Virtual Home Staging is often misunderstood as being deceptive and we dispel the myths
Virtual Staging is now part of mainstream Real Estate Marketing strategy where Listing Agents and Homeowners choose to digitally furnish photos of vacant or poorly furnished listings instead of renting real furniture. Despite being proven to work, some agents still refuse to see the value of Virtual Staging and argue that it should not be part of an effective Real Estate Marketing plan.
What follows is our response to the common concerns and questions raised by Real Estate Agents, most of whom have later turned into our customers and believers of Virtual Staging.
Agent Myth #1: Virtual staging is misrepresenting the property
Virtual home staging involves staging pictures of rooms with virtual furniture and accessories. Just like traditional staging, it is a visual tool to help buyers imagine and visualize their future homes. With virtual staging we never make structural changes to the house like changing floors, walls or lighting. We are only inserting furniture and accessories into the photos to show the rooms as furnished. So there is no misrepresentation since the house has not been modified in any way.
Agent Myth #2: Virtual staging is against MLS rules and regulations
After having staged over 50000 homes for 90% of the MLS’s in the country, we have seen that MLS organizations have no objections with Virtual Staging as long as it is properly disclosed in the listing that the property has been virtually staged to showcase the future to potential buyers. It is also a good idea to include both before and after Virtually Staged photos for clarity.
Agent Myth #3: Buyers will be turned off when the house doesn’t look like the pictures
This is a common concern from agents that since the actual house doesn’t look as great as the Virtually Staged photos online, the buyers might be disappointed when they show up. After having interviewed hundreds of buyers during showings and open houses, we have seen that buyers instantly understand what virtual staging is and they appreciate the fact that they can see the home both as furnished in pictures and vacant in person to see the possibilities.
Agent Myth #4: Virtual staging looks fake and cartoonish
Photo-realistic Virtual Staging technology has come a long way in the last 5 years. However it still remains an art that is not easy to master. Just as there are good and bad real estate photographers, there are good and bad virtual staging providers. The biggest differentiator among them is how “real” they can make Virtual Staging look. Seasoned virtual staging experts know the right tools and techniques to make virtual staging look photo-realistic where it is indiscernible from real staging. It is important to find a highly reputable virtual staging company because Virtual Staging only works when it looks real.
Agent Myth #5: Virtual Staging requires accurate floor plans and measurements
Agents tend to assume that since Virtual Staging designers can’t visit the actual house, they must be provided the floor measurements for the rooms being staged. The fact is that Virtual staging does not require floor measurements or floor plans. Virtual staging designers can determine the room measurements simply from the listing photos using standard window and door heights and size furnishings accordingly.
Agent Myth #6: Virtual staging requires rooms to be 100% empty
A lot of times there are pieces of furniture and moving supplies left over. Virtual Staging can be used to remove existing furniture and clutter in the photos prior to staging the rooms. The Best Virtual Stagers can even replace the entire furniture in fully furnished rooms and re-furnish them. This is very useful for poorly furnished homes where the buyers cannot see past the furnishings to see the potential of the property.
Agent Myth #7: Virtual staging only works with certain type of photos
Virtual staging can work with any type of photos and there are no special requirements. Any picture angle and any resolution can be staged. In fact they don’t even have to be professional photos. Virtual staging can be done using regular mobile phone photos as well.
Agent Myth #8: Real Estate Photographers can also be Virtual Stagers
Virtual staging is a very specialized skill set requiring advanced 3D design and interior design skills. Most photographers don’t possess these skills and they use off the shelf software to produce sub par virtual staging quality. That’s why it is always recommended to have a specialized virtual staging company do the staging instead of relying on real estate photographers to do it.
Virtual staging is the future of online Real Estate Listing marketing and it is here to stay. Agents must approach new Real Estate Marketing ideas like Virtual Staging with an open mind and let the results convince them of the value instead of believing the long standing.