How To Incorporate Virtual Staging Into A Home Staging Business
“I really believe that the virtual world mirrors the physical world”. – Marissa Mayer
As a child, your perception of the future may have consisted of flying cars and robotic pets. The concept of what technology was going to do for us was based on an exciting yet childish fantasy. Many years later, although numerous futuristic gadgets have come to fruition, we are still driving on asphalt roads and our pets still live and breathe.
Computers and cell phones though, are constantly evolving; introducing a never-ending array of technological advances that strive to enrich our daily lives. And where would we be without the internet? The entire world is simply one mouse-click away. We are able to work, shop, “visit” with friends, and consult a doctor, simply by connecting to the world-wide-web.
One advancement straight out of our childhood fantasies, is the world of virtual reality. Twenty years ago, the word “virtual” was not even in our vocabularies. Today, it is part of our everyday lexicon; when it is placed in front of another word such as “reality”, we understand it to mean that something in our lives is “close to being real, but is not really real”. Therefore, virtual staging translates to home staging that is close to being real, but is not really real.
To be more specific, virtual staging consists of computer generated images of furniture and accessories, that are placed on top of photographs of rooms within a home. The home staging doesn’t exist in the real world, but simply in a computer-generated one. As a successful home stager, are you able to utilize this technology? Is this something that can be incorporated into your home staging business?
What is Virtual Staging?
Virtual staging is a computer-generated tool, that allows a stager to digitally insert furnishings and accessories onto photographs of rooms, from within a specific home. Additionally, items such as extraneous furniture, as well as clutter, can be digitally removed. These photos can then be used to market the home. Similar to traditional home staging, virtual staging helps buyers envision the possibilities that a property has to offer.
It can help to highlight the positive features and minimize the negative ones within a space. These photos of the home for sale must look not only realistic, but also appealing. Why? Because a home’s photos are the most critical aspect of its listing. Buying and selling a home is no longer about curb appeal, but rather, web appeal; 90% of home buyers begin their search online. Quality virtual home staging can produce visually compelling photos that will attract and retain the interest of potential home buyers.
What are the Pros of Virtual Staging?
- The main pro of virtual staging is that it is relatively inexpensive. It can therefore be a cost effective addition to your home staging business.
- If traditional staging is not an option, virtual staging is a practical solution. It can be a “quick and easy way to add value to a home”.
- Virtual staging has a variety of available options, including apps, software and virtual staging companies. They range from do-it-yourself, to designer-assisted choices.
What are the Cons of Virtual Staging?
- Virtual staging can mislead potential home buyers, especially if the person responsible for the digital enhancement, takes liberties with the home’s appearance. Home improvements should never be photoshopped. In some instances, it may be helpful to portray a crackling fire in the hearth, but adding a fireplace where there isn’t one, is not recommended. Additionally, every picture should be clearly marked, informing the viewer that the photos have been virtually staged.
- Poor quality virtual staging, produces photos that are detrimental to any marketing plan. Resembling a child’s video game, these photos will distract, and eventually turn off, any potential home buyers.
- Depending on which application you choose, not every option regularly updates its choices for home furnishings and accessories. Style changes rapidly, and if the virtual staging app or software is not current, your photos will appear dated.
What Situations Benefit From Virtual Staging?
- There are specific situations in which traditional staging is not an option. For instance, utilizing virtual staging in a new space currently under construction, can help it get a jump on the listing process. Weeks before completion, a stager is able to upload photos of the empty rooms and virtually stage them. Similarly, a home that is currently undergoing renovations, can likewise begin the marketing process early. By utilizing virtual staging, a stager can help buyers visualize the finished product and its potential, weeks before the work is even done.
- In vacant homes, virtual staging can be used to supplement traditional staging. In large homes for instance, instead of physically staging every room, a stager is able to leave some rooms empty and virtually stage them instead. This can save the seller money, and save the stager hours of physical labour. It is best practice to display a blown-up photo of the virtually staged room in each space, so that potential buyers can envision its potential.
- Virtual staging is also an effective method of demonstrating multiple uses for a specific room. For instance, if a space can be utilized both as a bedroom and as an office, a stager can traditionally stage it one way, and virtually stage it the other. Again, displaying a blown-up photo of the virtual version is always recommended.
Virtual home staging is never going to be a replacement for traditional home staging. Computer-generated images are simply not as effective at creating the “wow” factor, as real-life furnishings and accessories. However, under certain circumstances, virtual staging can be used as a supplemental tool. As graduates of Ultimate Academy®, UltimateStagers™ know the power of home staging. Homes that have been staged, sell faster and for more money.
Although not as incredible as a flying car, incorporating virtual staging into your successful home staging business, might just be the best technological advance for you.