We’ve talked before about the importance of staging your home for a quick sale at the price you want. According to the National Association of Realtors, 77% of agents say that home staging allows buyers to visualize a home as their own. There is, however, a fairly new aspect to staging that we haven’t touched on before – and that is “virtual staging.” As of 2016, 44% of home buyers reported looking for properties online first. So let’s see how you can use virtual staging to impress home buyers in Martinsburg and Hagerstown.
What Virtual Staging Is
The goal of virtual staging is the same as that of traditional staging – to showcase a home’s best features and present them in the most appealing way to buyers, thus displaying the home to best advantage and in a way that is attractive to buyers. The difference consists in the fact that virtual staging is done on a computer by means of photo manipulation rather than in a room where physical objects are moved around.
Another difference is in the cost. Traditional staging can cost several hundred dollars and often with an ongoing per-month charge for adjustments till your house sells. Virtual staging, on the other hand, costs much less, usually between $40 and $200 per room. In short, virtual staging is more cost-effective for sellers.
Professional virtual stagers start with a photo of an empty room. Then, they digitally insert and arrange all the furniture, rugs, plants, pictures, and décor – doing it all on a computer using high-resolution photos. No one has to come into your home and move all your stuff around, and you don’t have to buy a bunch of new stuff for the stager to arrange.
Homes Best Suited for Virtual Staging
Obviously, then, certain homes are better suited for virtual staging to impress home buyers in Martinsburg and Hagerstown. It works best for homes with a lot of outdated furniture, homes still occupied by tenants (which permits little control over appearance), and vacant homes. Traditional staging may be the better option if you’re still living in your home, have plenty of newer, up-to-date furnishings, and staging to make it look appealing will be easy to do. But even in this case, virtual staging may be appropriate for certain rooms.
How to Do Virtual Staging
So just how do you go about doing virtual staging to impress home buyers in Martinsburg and Hagerstown? The first step is to locate a company that specializes in virtual staging and then create an account with them. Then you just upload quality photos of the empty (preferably) rooms you want to stage to the company’s website and let them do the rest. The company’s designers will then digitally add all the necessary furnishings – tables, chairs, couches, lamps, beds, artwork, and so on – to bring your home to life and make it appealing. After that, the company sends you the files containing images of the finished rooms, which you can post on your website, the various listing sites, and/or the MLS.
While increasing numbers of buyers and sellers are embracing virtual staging, you do have to be upfront about it. Wherever you list your home, you have to disclose the fact that it has been virtually staged. You wouldn’t want a potential buyer walking into your empty home when she expected rooms full of beautiful furniture.
Use an Agent with Staging Expertise
Does virtual staging work? You bet it does – but it’s far from a DIY project. The most difficult part of virtual staging lies in finding an experienced, reputable company. Your real estate agent can point you in the right direction.