Jim Gross Albuquerque real estate photographySubscribe: Marketing Homes Blog
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Email: jim@stagingpads.com
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Like many new technologies that get press there are always skeptics in the arena. Virtual staging is one such technology that will be a game changer in the real estate world.

It was initially designed to help marketing of new residential and commercial builders. Some of the current companies have developed services that are not really designed to stay within contractual agreements of residential home sales. As an example, you cannot really use virtual staging to show window coverings, wall colors or flooring that is different from what the buyer will receive.

In my research of about a dozen companies I could find online about half state they do not make changes to items buyers expect to see unchanged. Some even watermark stamp the pictures to let viewers know they are looking at a digitally staged photo. Companies that have been around the 7-8 years the industry seem to get this key philosophy.

As a real estate photographer and realtor I am on both sides of the fence. It is very clear to me that if people start complaining to the MLS or local real estate commissions that the images are misleading the MLS’s will start one-by-one not accepting ANY photographs that have been altered in any way. That may include virtually staged. So, it is vital that virtual staging not be misleading.

This means that agents just coming into virtual staging need to be diligent in not using services for their new listings that include changing colors, flooring or retouching landscaping. In most areas window coverings convey as well, so should not be added. The times to use these services are for new home builders that can offer the changes shown or once the sale has closed to give the buyer ideas in case they want to make changes to their newly purchased home.

So what does that leave to add? Plenty! Go to companies such as Staging Pads and look what furniture, pictures and plants will do to any empty room. It is amazing and several virtual tour companies have started developing statistics about how many more showings these virtually staged homes can get.

Lastly, always let buyers know that pictures are virtually staged to show them what the property can look like. This will keep buyers and sellers delighted with what virtual staging offers… which in-turn will keep the MLS’s positive about virtually staged photos.