As the housing market has steadily increased over the past several years, so has buyers’ use of online tools when shopping for their home. Digital photographs account for nearly 90% of home buyers’ first interaction and research of a home, according to Zillow. This leads to the big question, what is virtual staging’s future?
Since over half of home buyers purchase a home they found online, we see virtual furniture as a “must-have” for potential buyers to visualize themselves living in a home they’re viewing. If you wonder, what is virtual staging? Then consider an empty, tenant-occupied, or unfinished remodel. Virtual staging offers you the perfect digital touch you need to really elevate a home’s appeal for a successful sale.
What is Virtual Staging?
Beautifully staged homes are appealing to home buyers because they can picture themselves in the home, not only standing in a room but living in the home. When physically staging a home isn’t feasible, what is virtual staging’s appeal? It gives the seller and their realtor the ability to take real estate photos and embed furniture, wall art, window treatments, flooring like rugs, carpet or tile, brighter paint colors, light fixtures, and welcoming décor. Using sophisticated graphics software, items are added or removed with the appropriate depth angles and lighting to give the home’s photos a nearly indistinguishable appearance from the real thing.
Pros to Virtual Staging
At a fraction of the cost to physically stage a home, the cost savings of virtual staging is a pro. What are virtual staging benefits beyond the cost? As most buyers begin their home buying process online, digital photos are how they will first interact with the home. Sellers want these to be the best they can be. These staged photographs help viewers filter out and prioritize the homes they want to visit in person. Sellers looking to reach a wider population can offer different versions of a staged room to attract a diverse audience.
But what are virtual staging benefits for empty, unfinished, or occupied homes? A large perk is that residents are not required to leave the premises for the staging design and photography. Personal items like family photos can be easily removed digitally. An empty or unfinished room can be portrayed as finished in many different styles with unlimited décor options. Empty rooms are difficult for potential buyers to visualize themselves living in a space but with the help of a virtually staged photograph to accompany them as they stand in the living room of their dreams, they’ll find it easier to connect with the space.
Cons to Virtual Staging
While there are many benefits of virtual staging for rental properties or lower-priced listings, there can be some downsides. If the home has been virtually staged in the online listing and then the home buyer walks into an empty or dreary home, they could be turned off. Potentially, finding it difficult to connect with the home and retract or delay important decisions. Similarly, to avoid confusion if the listing has a note or a watermark on the photos that the home’s been virtually staged, some homebuyers could immediately dismiss the listing assuming something’s wrong with the home.
Finally, virtually staged home pictures can look fake or even animated when old software technology or mediocre editing is used and are considered a red flag by some buyers. Even though high-tech graphics and virtual staging technologies have advanced exponentially over recent years, most buyers that have been house hunting for a while can still tell when a photo’s been digitally enhanced. They may dismiss the listing assuming they’ll be disappointed if they see it in person. When it comes down to it, if the seller has the means for professional staging services, it’s better for both sides that the home is shown in the listings as it will be purchased.
What Does This Mean for Live & In-Person Home Stagers?
Live and in-person home stagers should not be concerned about losing business because the benefits for virtual staging are minimal compared to the benefits of buyers being in a well-staged room. So what is virtual staging going to do for conventional home stagers? Virtual staging will give your skills and abilities a modern makeover enhancing your business and expanding your clientele. Homes previously thought to be a low-profit listings now have the opportunity to bring in multiple, higher offers with a virtually staged home!
Home Stager Insurance by PenEx
Whether you stage a home in the traditional fashion or dive into virtual staging, call PenEx for a quote and protect your business from serious injury and financial liabilities. With professional liability insurance for home stagers, we offer your business the protection and risk management services they need to be successful at their jobs. Call PenEx at (877) 438-7369 or enter your information in our online form for your free quote today!