your Home to Sell for Top Dollar
All images courtesy of Krisztina Bell, Virtually Staging Properties.