The best way to sell your home is to make your home look as attractive as possible to the greatest number of potential buyers. The internet has almost relegated the days of open houses and colorful brochures to nothing more than historical footnotes.
Most buyers begin their search for a new house on one of the several real estate websites (Realtor.com, Zillow, MLS #, etc.). Once a few promising properties have been identified, many buyers will learn about property records to get additional background information on these properties.
Getting your home “internet-ready” and properly showcasing it is the key to generating buyer interest. Many real estate companies have turned to a new marketing method called ‘virtual staging’. This type of staging works well for empty houses, unusually sized properties/spaces (lofts or vaulted ceilings, for example), houses that need minor/major repairs and for houses still stuck in a decorative time-warp (avocado-green shag carpets, anyone?).
Virtual staging is a process that utilizes computer software to create or update the look and décor of a room. In doing so, it helps create a connection between a potential buyer and the property.
For the distressed or out of date home, virtual staging can offer a glimpse of the home’s potential to buyers who don’t mind a little sweat equity. For a loft, virtual staging shows possible furniture placement or how the space could be divided to maximize its utility.
Virtual staging is a cost-effective alternative to traditional staging—which involves physically moving furniture in and out of the property and taking the pictures yourself or hiring a photographer and needing to coordinate your agent, the stager and the photographer. With virtual staging, you save the cost of both at professional stager and perhaps a photographer. Many real estate agents buy their own virtual staging software and offer that as one of their services.
Virtual staging really resonates with buyers as it allows them to connect with a property before they ever see it. However, the seller and their agent must make it perfectly clear that the pictures in the listing represent the home’s potential and that it’s not the actual property. If not, potential buyers unaware that the property has been virtually staged and choose to view the property might come away thinking the listing was a ‘bait and switch’ gimmick.
For empty properties—virtual staging could be used as a ‘before and after’ for each room. The empty room (the before) could easily be contrasted with a virtually staged ‘after’ room. These before and after shots work best for bedrooms and living spaces. It gives buyers a sense of how much space their bed will occupy, where the TV might go, how patio furniture might be arranged and so on.
Virtual staging is becoming a popular real estate marketing technique. It offers potential buyers a view of a property’s possibilities without a time-consuming and expensive traditional staging.