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How Virtual Staging Sells Homes

June 01 2021

iguide diningroomHave you ever played The Sims? This popular video game gives users the ability to virtually create a home filled with furnishings and accessories to their liking. With over 20 million users worldwide, it remains as popular today as when it first appeared in 2000. Wouldn't it be great if you could use this property tech idea to help sell more homes? Well, now you can with virtual staging.

It starts with a little imagination to complement the floor plans, and some 3D software applications to highlight a portion or all the spaces within a home. Virtual staging is a great marketing tool that helps compel a home buyer to make the purchase.

What is virtual staging? The digital creation of furniture, decor, and accessories within a home for use in virtual tours to be shared on a digital device. Why is this technology growing in popularity? Buyers want the ability to experience a home's full potential before making an appointment to view it and sellers want fewer interruptions in their daily lives.

Virtual staging frees homeowners from the stress of physical staging and lessens the amount of time required to prepare the home during the listing and marketing process. As a real estate professional, you can use the virtual staging technology as a great tool to showcase a vacant home or unclutter a well lived-in one.

No Moving or Renovations Required

When selling a home, you may want the virtual tours to highlight a minimalistic design, but what if the current homeowners don't live this way? Instead of having to come up with a polite way to get the seller to move their things off the counters and put away excess possessions, you can start with a clean slate by using virtual staging.

You can virtually remove items then add in just the right amount of furniture for your 3D tours to enhance the flow of the floor plans. You want the potential buyer to focus on the room dimensions and layout without getting lost in the confusion of too much stuff.

Are there odd shaped areas in the house? Some spots can be difficult to place furniture in, but with virtual staging it is easy. Instead of trying to fill a space with a limited collection of real furniture, you can handpick virtual furniture to complement weird shaped areas within the floor plans. Show the buyer the best possible layout of your listing without rearranging existing chattels.

If the home could use some updating, you can give the buyer an idea of what it could look like after a renovation. New paint, updated cabinets and multiple flooring options can all be virtually staged, allowing the buyer to form an emotional connection with the home.

Cost Effective

Traditional staging can be expensive, depending on how long the furniture is required to remain in a home. Every 24 hours that ticks by costs money that neither the current owner or you want to spend. Welcome virtual staging, where for a one-time fee you can achieve the look you want for your 360° tours and save money. According to Real Estate Magazine, virtual staging costs about $50 to $100 for each room in comparison to around $500 in the first month for physical staging.

Options to virtually stage a property range from DIY software to hiring a third party specializing in the field. Professional real estate photographers offer this service along with photographs, virtual tours and square footage calculations.

Virtual staging eliminates the need to move furniture back and forth from staging a home to purchase stage. Avoid worrying about spending extra money on hiring a mover to shuffle furniture in and out of the house and the possible damage to walls and fixtures in the process. Elimination of extra costs and hassle keeps your seller happy. Virtual staging enhances your 3D tours and helps the home come to life for potential buyers.

Limitless Possibilities

Staging a home is not new to the real estate industry, but virtual staging is a concept that is growing in popularity. Since the pandemic, consumers are more aware of the ability to visit a property without being physically present. As both buyer and seller embrace technology, virtual staging will become the new normal.

Distance is no longer a deterrent when it comes to buying a home. Whether you live across the street or across the world, you can make informed decisions about the size, type and layout of a potential home all at the tip of your fingers. Virtual technology is opening doors and helping the consumer confidently buy their dream home before they see it up close and personal.

According to an article in the New York Times, homebuyers are submitting offers on properties before ever setting foot in them. One reason for these early offers is because the buyers have the ability to virtually walk through and experience the home online. Accurate square footage calculations and immersive floor plans help the consumer understand the layout. Add in some virtual staging to simulate the buyer's preferences, and you have a great marketing tool. Make sure to keep your target market in mind so as not to overdo the staging with too much color or crazy furniture. Not everyone can afford the 72" HD TV or remodelled kitchen cabinets.

Enhance the Space, Don't Disguise It

There is no doubt about it—virtual staging can help get a home sold. Adding in some great looking furniture and changing the look of a property helps the consumer visualize living there. But don't let your listing be a wolf in sheep's clothing. Make sure you explain in detail what part of the property has been virtually staged. One buyer recently stated, "I felt deceived and the photos were misleading" after viewing an MLS listing online. The selling agent failed to completely explain that the house had been virtually staged and the potential buyer was disappointed when viewing the property in person.

Be obvious when describing how each portion of the home has been staged. Clearly indicate "before" and "after" depictions of every virtually staged area. It is up to you as a real estate professional to inform the consumer and initiate the conversation about the potential of the property. Use extra resources to show the fit and flow of the floor plans by making sure to include accurate square footage, room dimensions—and for an added 3D user experience, get some advanced measurements like those offered with an iGUIDE.

Virtual staging is not about tricking a buyer into viewing a house; it is about opening the door to possibilities that are often hidden behind a whole lot of sellers' treasures. Sometimes it is hard to see the forest for the trees, but with a cleverly staged home everyone can see from a different point of view.

Virtual staging takes the pressure off the seller, but most consumers still want to physically visit a house. As a real estate agent, it is important that you inform your customers the home will look different in person.

You don't have to know how to play The Sims video game to appreciate one of the best ways to stage a home—you just have to make sure your SIM card is working when the phone starts ringing with inquiries about your virtually staged listing!