So peeps! You have probably seen a lot of beautifully staged condos and homes online. Some are perfectly staged where you have to look to check if the furniture is real, and some are very poorly done with outdated furniture and décor.
If you are wondering what virtual staging is, here it is. It is when digital technologies, such as computer-generated images or virtual reality, are used to enhance or create visual representations of a space, typically in real estate. When you click on the online photos of different rooms in a property for sale, you will see furniture, decor, and accessories which are not actually in the property, only on the online photos, No one physically placed them in the space. This technique often showcases a property’s potential to buyers or renters. Many companies also use it to showcase what they are selling like a kitchen company might add fruit, bar stools, kitchen table and counter accessories to highlight their cabinets.
The pros of virtual staging are of course, the price. It is a lot cheaper than actual staging which involves the rental of furniture and decor items. All the staging can easily be done in a couple of hours online so there is no physical moving of furniture and can be done immediately. So no hiring of movers making the process easier and if you don’t like the look of the virtually staged room, it can be changed with the push of a button.
The technology has improved incredibly over the last five years. Now many realtors and some photographers are doing their own virtual home staging.
When a Montreal home has one of those narrow staircases which would not fit a king-size headboard, virtual staging allows the click of a button and a king-size bed will be in the room in seconds. Deceiving to me. We had the opportunity to experience this first-hand. We were so glad to be able to find another way to get the king-size headboard up to the bedroom floor. The bedroom upstairs needed a king-size bed. Box springs and mattresses are not something we put in staged homes and since this was a property over 1 million dollars, we had to show that this size bed would fit.
We worked on staging a small bungalow on the West Island of Montreal. The realtor called us because he had listed his virtually staged vacant home but it was not selling. Buyers were coming in with their cell phones open to his property. The virtual stager had placed 8 chairs in his dining room photo which buyers said would never fit. They were right! I had to put a really small dining table in with 6 narrow chairs to even get 6 in the space. Pretty deceiving. The buyers walked up to the bedrooms and said those large online beds would not fit. The realtor had put masking tape on the floor, outlining where each bed would go and fit. All to say, we were called in to fix the disappointments buyers had when they walked through the door. Buyers are expecting the look of the online photos to be the look they experience when they walk through the door.
I know there are ethical concerns with virtual home staging. In a way, it is deceiving the buyer in making a space showcase furniture which might never fit in the space. Some realtors have been worried about that and are showing both the empty rooms online with the virtually staged room. Buyers have to do their homework and measure a space and ignore the photos.
I once google image searched a virtually staged photo and found the same photo was appearing in different online properties. So whoever was creating the virtual photo was using it randomly or a realtor loaded it themselves. I don’t know how it got on online listings. This shows that the actual room dimensions never go into the equation.
Remember if a property that has been virtually staged doesn’t sell, it can have several potential effects on the seller. Firstly, there might be disappointment and frustration if the virtual staging raised expectations that the actual property couldn’t meet. The discrepancy between the digitally enhanced images and the real-life condition of the property could lead to buyer dissatisfaction. The buyer never made an emotional connection to the home when they walked in because it was empty.
Also, the lack of a sale may also extend the selling process, resulting in the property staying on the market for a prolonged period. This can lead to additional carrying costs for the seller, including mortgage payments, property taxes, and maintenance expenses. It may also necessitate price reductions to make the property more competitive in the market.
So virtual staging can be an attractive and reasonably priced alternative, just remember that all the buyers who walked in would not have the same connection with your home because it is empty when they arrive. They need to envision themselves living in your home, using your kitchen and relaxing in your living room. If they walk in and none of that homey atmosphere is there, your chances go down in receiving an offer. You start to lose those first buyers which are crucial when listing a property.