You are likely familiar with the importance of home staging. If not, this data from The National Association of RealtorsⓇ Home Staging Profile should jog your memory.
Here are some of the more important home staging statistics:
49% of buyer’s agents stated that staging has an effect on most buyer’s view of the home.
77% said staging made it easier for their client to visualize the property as their future home.
39% of seller’s agents stated it greatly decreases the amount of time the home stays on the market.
Now let’s be clear, staging a home alone will not sell it, and for more information regarding that you should read this fantastic post by Bill Gasset of Maximum Real Estate Exposure.
In a nutshell, you want to make sure your most important and impactful marketing strategies are seen to first.
But, there are some clear and obvious benefits to staging a home.
Generally, the issue isn’t whether or not you should do it, but whether or not you can afford it. That’s all set to change thanks to a few enterprising individuals.
You can now stage a home “virtually” at a fraction of the cost to traditional home staging.
There are a few drawbacks of course, but this could be a huge boon for agents strapped on time or cash.
One drawback is the lack of transparency in some cases.Realtor Mag states that you need to clarify whether or not the listing has been virtually staged. As you can imagine, would-be buyers could be caught off-guard if you don’t make this abundantly clear.
However, it’s certainly plausible the pros outweigh the cons. If you’re a budding real estate agent, or merely looking to save time, it’s not hard to see where the allure for virtual home staging services comes from.
So, is it worth it? Read on to find out.
Staging the “Old Fashioned” Way
You see, regular home staging is not only expensive but time-intensive. The prices can vary just as wildly too.
According to First Impressions- a leading traditional home staging company - a typical home can take anywhere from one day to one week for staging.
A few rooms could be measured in hours, but you can imagine how much this might change depending on the price and size of your listing.
However, this doesn’t include consultation time or transit time, which are a couple items that could add much more to that timeline.
Kiplinger says you can expect to pay an average of $1,800 to stage a home. However, the range falls between a couple hundred and tens of thousands of dollars.
It should be noted that traditional home staging can’t be beat in-person. The feeling a potential homeowner gets when walking into a perfectly staged room is something that cannot be replaced by virtual means - although, companies likeRealTView are getting us closer with their virtual home tours.
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The Ease of Virtual Home Staging
The virtual home staging process is rather straightforward. Most programs require you take a few photos and then upload them to the software of your choice.
Depending on the app, you may need to wait a few days. Some companies will physically alter the photos themselves, with the intent of creating as realistic an image as possible. Of course, there is the added benefit of being able to pick and choose the decor to suit your clientele.
Then there are virtual home stagers who will merely run it through their software and allow you to edit the photos on your own accord - choosing from a list of prebuilt furnitures and styles.
It’s certainly the most economical option thus far, with photos working out to about $15 a pop’.
Just keep in mind that “erasing” furniture already in the image is going to cost you a premium. If the room is vacant you can expect to pay a little less.
There is also the added benefit of showcasing multiple styles to a potential client.
Take a look at some of the astonishing results from Virtual Home Staging Solutions below.
Virtual Home Staging Provider Roundup
So, do you want to start implementing virtual home staging into your marketing strategy?
If so, then read on for a list of the best home staging software programs available.
Keep in mind, we are not affiliated with these companies in any way. Nor will we receive affiliate income if you decide to download their app. You can be sure our roundup is honest and unbiased this way!
Virtual Staging Solutions physically alters your images using a team of expert graphic designers.
Your photos aren’t simply run through a single application, instead they are worked on by real people using multiple graphics programs.
Their work results in the greatest quality photos, but they also sit at the higher end of the virtual staging price range.
You start by sending them your “before” photos (in the correct format), and within a few days you get an email with your brand new “after” images.
The company states that most orders are completed within 2 business days. If furniture removal is needed you can expect a 3-5 day timeline, while floor plan visualizations can take up to 14 days.
Virtual Staging & Rendering Group provides virtual staging, furniture replacement, 3D architectural rendering, & 3D floor plans.
They work similarly to the other digital home stagers in that you upload a photo and let them get to work.
Pricing runs you close to the mid-range for virtual stagers - expect to pay between $50 - $70 per photo for staging and $70 - $90 a photo for furniture replacement.
Additionally, you can add a “rush” to your order for an additional $40 per photo; which is a nice option to have.
A team of designers and 3D modelers fill the rosters at Padstyler.
Prices start at $59 an image and you can expect a 2-day turnaround. One of their most interesting services is the “virtual renovation” which I’m certain will come in handy for a contractor or two.
Padstyler offers a 100% money back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied with their work, but be sure to read the terms first.
You can view their past work here.
Virtually Staging Properties is one of the pioneers in virtual home staging services.
There is solid credibility behind them since their features on some major media outlets - they’ve been covered by CNBC, Fox News, The New York Times, and The Today Show to name a few.
Their prices again make the middle of the pack at roughly $85 per photo and decreasing as order quantity increases. Average turnaround time is 2 days but can depend on their backlog at the time of purchase.
With Virtually Staging Properties you should use a vacant home, as they do not make any changes to the underlying property.
As the most affordable on this list, Visual Stager might be the only option for some folks. Their business is unique in that most of the photo editing is performed by you.
Here’s how this DIY virtual staging app works:
First, you upload your image as per usual.
Second, you choose whether or not to purchase their furniture removal service.
Finally, you select from 3,000 items of furniture, then simply drag & drop them onto your image.
Visual Stager works on a credit-based payment system, but they’re definitely the least expensive at roughly $15 or less for each image. Purchasing credits can get confusing so make sure you keep track of your actual spend.
If you have a flair for creativity, or just want to save a buck, this one might be your best option.
At the end of the day, nothing can beat traditional home staging in an open-house environment.
But that shouldn’t automatically make it your go-to...
You need to choose based on your own circumstances, and the market you serve. An average client base over the age of 55 might not see the same level of appeal as a group of predominantly 35 year olds.
Having said that, some homes warrant both traditional and virtual staging methods. Physical staging is necessary for an incredibly expensive listing, but adding a digital layer can prove useful for previewing multiple styles - catering to all sorts of potential homebuyers.
For further reading check out: Virtual Staging: How to Take the Hassle Out of Staging a House for Sale by Dan Barcelon