I recently wrote a blog post on virtual staging. I was prompted to write the article after having a string of vacant listings.
Unfortunately, marketing a vacant home can present some challenges. Vancant room after vacant room, especially when they have no defining features tend to run into each other and all look the same.
This leaves us with web appeal lacking and marketing materials missing some sizzle. How do you tell the differnece between the living room and the bedrooms? How big is the room?
Furniture defines the room and gives scale to a room, as well as can create some visual interest.
So on my last vacant listing, I decided to virtually stage some key areas of the home. It certainly helped when it cam time to prepare marketing materials. I virtually staged the living room, the dining room, the two bedrooms and the office.
Lastly I fully disclosed that the photographs were virtually staged and was used to give an idea of use and space, but upon arrival the house would be vacant.
Is Virtual Staging Deceptive?
There are some in the industry that feel virtual staging is deceptive.
So is virtual staging manipulating the buyer? My first thought is we are selling space, we arent selling furniture. I am not adding or taking anything away anything that would be included in the sale of the home. Really, a home that is physically and beautifully decorated definitely creates appeal for many buyers. It gives them an idea of what the space could look like. But yet, the decor is not included in the sale.
Or what about new construction, the photos of a staged model home thats been sold but the model home photos continued to be marketed with the staged photos.
I am certainly not talking about altering what actually exists that is included in the sale. Removing property defects, altering bad views, etc... Or some services offer greening the lawn. Which I do have a problem with because the sale includes the lawn.
Is Virtual Staging Enhancing Your Vacant Listings?
As listing agents we have a fiduciary resonsibility to our sellers to act in their best interest. Isn't presenting your clients home in the best light in their best interest? I personally did my own virtual staging with Visual Stager at $15 a shot. YOu can also send in photos to be virtually staged to different services for between $30 and $60 a shot..... very short money that I believe provided big results.
Virtual staging creates appeal, gives a sense of use and helps provide scale. Being able to virtually stage the home allowed me to provide some appealling top notch marketing that would have been a little difficult if I was dealing with vacant photos.
To take it one step farther, in the MLS listing I did present both the vacant photos as well as the virtually staged photos.
I believe next time I will take it one step farther and add visualization on the bottom of the staged photos to make it ultra clear.
The seller was very pleased, I received great feedback from buyers and agents all except one. And the home was quickly put under agreement. Buyers at the open house understood the house would be vacant and commented they liked the staged photos.
So the one.... one agent complained the house was vacant and he seemed quite disgruntled. But, I clearly noted the home was vacant and the furnished shots were virtually staged in SEVERAL places. He didn't read the listing.
So what do you think of Virtual Staging as an agent?