Virtual Home Staging – A New Way to Sell Homes

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Each year we write a report on home staging, how much it costs, what kind of ROI to expect when you hire a professional stager, and more. We’re turning our attention to virtual staging now, a newer way to sell a home that’s quickly growing in popularity. Along the way, we’ll show some real life examples of virtual staging we’ve ordered for our clients (and we always provide this service – if desired and it makes sense for the home – at no extra charge). See everything we do for our home selling clients here, along with our lower than average commission charge.

While there is a bit of controversy in the staging industry about the authenticity of virtual staging, it looks like the trend may be here to stay. Many believe this new way to stage a home is especially helpful for properties on the market left vacant. We agree.

Note, if you plan to leave your home vacant while it is for sale, please check out our article, “15 Things you Must-Know Before Leaving your Home Vacant.

Virtual staging offers both sellers and buyers a number of benefits. We’re taking a look at what those are and sharing them with you here.

What is Virtual Home Staging?

Virtual Home Staging is the process of creating interior design in a graphic editor to create realistic interior images of properties for sale.

Empty Office Photo
Virtually Staged Office Photo

Virtual Home Staging is Gaining in Popularity

The National Association of Realtors has added virtual staging into its annual home staging report. Basically they survey a number of buyers agents across the country a series of home staging questions and compile the results. We’ll keep tracking the annual results here if you want to bookmark this page.

How Important to Add to a Listing for Sale?CrucialVery ImportantImportantMinor DetailNot important
Virtual Staging – 2023 Report5%13%31%39%12%
Physical Staging – 2023 Report25%33%29%9%3%

Advantages of Virtual Staging

Consider the advantage of virtual staging below and see if it’s right for you.

  • It makes it easier for potential buyers to see themselves in the home. Some rooms are simply bland or boring without furniture and decor to liven up the space and show its potential use and charm.
  • It helps define usable space that might otherwise go unnoticed or be diminished by the current owner’s belongings or lack thereof. Not every homeowner is making the best possible use out of every room.
  • It can help the buyer get excited and be more likely to book a tour. Shopping for a home is overwhelming and time-consuming. When the home feels empty and cold the busy home buyer is less likely to add it to their tour.
  • It’s far less invasive to sellers than traditional staging. Bring in all new sets of furniture and décor requires time, money, and a crew of people. There is a certain amount of unavoidable liability that occurs whenever a homeowner physically stages a property.
  • It’s far more cost-effective than traditional staging. The standard cost of traditional staging can range anywhere from $2K-$5K for a single-family home with additional monthly carrying costs after that. According to Bankrate.com, a good rule of thumb in estimating the cost of traditional staging is .75% of your home’s list price, with luxury homes being closer to 1-1.25%. (The local stages we use are more reasonable than this estimate.) Bankrate also say it’s possible to find a virtual stager who charges only $35 per room. In our experience, that’s not far off the mark, but it costs more than that when you use a true expert (don’t go cheap or it could end up looking terrible). See our annually updated report on Portland home staging costs here.

Disadvantages of Virtual Staging

Of course, with every advantage any new technology might offer, there can also be disadvantages. Here are a few to consider.

  • Buyers might also be turned off if they view beautiful, virtually stages photos online, then walk into an empty house. It should be made clear in the listing that the home is virtually staged. It might even be a good idea to include a few images of some of the home’s empty rooms.
  • New or novice designers can turn out poorly executed images. If it looks fake, it’s worse than if you left the home vacant. Only work with true virtual staging pros. They know how to match the décor with the style of the home and go the extra mile to make sure the photos look authentic.

The Legal Danger of Virtual Staging in Real Estate

It is an accepted practice to add in virtually staged furniture and décor. It is not an acceptable practice to make digital alterations to the home or property to make it look different than it really is. I’ve noticed a number of lawsuits spring up because of digital photo altering in real estate. Here’s some examples, digitally removing powerlines that hang over the property. Digitally repairing cracks in the driveway. Digitally upgrading or adding fixtures to the home. The list goes on. The important thing to remember is not to alter the home or property. Changing the filter or angle of the shot is accepted and normal practice, but making physical changes digitally is a dangerous practice. Be careful when using AI to generate, alter, or fix your home listing photos. The AI you’re using may not realize it is getting you into legal trouble. Put your virtual home staging photos in the hand of a true professional.

The Best Ways to use Virtual Staging as a Seller

If you decide to use a virtual home staging service, as we’ve said, take the time to thoroughly investigate before hiring someone. Be sure you’re both on the same page about how to present your home.

A few details to consider might include:

  • retaining your home’s wall and floor colors and textures
  • adding furnishings only to fill in empty spaces
  • adding deck and patio furniture if these spaces are empty
  • decluttering rooms of non-essential items
  • decluttering outdoor areas, like patios and decks
  • virtual staging can be used in combination with physical staging

Should You use Virtual Staging to Sell Your Home?

If you’re considering putting your home on the market, give us a call at 503-714-1111 or chat with the bot on our site. Our top 1% seller’s team will be in touch with you and help you sort out the details to get your house sold. We charge a 4% commission total, and we spend more to market our client’s homes than our competitors, so they sell faster and for more.

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We have worked with many Realtors over the years and Stephen is by far the best we have ever met. He's very knowledgeable and gets the job done quickly. We had multiple offers after one day, not because we were under priced but because we had maximum exposure at the appropriate price!

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