REAL ESTATE KNOWLEDGE
THE PROS & CONS OF
VS VIRTUAL STAGING
READY TO STAGE YOUR HOME, APARTMENT
OR OFFICE AND PUT IT UP FOR SALE?
Take advantage of professional staging solutions to bring your space to life, entice buyers and get a better asking price. But should you physically stage or virtually stage? what are the differences and costs?
BEAUTIFUL HOME PRESENTATION
This is a seller’s market, and everybody’s busy, from appraisers to agents, photographers to stagers. In such a competitive market, making your property shine, standout among others in similar markets is key to getting noticed and ultimately to sell or rent. Whether a residential home, apartment, a commercial office or retail space, highlighting your property’s best features, and showing what it SHOULD look like, is where professional staging comes in.
Over 90% of home buyers now start their search online, giving them unprecedented access to a large selection of properties and search abilities. Furthermore, 81% of those buyers agree that staging makes it easier to visualize the property as their own, and helps to drive their purchase decision.
HOW IS STAGING DONE?
Home or office staging takes an empty space, and adds furniture, decorations, accessories, art and even appliances to give the ready-to-live-in impression and help a buyer see the true potential of the space, rather than showing an empty space, or one with outdated furnishings. A good staging makes the space more inviting, larger, warmer and increases the perceived value of your property.
TRADITIONAL STAGING VS VIRTUAL STAGING: PROS AND CONS
TRADITIONAL / PHYSICAL STAGING
Real / Physical / Traditional Staging which involves bringing in actual furniture and art to the space and photographing it. The staging usually remains in place for 3 months or longer if needed, and upon the sale, the stager removes the furniture to clear the space. Traditional staging has been around for a long time, and has been used for residential and commercial units. After a visit by the staging designer, an accurate estimate for the project is presented and a design plan is created to complement your space and style that will give your place a design upgrade. The ultimate target is to result in a buyer’s positive response, a quick sale and a better asking price. Photography: Once the a space is staged, it is photographed, preferably professionally to produce the best looking images to market the property.
The biggest advantage of traditional staging is that buyers can visit the property, see it fully staged and walk through it. The buyer can imagine occupying the space which increases the chance of a sale.
Experienced stagers have years or even decades of experience with a deep understanding of how to bring out the best features of your space using the right furniture, art and colors. To appeal to the type of buyers you are targeting.
Can Be Costly:
Usually done in 3-month cycles but can be extended as needed, staging projects usually begin around $3,500 and can range much higher, depending on the space requirements and staging needs.
Longer Turnaround: Although good staging companies can turnaround a staging project within a few days, it does take longer than the virtual staging counterpart. That can take even longer if any fixes or painting s needed before the property can be staged. Once the property is sold, the furniture or appliances have to be removed.
Upkeep: The staged space and furniture must be cleaned and kept look as good as it did on staging day.
VIRTUAL / DIGITAL STAGING
Virtual / Digital Staging is a newer, but rapidly growing in popularity method, which involves taking photos of the empty space and adding virtual furniture, accessories and art to the space on computer software, and producing finished-looking photos. The virtual staging results are photo realistic and look as real as traditional staging. (Show example). Older furniture, defects and even floors, ceilings and old furniture can be switched out digitally. Virtual staging offers great flexibility and freedom over changes to the space. Every room in the house can be staged, from living room to bathrooms, bedrooms to balcony, garage and back yard. Photography: A property to be staged is photographed first, and only then images are chosen for staging.
Virtual Staging can be 10% of the cost of traditional staging. Unlike traditional staging, quality virtual staging usually starts at $75/image, and discounts can be offered for blocks of images, or mages of the same room from different angles.
Virtual Staging can be done within 2-3 days time and require no hauling of furniture or art. That can be a major benefit when wanting to list a property quickly online, have images ready to email or post. At unique times, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic, not having people enter your space physically to bring in furniture is one of the reasons virtual staging has been so popular and effective.
Turn Models into Rentable Units:
A HUGE advantage for Property Management Companies n apartment buildings, is the ability to show the units staged virtually, but to rent all of them out, without having to reserve any units as model only units.
Virtual Staging offers multiple staging styles to choose from.
Easy to Change:
Changed your mind about the design of your staging? The can be especially useful when change a target market from modern to classy, or when raising the price of the property. With traditional staging that would mean undoing the work, removal of the staged furniture and bringing in new ones. In virtual staging, it is as simple as redoing the images in a different style.
Great for Digital Marketing: Virtual staging produces images that are instantly ready for the web or email, virtual walkthrough tours, sliders, banners and floorplans. 360 virtual walkthroughs of virtual staged spaces are now available and bring the best of virtual staging to the surface.
Requires Managing a Client’s Expectations:
The biggest drawback to virtual staging. Before the buyer comes to visit and tour the property, they should be told that the staging images were virtual, not real, as to manage their expectation so to not lead to disappointment when comparing the virtually staged images versus actually being there. The same point applied when fixing damages or replacing walls using virtual renovation, a section of virtual staging that involves fixing and upgrading the space before the virtual furniture is inserted. A buyer should know about damages or required fixes that do not show in the clean virtual staging shots, as to not feel fooled by the images presented by the seller.
WorkAround: To prepare a potential buyer to the fact that the staging is virtual, the buyer should be shown the staged shots AND the empty room photos.
THE BOTTOM LINE
While both traditional and virtual staging options look great, they clearly have different advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your location, budget, space and audience, you may be inclined to choose one over the other.
For smaller budgets, smaller spaces and lower cost units, virtual staging wins with a quick, cheaper, more flexible solution to property presentation.
For larger budgets, larger properties, traditional staging can lead the way by allowing buyers to visit the fully staged property.
YOU’RE NOT DONE YET!
Once you have made your choice of traditional or virtual staging option for your space, its time to make you have a solid photographer working with you to capture your space (empty for virtual staging or fully staged for traditional staging). While everybody owns smart phones, understanding angle, composition and lighting can truly make the difference in how your space is presented, and more importantly, perceived by your potential buyers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Shemza has run CAS Real Estate Solutions, for the past 23 years, serving the Los Angeles and Southern California residential and commercial real estate industries. CAS Real Estate Solutions has been a one-stop-shop for a variety of real estate services with 4 clear advantages:
1. We are a local, not virtual, Los Angeles-based company.
2. We only offer premium work. At competitive prices.
3. We offer a service called PhotoStaging™, a bundle of professional photography and Staging (either traditional staging or virtual staging), all done by the same CAS team in coordination.
4. Not a Startup: Celebrating 23 years of experience, understanding quality, with many happy customers.