What’s every agent's nightmare scenario when trying to sell a house?
It’s to have a property sitting on the market for an extended period of time. The longer it’s there, the slimmer are the chances that it will get sold at an asking price because prospective home-buyers will be wondering what’s wrong with it. Of course, there can be nothing wrong with it. Its circumstances may be due to a combination of multiple unfortunate factors like unflattering photos of the property with poorly furnished rooms, mismatched furniture, or an overall lack of coherence in how the property is presented.
The property in question may have so much potential, but it’s all for nothing if nobody can see past its dull and uninspiring presentation. Of course, there are solutions for this, but they are often costly and time-consuming.
Enter virtual staging….
Virtual staging is a type of home staging where experienced 3D artists and interior designers digitally add photorealistic furniture and decor to photos of vacant or sparsely furnished properties. It only takes a couple of seconds to capture the buyer’s interest in today’s competitive real estate market. We all know that there is nothing memorable in clicking through a collection of vacant property listings, and sooner than later, they all blend together with no specific element distinguishing them. On the other hand, virtual staging offers a finished product that encourages prospective buyers to see the home's full potential. This, in turn, allows them to visualize their future in it fully.
Virtual staging, when used effectively, is a potent digital marketing tool that shouldn’t be overlooked in building a strong online presence and your digital marketing strategy overall. It should help you capture a buyer’s attention quicker, generate more buzz and interest and ultimately sell the property faster and above the asking price. Since the staged photos generate far more interest, it’s no surprise that staged properties sell 73% faster than their non-staged counterparts, according to the Real Estate Staging Association.
As one of the most significant technological innovations in the real estate industry, virtual staging’s true value lies in helping you ease and advance transactions with clients. This should leave you more time to focus on interpersonal relations, which remain the most important aspect of the realtor’s business.
Why it's important to keep up with technology in real estate, and how virtual staging fits in
The National Association of Realtors came out with some statistics compiled for the year 2020, and one of them is particularly revealing. According to NAR, 48% of real estate firms identify keeping up with the technology as the biggest challenge facing their firms in the next two years.
The ongoing pandemic has forced many businesses to make drastic changes to their business models in order to stay afloat and continue to grow at the rate they were used to before. This usually required a transition to virtual or digital spaces where prospective clients now expected a strong customer experience.
As a direct result of many social distancing measures, visiting on-site locations suddenly became increasingly difficult, and organizing open houses downright impossible. The importance of maintaining a strong online presence and using the technology in a way that enabled them to pre-qualify sales wasn’t lost on the more tech-savvy realtors. They correctly realized that those who delivered on these customer expectations would be set apart from the competition.
The data compiled by NAR further corroborates this necessity. NAR’s research shows that 97% of home buyers use the internet to search for a home to buy. A whopping 97%! Buyers react to visual queues, but a listing can easily slip through the cracks and be unnoticed with so many choices. Posting good and flattering photos of your listings is something that can help the property you are trying to sell stand out from the competition.
What’s more, 99% of Millenials, the generation that currently makes the bulk of home-buyers, will look for homes on online websites. Another 58% will find their home on a mobile device, according to the data collected by the National Association of REALTORS® Research Department. Moreover, when breaking down the website features that the home-buyers found the most useful, an astounding 89% found photos to be of crucial importance, with another 50% placing a high value on virtual tours.
Virtual staging may be just what you need to satisfy the current market trends and customer expectations. The effect achieved by using it cannot be overstated, as it can be a real lifesaver when used on vacant properties for a myriad of reasons. It will help the prospective buyers visualize their future homes and easily demonstrate the scale and proportions of the space, which are all important things when trying to pre-qualify sales.
The significance of having staged photos is further confirmed by 82% of the home buyers’ agents stating that staging made it easier for their clients to visualize their futures in those homes. When it comes to which parts of the house were deemed the most important to be staged, the preference was given to the living room (46%) followed by bedroom and kitchen at 43% and 35%, respectively.
We’ve given you the numbers, but now let’s talk about the actual virtual staging benefits and debunk some common misconceptions.
1. Virtual staging is cost-effective and time-saving
Deciding to stage your property comes as a no-brainer, but the process can be long and tedious. You need to contact the staging company, invest a substantial amount of time working with the stager, schedule the movers to bring in the temporary furniture, and that will cost you upwards of $500 or $600 per room per month while the property sits on the market. But, on the other hand, virtual staging brings all the same benefits as traditional staging for a fraction of the cost and time invested!
In fact, the amount of money saved by using virtual staging in place of traditional staging can be up to 97%!
All you need is access to your computer, and in fewer than 15 minutes, you can choose the interior design style you would like to stage your property in, add any notes you think would make the property more attractive to the buyers, upload the photos and your job is almost done. And in 4 to 8 hours for $24 a photo, you’ll have the images back virtually furnished, and you are ready to list your property.
Here at VirtualStaging.com, we care deeply about your customer experience, so we are continually working on improving our services. That’s why we are working hard to ensure you get the same-day return of your virtually staged images and make the 4 to 8-hour turnaround time the standard.
2. Virtual staging declutters and redesigns your space
Not all properties going on the market are perfectly vacant. Sometimes they come with a variety of old and outdated furniture pieces, some too cumbersome to remove physically. In cases like those, you can selectively remove the unwanted items simply by choosing the item in the photo you’d like gone. Then, once they are removed, you can have a fresh start and replace them with anything you’d like, and that would fit your vision for the space better.
Additionally, you can also use it to great effect when the home-seller is still living in the home to remove the excess clutter and personal items.
3. Social Distance
With the majority of the country practicing social distancing at any one time, real estate agents had to get creative and more tech-savvy in order to reach new clients and make sales. One of the things at their disposal that was perfectly suited for a more intensive digital marketing campaign is virtual staging.
Using virtual staging services enables you to showcase your listings in a flattering light, all from a safe distance. Furthermore, with the advent of more interactive and immersive technological advancements like 360 virtual tours, the prospective buyer is well informed about the property before making a shortlist of their favorite properties.
4. Virtual Staging Gives You More Creative Freedom
When it comes to choosing the perfect design to complement the property you’re listing; there’s truly no limit to what you can achieve. With so many interior design styles at your disposal, unlimited revisions, and consultations with our team, your vision can effortlessly come to life.
And if you’re trying to achieve a specific look, you can provide us with reference photos, and we can do our best to replicate that wow effect you are looking for. Even then, you can continue to customize the finished product by picking out specific materials, textures, and colors that you want. The sky is the limit.
And ultimately, if all else fails, you can even switch out the interior design style with another one if you don’t feel like that one you’ve chosen initially fits your listing. The best thing of all? All of this can be achieved from the comfort of your home in a matter of minutes.
5. High Photo-Realism
There is a common misconception that virtual staging looks fake and that it’s easily recognized as such. However, 3D modeling and rendering technology has come a long way, and nowadays, identifying whether the furniture is virtually staged or not can escape even the most experienced eye.
In order to keep the standard of our work high and make sure that all of our staged photos look photorealistic and true to the realtor’s expectations, our team of skilled 3D stagers always makes sure that all of these steps are followed:
- We only use 3D models of the highest quality. Low-quality models of furniture and decor are easily detectable as they appear artificial. In contrast, the high-quality ones fit in seamlessly with the rest of the elements in the photo.
- Another important aspect of staging photorealistic furniture is paying attention to the scale and proportions of the furniture and making sure that those are appropriate for the size of the room.
- The next step is setting up correct camera angles and lighting so it’s consistent with the original photo. In doing so, the furniture and decor rendered will look natural in the space.
- Post-processing may be the last step, but it’s equally important for the finished product. Once the image is rendered, our team of professionals makes the final tweaks and improvements. Those finishing touches may include some retouching or adding realistic shadows to the furniture.
6. Is Virtual Staging Deceptive?
Some real estate agents might feel that the practice is deceptive and that the clients will be disappointed when they see a vacant property after seeing the virtually staged photos. That’s why managing your clients’ expectations is so important. They should be prepared that the home they are about to see is either vacant or sparsely furnished and that the photos are virtually staged. A well-placed disclaimer should take care of both of those things.
In fact, seeing a vacant property after seeing what it would look like staged could be the best of both worlds. It will allow the prospective buyers to really experience the space and imagine their future in that home. They can envision their décor in the space while pulling inspiration from the staged photos. And since the property is vacant, there is nothing to distract them from properly reviewing the house.
Virtual Staging Services
Having gone through all the concrete benefits of virtual staging, it’s high time we talked about some of the virtual staging services we offer here at VS24 that can help you capture your share of the market more effectively:
- Virtual staging enables you to customize any space you want by choosing between 8 different interior design styles (Modern, Coastal, Transitional, Farmhouse, Rustic, Scandinavian, Traditional, and Urban Industrial)
- Furniture removal service allows you to get rid of unwanted or outdated items or furniture that don’t fit your vision for the space. It doesn’t matter if the items are too bulky to remove, or you want to declutter the area; it can all be done by using this service.
- Image enhancement turns your property photos taken by a smartphone into professionally taken ones. We do this by correcting the photos’ brightness and contrast ratios, straightening the image, adjusting the white balance in the image to capture the perfect lighting, enhancing the lawn, and adding blue skies into the background to create perfect exterior shots. We can even “turn on” the TV by adding an ideal image to a blank TV screen or “light” the fire in your fireplace to create a cozier effect.
- Wall/Floor color or texture changes can really help your listing’s online standing when existing wall and floor textures are outdated and might put off the specific buyer demographic you are trying to target. In cases like these, you can request that we change it into something more attractive to your target audience. It’s always recommended to show the property’s full potential to those clients looking for properties to renovate. However, when using these services, it is essential to disclose all changes made to permanent parts of the house in order to avoid misrepresenting the actual condition of the home you are trying to sell.
- Altered sky backgrounds can make a massive difference in the mood that a photo conveys. Sometimes the exterior shots of the property look a bit bland and fall short of capturing the home buyer’s imagination. But sprinkling in a bit of romance with twilight in the backdrop of the house might just be what you are looking for. Everything looks better bathed in sunset light.
- 360-degree virtual tours are one of the hottest trends in real estate, primarily because they are so interactive. With virtual tours, the prospective buyers can view the property at their own pace according to what interests them. They can come back to explore specific areas of the house from different angles and points of entry.
The real estate market has shown surprising resilience in light of the pandemic and has continued to grow and become more and more competitive. The market is still going strong, and there are no indications that the current situation will change soon. But in order to stay ahead of the curve, having a strong online presence and keeping up with the technology is essential. Just look at some of the data compiled by Redfin that says that 35% of the home buyers surveyed in 2017 were bidding on houses sight-unseen. This charge is led by Millennials, who are about three times as likely to do this than Baby Boomers.
With such a significant portion of home buyers coming from online channels, can you really afford not to cater to them? You should make the new technology work for you by allowing you to capture a more significant portion of the market. And the real estate market of today is more heavily dependent on stimulating visual queues from our smart devices than ever before.
If you want to learn more about our services and what they can do for your business, you can call us at (206) 350-7201 or write to us at email@example.com.
Check out the recent Redfin article we were featured in:
Choosing an apartment is a big decision for renters, and you want your listing to create those feelings of “home” once they tour it. But when faced with the additional challenge of less space, figuring out how to best utilize the available square footage can be daunting. What may seem like the ideal setup in a cozy loft in New York, may not necessarily work in a 400-square-foot Chicago apartment.
To provide a little extra guidance, Redfin reached out to us and other staging professionals to share our best apartment staging tips to highlight its full potential. Keep reading for their tips and tricks to help your listing stand out from the rest.
Read the full article here: Essential Apartment Staging Tips & Tricks You Need to Know, According to the Pros | Redfin