Virtual staging - new twist on an old subject....what's your take?

Real Estate Agent with Former Agent

I just learned about something I had not heard of until I stumbled across it by accident, Virtual Staging. 

Ok, so I admit, I don't read my Realtor magazines as often as I should and I see that they have done an article about Virtual Staging:

I also see that they put in a caveat about "keeping it ethical" and that, honestly was one of my first thoughts when I learned about this business.  The thought, "is this misrepresentation to a potential buyer?", ran through my head and well, I kind of have mixed feelings about this service.

It seems that the Virtual Stagers can digitally "drop" furniture and appliances in pictures to make the home appear to be lived in OR as Realtor Magazine states, "The idea of virtual staging is not to deceive prospects but rather to help them envision what the house could look like and how each space could be used."

From Realtor magazine:

"We caution agents that they should be transparent about the images and explain that they are computer generated," says virtual stager Krisztina Bell. In other words, where virtually staged photos appear, include a comment or comments in a readily and reasonably apparent manner that the property has been virtually staged and is actually vacant (or furnished differently), advises REALTOR® magazine’s ethics columnist Bruce Aydt. Otherwise, you risk violating Article 12 of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, which requires that your marketing paint a "true picture."

Well, I do understand that sometimes what you see is not always what you get when you actually visit a home to show.  The sellers could have REALLY had the home decorated as the pictures suggest and have moved out now and you arrive to see bare walls instead of what the original pictures show, especially if the home has been on the market for some time.

Do I agree with this service?  Well, the jury is still out on that one, curious as to what your feelings are about "placing furniture" in a picture.

Do you agree with using Virtual Staging for your listings?

Donna Harris
Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - - Austin, TX
Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator

I think virtual staging is a great idea. I've added it to my marketing plan for vacant homes. I feel as long as you show the vacant room as part of the pictures as well as the virtually staged picture, and note it, that you're fine.

Apr 11, 2010 10:42 AM
Susan Neal
RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker

Hi JT, I like the idea of virtual staging, and it is certainly less expensive and easier on the Realtor than actual staging, but you do have to be able to tell people what is real and what is computer-generated.  Most of the time it is used to present possibilities and everything is kept to scale. 

I did see one on MLS, however, where a bed was positioned in a room with plenty of room to spare, but when I went to the house, I measured and the room was barely big enough to fit a twin bed.  The virtual stager must have manipulated the furniture to make the room look bigger.  That is not ethical in my opinion.

Apr 11, 2010 10:59 AM