There are several new ways to impress homebuyers and make your listing stand out. One of the hottest tactics agents are tapping into is virtual staging.
Virtual staging is a great tool that allows you to digitally stage a home by choosing furniture, décor and even a new wall color and modifying professional listing photos. Unlike traditional staging, virtual staging makes a great first impression at a fraction of the cost. In fact, according to the Real Estate Staging Association, staged homes spend 73% less time on the market than non-staged home.
Practitioners have been hesitant in the past to use virtual staging solutions because the images looked computer-generated (similar to the virtual world of Second Life). But a new generation of these services allows you to create realistic images using photographs of actual furniture.
While there will always be strong demand for traditional home staging, this virtual technology is an affordable solution for cash-strapped sellers.
The idea of virtual staging is not to deceive prospects but rather to help them envision what the house could look like and how each space could be used.
Agents should be transparent about the images and explain that they are computer generated. In other words, where virtually staged photos appear, include a comment or comments in a readily and reasonably apparent manner that the property has been virtually staged and is actually vacant (or furnished differently), advises REALTOR® magazine’s ethics columnist Bruce Aydt. Otherwise, you risk violating Article 12 of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, which requires that your marketing paint a "true picture."
As long as you set the expectations for prospective buyers they won’t be surprised to walk into an unfurnished home.