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Why Real Estate Investors Should Use Virtual Staging to Sell or Rent Properties

Sep 09, 2020 by Barbara Zito

Are you tempted to skip out on staging a property because of the cost and time involved? Then it's time for you to consider virtual staging. According to a report by the National Association of Realtors, 40% of buyers' agents said a staged property was effective in helping potential buyers envision themselves in the space. What's more is that one in four agents surveyed said a staged home resulted in a 1% to 5% increase in the sales price.

Actual staging can be pricey, though there are ways to stage a home on a budget. But aside from the money, traditional staging can also be time consuming. However, with virtual staging, you no longer have to worry about furniture removal after the staging is done -- not to mention virtual furnishings is a lot cheaper than real furniture and decor. Keeping things neat and dust-free is a thing of the past, too, as a virtually staged photo will organize and transform a room into a design masterpiece and preserve it forever.

Why use virtual staging?

While the pandemic has pushed many real estate agents to virtual showings, virtual staging was already a proven alternative to traditional staging. And there's good reason to believe that it will stick around for the long term. Here's some reasons you should consider using virtual staging tools like apps or staging software for your properties:

  • It's easy to use. Yes, there are companies that will virtually stage photos for you. But as with many things these days, there's an app for that, too. If you're not a tech wizard or an interior designer, virtual staging isn't a deal breaker for you. As long as you can swipe and touch a screen or click and drag with a mouse, you can create a virtually staged image of any room in your vacant property. (Keep reading for some virtual staging solutions.)
  • It's cost-effective. Considering you have to pay each and every time you have a room staged in real life, this is a steal. Even if you go with a premium virtual staging service that also does 3D tours of a property, you'll likely be able to stage multiple rooms for the price of one; choose a DIY virtual staging app and you'll be able to stage multiple properties.
  • You have more flexibility. You don't have to stage an entire house to reap the benefits of virtual staging. You can pick and choose rooms you'd like to highlight in an online listing and stage those. The best part? Virtually stage a room once, keep the picture for as long as you need it. This is especially a great thing for rental property owners. You can set up a virtual model unit instead of giving up the rental income when you keep one empty in your building. It's also great for landlords with smaller portfolios: You'll actually be able to have a property ready for "viewing" at all times, even if there's a tenant in the place.

And here's the real kicker when it comes to virtual staging: You don't have to have an empty room or house to do it. Many virtual stagers have the ability to digitally remove existing furnishings and decor -- even flooring -- and replace it with a virtual counterpart.

The best virtual home-staging solutions

Whether you send off photos to a professional staging team or have a go as a virtual stager yourself with easy-to-use virtual staging software, you owe it to yourself as a real estate investor to give virtual staging a try. Here are some questions to ask when choosing the right solution for your properties:

  • What's the price per staged photo?
  • Are there discounts for multiple rooms/properties?
  • What is the turnaround time to receive the staged photos?
  • Do I have the option to revise photos, or will I be charged extra?

There are many virtual staging options out there at different price points. Here are some options to get you started on your search for the best one for your needs (prices were current as of the writing of this article).

Company/App Type of Service Price What They Offer
Box Brownie Professional design team $32/photo
  • 48-hour turnaround time
  • Floorplan redrawingImage enhancement
  • Also offers copywriting
  • 360-degree virtual home tours
  • Home Jab Professional design team $79/photo
  • Customizable templates so you can view room designs at a glance
  • Offers a host of other services, including photo shoots (U.S. properties only) and aerial video
  • IBD Luxury Home Staging Professional design team $119 and up/photo
  • Founded by Ilaria Barion, a luxury home stager
  • High-end designs
  • Virtual photo replacement
  • Virtual landscaping
  • Architectural rendering
  • Real Tour Vision DIY and professional design team $15/photo (DIY)$35/photo (professional)
  • Discounts for DIY photos
  • Can remove existing furniture to add virtual decor
  • RoOmy DIY (iOS app) Tiered discounts:4 photos/$4156 photos/$5899 photos/$835
  • Choose your design style
  • 3D design and augmented reality options
  • Virtual Staging Lab Professional design team $40/empty room$60/room modeling
  • Free consultations
  • 24/7 technical support
  • Turnaround time: 2 business days
  • Virtual Staging Solutions Professional design team 4 photos/$300(discounts for 5 or more)
  • Turnaround time: 1-2 business days
  • Rush service available for additional fee
  • Choose from predesigned options or the team will design for you
  • 2 free revisions
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Visual Stager DIY 10 credits/photo$15/10 credits (discounts for more credits)
  • Can erase current decor; you choose from 4,000+ furniture options to replace
  • Share photos easily as JPG
  • VRX Staging Professional design team $35/photo
  • Receive photos the next business day
  • 1 free photo revision; $5 for each additional revision
  • Photo shoots available (U.S. properties only)
  • Considerations in the age of COVID

    As we slowly gravitate towards in-person gatherings and real estate open houses once again after the long months of lockdown, virtual staging is a tool you'll want to keep at hand. With the trend of buyers snapping up properties sight unseen, it is quite possible that your next potential buyer will be viewing your property from afar. Virtual staging will enhance your online listings to capture more home seekers.

    With virtual staging, there's virtually no more excuses for showing an empty floor plan in a property. Even on the tightest of budgets, you can choose a few key rooms to stage -- the living room, dining room, and master bedroom would all be good choices -- and give buyers a glimpse of life to come in your home. You could even stage outdoor spaces, which will be a hit with home buyers looking to expand their living space as they stay home more to comply with social distancing.

    The bottom line

    You know well that staged properties tend to sell faster and for higher prices. If time and budget kept you away from traditional home staging in the past, virtual staging sites and apps will make your life much easier.

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