St Louis Homes for Sale and Virtual Staging: New Sales Method or Old Scam?

Real Estate Agent with The Fisher Group / ReMax Results

Home staging has long been a way to sell St Louis homes and condos for sale. In short, stagers come into your home, look the place over and start packing (if it's not already empty). They bring furniture, draperies and other things to make the home look warm, beautiful and inviting to buyers. 

The trick is to make St Louis homes and condos for sale inviting in a way that doesn't overwhelm the buyer's personal tastes. It's worked, selling thousands of homes that might not have sold otherwise, and selling them faster than non-staged homes. 

For the past year or two, however, virtual (or conceptual) staging has come into the real estate world. Somewhat like traditional home staging, the virtual stager spruces up your home for sale. The differences are where the work is done and what the live house looks like. They may not sound like much, but these two differences have people asking, "Sales method or a snake oil scam?" 

Virtual Staging

Home staging came about because the real estate industry realized that most buyers have a tough time visualizing what a place will look like with their unique touch on it. With more tech savvy buyers, however, some may not even visit the home to enjoy the staged view. Many buyers find their potential home online and, once they've viewed the online pictures, contact the REALTOR® listing the home. 

Virtual staging provides beautiful images for buyers to look at online using digital enhancement. You may have a home staging team doing the computer work, or it may just be one person with fantastic design software. 

Here are the benefits to virtual staging:

•·         It may pull in more potential buyers than non-virtually staged homes.

•·         It can be cheaper than having a home stager come to your home.

•·         If you're worried about vandalism and theft (some sellers have had the staging furniture stolen), it may solve this problem. 

But there are potential pitfalls you need to be aware of before you try virtual staging:

  • The first and most obvious is not to use virtual staging to deceptively hide imperfections in your home. The purpose of these images is to enhance, yes, but if you hide issues it's not only unethical, but, in some states, illegal.
  • The second is to be sure to let the potential buyer know that the home is either vacant or has different furniture than what's shown.  You must be transparent and upfront that the images are computer generated. Otherwise, they will feel confused - or even scammed - when they get to the home to see and buy it.  This may seem a deal "killer," but it all depends on how this information is presented.  

Home stagers have written in favor of real life home staging (putting down virtual staging, of course). Virtual stagers have written the opposite. So which one is better? If you have one of the St Louis homes for sale, consider your budget, your options and what you want to accomplish. As long as you're willing to be upfront about the images, virtual staging may be the right option for you.

 Need help preparing your home for sale?  I can help.  Give me a call today at 314-630-4227 or email me at 


Traditional home staging

 Home staging team


In favor of real life home staging



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Wendy Hayden
Photographer, Home Stager, ePRO - Richmond, VA
Chesterfield, Richmond & Powahatan

I am a home stager and real estate photographer.  I often photograph homes with something wrong with them, such as a chip on the counter or fogged windows.  If I photoshopped the image and "fixed" the counter or photoshopped in window treatments to cover the windows, the potential buyer might come look at the home, but they would be upset to find the flaws when they got there.  I think that virtual staging will just leave a lot of potential buyers feeling just as mislead.

Wendy Neugent

Jun 09, 2010 03:55 PM #1
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

I'm not a fan of virtual staging, although I think a home that posts virtual/conceptual photos on the MLS has a better chance of selling than a home that is neither "real life" staged or virtually staged. No matter what we disclose or tell people, when they step foot in the home they will not get the same emotional effect if the home is vacant or unstaged. "Real Life" staging has 2 components: 1)getting them in the door with beautiful photos of a staged home and 2) getting them "hooked" once we get them in the door. The second component is missing with virtual staging.

Jun 09, 2010 04:22 PM #2

I am a real estate agent and a long time member of active rain.  I appreciate everyones comments and feedback about our virtual staging services that we have a patent pending on.  My husband and I started Virtually Staging Properties because agents and sellers wanted another option that was more economical to stage vacant properties that are for sale.  We traditionally stage over 120 homes a year and we provide a home management program with our sister company No Vacancy in Atlanta. 

You should take the time to really read about how virtual staging works and how we make it realistic and yes to drive buyer traffic to a vacant property.  We have helped sell homes out in Arizona with this new marketing tool and properties have sold in less than a week!  We do not alter any of our clients photographs we simply virtually stage them and make them look more marketable and attractive online to give potential buyers an idea of how a space can be arranged and help make empty rooms they view on come to life and become more recognizable.

Visit our home page and click on the ABC and CBS newscasts about virtual staging on our home page at  Also, read our press coverage and you will see that even the National Association of Realtors magazine, finds virtual staging a great marketing tool and gave it 2 thumbs up!  See how this amazing new form of staging is really working for real estate agents nationwide.  We appreciate all the comments and our goal is to help get vacant homes sold because these days everyone is on a budget and we want to help bring that vacant housing percentage down nationwide!  Sincerely, KRISZTINA BELL, Virtually Staging Properties and No Vacancy, ATLANTA, GA 

Jun 10, 2010 05:46 AM #3
Krisztina Bell
Virtually Staging Properties - Atlanta, GA
Virtually Staging Properties

Thanks for mentioning virtual staging as a great marketing tool to sell a vacant home! Keep in mind that virtual staging is not a way to replace traditional home staging services but a more economical marketing tool for agents and sellers to be able to show buyers the potential of a home, digitally.  Virtual staging should not entail altering the photos of the home as far as changing wall colors, moving walls and adding fixtures. As an agent, professional home stager and Pioneer of virtual staging, my company believes in virtual staging that abides by the Realtor code of ethics of a true representation of the property. This service is merely used to give buyers a better understanding of how to layout a room and make vacant photos of a home online more attractive and recognizable. And yes making sure each photo displays that the home has been virtually staged so buyers are aware is very important and my company has a strict policy on that! I am just glad to see that our #virtualstaging service has made a name for itself in the real estate world and is here to stay! Before you take a stab or buy a CAD decorating software program contact as we are professional home stagers of vacant properties of over 10 years through our sister company in Atlanta and pioneers of our patent-pending virtual staging service that sells vacant homes faster anywhere in the world! KRISZTINA BELL, GA Real Estate Agent, Professional Home Stager, Pioneer of Virtual Staging & Real Estate Marketing Consultant

Apr 07, 2015 01:33 AM #4
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Ralph E. Fisher III

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