Virtual Home Staging is the New Wave in Home Staging
Listing your house online requires more than just posting pictures or adding it on a local real estate website. For many home buyers, the first contact they have with a potential property to buy is the online listing. The photos need to be enticing, to say the least.
Enter Virtually Staging Properties, a pioneer in the field of virtual home staging. I interviewed Krisztina M. Bell, the director of Virtually Staging Properties, and was totally impressed by her level of professionalism and expertise. Read her comments to learn how virtually staging your house could be the thing that sells it fast and at the asking price.
Q: What is Virtual Staging?
A: Virtual Staging is a service we pioneered to help owners of vacant "for sale" properties best present their homes to potential buyers, via the internet -- which according to the National Association of Realtors, is where 90% of potential home buyers start their search.
We work with actual photos of a vacant home, and "virtually" stage them by adding attractive and appropriate REAL furnishings (Patent-Pending process) to the photos, so the online pictures of the home are more understandable and help create a connection with the potential buyers. When buyers view the virtually staged home online, they can envision themselves living in the home, so they are much more likely to want to go view it with their agent in person.
Q: Is Virtual Staging less costly than hiring an in-person designer?
A: Virtual Staging is primarily designed to assist in the sale of vacant homes. Traditional staging entails moving furniture in and not only does the homeowner have the cost of the designer (or professional stager), but also the cost of renting the furnishings.
Traditionally staging a vacant home is not an inexpensive proposition; however as traditional stagers ourselves, we know the benefits almost always outweigh the costs. Virtual Staging costs around 10% of the price of traditional staging. Additionally, Virtual Staging is a one-time charge, while if a traditionally staged home doesn't sell quickly, furniture rental continues to accrue monthly, potentially costing sellers thousands of additional dollars.
Q: What about when buyers come to see the home in person?
A: We brand each photo that we virtually stage with our web address and require that our clients disclose the fact that certain photos of the home have been virtually staged.
In our view, Virtual Staging actually offers the buyers the best of both worlds. They get the benefit of seeing the potential of a home online (and in person if the seller orders our mounted enlargements option), and when they view the property in person, there are no rugs, furniture, wall hangings, etc that might distract them from reviewing the complete house.
We would also suggest that virtual staging is no different than the seller/agent using photos of the home when it was occupied, after the owner has moved.
It is our policy to not edit the underlying photo or property. By this, we mean that we will not change wall colors, floor coverings, add appliances, etc., nor will we cover up or "repair" damage that might be evident in the photos. [Hire a contractor to make any necessary repairs before the photos are taken -- Ed.]
Q: I first found you on Hometalk.com. How has Hometalk helped you grow your business, and how is your presence on the site helping Hometalk members?
Hometalk has been a great social media community from the start for us since its focus is more about house and home. We like the friendly members who are serious about making the inside and outside of their home better. We found it to be a great avenue to spread the word to homeowners and we have been amazed at the support and enthusiasm we have received from Hometalk followers and pros.
Our service is helping not only agents but also sellers market their homes for sale in a more economical way with a new tech savvy twist. We have also noticed an increase in our Web traffic since joining Hometalk. Also, it was Hometalkers that kick started our "Likes" and fan base on Facebook, as they enjoy our photos of rooms in homes that give them great staging ideas and design ideas for their home even on a budget.
As professional home stagers, we have also been able to provide Hometalkers with our home staging tips, secrets and even some occasional interior design ideas. Overall, we are thrilled to be a part of the growth of the Hometalk community and will continue to bring its followers the latest trends in staging and design tips and ideas for the home via our Hometalk profile.
Q: Can you name some success stories?
Yes, many of our clients have written us to let us know that their listings have sold and that our Virtual Staging made a big difference in both buyer traffic and days-on-market. Some of these Success Stories can be found on our website.
Here are a few quotes:
Annmarie D., an agent with Prudential Connecticut: "I had the property listed for just one short week and it produced 4 offers for full price!"
Catie M., a Top Agent with Long & Foster: “We work with investors who renovate homes and having the vacant photos of the property virtually staged really helps sell the home fast and adds to our investors' return on investment…a double positive for everybody!”
Sue M., a Broker and Agent with Re/Max of Naperville (Chicago suburb), who listed a condo in a community where 60+ condos were already on the market: "My condo was vacant and I had 3 virtually staged photos done by VSP, which I added to my virtual tour. Within 5 days, the condo was under contract, beating out all others that were in the same price range!"
Q: When should Virtual Staging be used versus traditional staging?
A: We developed Virtual Staging to offer customers around the country a less expensive, yet highly effective alternative to traditional vacant home staging. If cost is not an issue, traditional staging is an outstanding tool to market and sell a vacant home. However, if cost is a consideration, Virtual Staging is without a doubt the best approach for marketing a vacant home, offering most of the benefits of traditional staging, at just a fraction of the cost.
Updated October 16, 2018.
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