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You may have heard a new term in real estate called Virtual Staging. Actually the industry has been around since about 2005. Like many tech related industries, virtual staging was created well ahead of its time.
So what is virtual staging? Simply put, it’s taking a digital image generally of a room and adding furniture, pictures and other items to give the room a “staged” look. For many years home staging has been the way to sell real estate. But not all sellers have the budget to fill their home with tasteful furniture. Many have moved on leaving their home vacant or have furniture that makes their home look cluttered. Some virtual staging replaces existing furniture in a picture.
Virtual Staging is not as easy as “photoshopping” everything in place. As a matter of fact, traditional editing software is one of the last places we go to move furniture within a picture. It involves 3D furniture which can easily spin 360 degrees. Shadows are added. Lighting and exposure is compensated for. The depth of a photo is a major factor in resizing furniture. Adjoining rooms are considered as well. Generally in a room furniture is larger the closer you are to it, so to give the image a realistic look the furniture has be the correct size within the composition.
Who is best suited to do virtual staging? People with an extensive home staging background that are experts in computer graphics editing would do well. Real estate photographers generally follow good principles such as keeping lines straight and controlling lighting. This is most important as a poor picture will not work well for virtual staging. You should always contact a virtual staging company first with your images before submitting them for staging as they will give you the best advice for the photos. Also, having a real estate background is vital to owning a virtual staging company. Some online sites advertise replacing things that convey such as flooring, window coverings and landscaping. While this will work for new home builders it will lead to serious issues with the MLS and buyers looking for a realistic peek at how furnishings can make this home look. Deeper changes have no place in the MLS photos or virtual tour.
It’s only over the last few years that the quality of the images have become important to a vast section of the real estate community. That’s because over 90% of buyers are online screening one of dozens of popular real estate search engines. Pictures are the first (and last thing) they often see looking at a potential property. So if you are considering virtual staging, you will save about 90% on the cost of traditional home staging. Know your limits on what should be staged and work with them on getting great photos with a wide-angle lens that will show multiple walls for quality staging. Staging Pads has home stagers, licensed realtors and real estate photographers on our team to help you with your project. Check out our Virtual Staging Sampler.