Is virtually staging your client’s home worth it? Absolutely! That is, if you want to sell it for more money.
According to its 2021 Profile of Home Staging, the National Association of REALTORS® reported:
- 23% of both buyers’ and sellers’ agents said that home staging increases the offer price up to 5%, compared to similar homes that aren’t staged.1
- Eighty-two percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.1
- Staging the living room was found to be very important for buyers (46%), followed by staging the master bedroom (43%), and staging the kitchen (35%).1
With the ease, significantly lower expense (the median cost of a “real” staging service is $1,5002 compared to an average $240 virtual staging order) and speed of virtually staging a home, it’s no surprise that virtual staging is one of the hottest real estate marketing trends.
If you’re not a professional photographer, designer, or you just don’t want to risk throwing your back out staging a client’s home yourself, here are five fast virtual staging tips to use when marketing your client’s home. (Note: MLS rules on virtually staged homes and images vary from state to state, so check to be sure you can use them in yours.)
1. Choose the right services to virtually enhance the property. While there are lots of virtual staging apps for the DIYer, if you’re not a professional architecture photographer, digital editing whiz, or don’t have the time to learn yet another piece of software, you may be better off paying to have the pros do it. While some virtual staging companies boast pricing from $10 or less, the average is about $25 per image, depending on the services used to create it.
Virtual staging companies vary in price based on the digital imaging services they provide. Services provided may include simple image enhancement, day-to-dusk edits (popular for exteriors), item removal (a service you may need if listing an occupied and/or furnished home) and virtual staging, to full-blown floor plan redraws, 360o virtual tours and virtual renovations and renderings.
When comparing companies, consider:
- How does their fee structure work? Do you pay by photo? By service? Type of project? How many revisions are included?
- How fast is the turnaround?
- How large is their inventory of images? Do they use photos of real furniture or are all images created digitally?
- Do they have designers on staff with professional staging experience?
2. Keep it real. Be upfront and ethical about virtual staging. The goal is to show a home at its best so potential buyers can visualize it as their own. It is NOT a tool to try and trick buyers by putting lipstick on a pig.
Virtual staging should only involve the placement (or removal) of furnishings and accents into photos. It is unethical to use it to try and hide flaws like cracks in the wall or a stained ceiling, or to digitally remove eyesores like broken fencing or utility boxes in the yard.
Clearly disclose that the images have been virtually staged in your listing description, as well as in the images themselves. States may legally require disclosure of virtual staging, so be sure to check the laws in your state.
3. Show buyers options for a space. You can attract a variety of buyers depending on how you stage a home’s space. Does a second bedroom always have to be a bedroom? Stage it to attract buyers who could use it as a home office or gym, zen yoga studio or a library/media room. Appeal to more buyers by staging areas like the master bath and outdoor spaces, too.
4. Use before-and-after photos. Give buyers an idea of what their new hoe could look like using before-and-after pictures. Be sure the “before” images you upload show rooms that are well lit, clean and uncluttered. Clearly note on the “after” photos that they have been virtually staged.
5. Don’t overdo it. Keep it simple. With virtual staging, the possibilities can literally be almost endless, depending on the inventory of a staging service’s available images. Be sure your staged images aren’t focused on a piece of furniture or decor. You just want to give buyers an idea of how the bare bones of a space can be enhanced. Don’t add any fixtures, such as window treatments, that would be expected to convey with the sale of the home. avoid using higher-end styles and furniture shots in lower-end properties. (Remember, keep it real.)
Do you have a client who wants to skip staging and listing their home altogether? We can help! Get them a quick cash offer from Offerpad in 24 hours (and a 3% commission for you!), so both of you can do less real estat-ing and more living.