Contact: (800) 894-7033
Virtual Staging has been around since about 2005 and has gone through alot of development since its inception.
Initially, it was model cad/cam computer systems to help in the development of business products such as dentistry. As computers started being able to manipulate furniture 2d and 3d models of furniture started coming on the scene. For many years they were not realistic enough to be used in real estate. But smart entrepreneurs soon realized they could photograph multiple views of a piece of furniture and software could complete it for a 360 degree realistic turn. It became a viable product for home staging. Still only a handful of companies had the software to manipulate furniture into an image. That is all starting to change in 2014 as several companies are developing end user software.
So then if it will soon be available to everyone what’s the risk? Simple, software developers that create this technology are not real estate agents, and rarely if ever consult with realtors® about what can and cannot be used in the MLS and marketing materials. Several online virtual staging companies have created software that could potentially cause an agent to be misleading in their marketing.
Examples of this are changing anything that conveys with the house. While it is not uncommon for a seller to take their furniture during the listing period leaving pictures up on the MLS that show the furniture, buyers know it does not convey. But if you have digitally changed flooring type, window coverings, landscaping, wall colors or anything else that conveys with the house, that would be considered misleading.
The bottom line is for agents not to violate Article 12 of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, which requires that your marketing paint a “true picture.” Misleading pictures are those that change what a buyer would expect their home to look like at time of possession.
So a few simple rules will help buyers see the potential of a home through the eyes of your virtually staged image.
1. Always disclose in the MLS comments section that some of the images have been virtually staged and that the home is vacant.
2. Never use staging to change, alter or improve anything that will convey in the property. Also do not use staging to hide flaws such as stains or chips.
3. Some folks go so far as to have a small disclaimer on the photo that says “virtually staged” or similar disclosures. We are not doing that yet at Staging Pads at the time of this blog, but may adopt this policy at some future point.
4. In our opinion poorly photographed images can be very misleading without any help from photo editing… consult with a real estate photographer to make your photo as high quality and realistic as possible.
5. In a virtual tour, it is both prudent and helpful to the buyer to show first the unstaged picture followed by the staged image.
So in closing, stay true to the bones of the home when staging, disclose on your MLS and let the buyers see and appreciate what you are doing to help them envision the potential of a home.
If you have any questions you can reach us at the number above or visit Staging Pads Site at Marketing Homes Online.