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Virtual Staging and Maximizing Your Profit When Selling

Sell Your Home Anywhere in Tampa Bay Fast with Virtual Staging!

It’s convenient, fast and inexpensive – but must be professionally executed to avoid pitfalls.

For me it’s familiar to direct a show and be around creatives who make it all come together flawlessly and perfectly. Before I started in real estate, I worked in live television, and the show had to be perfect because it’s live and there are no second chances.

I take marketing a listing with the same approach. Lackluster photos and empty rooms certainly won’t get people knocking down your door, and neither will a boring description of your home. Buyers are VISUAL, and believe it or not they make buying decisions based on emotion. 

Here’s a new tool I can’t wait to tell you about!

Virtual Staging 101

Virtual reality and cyber technologies aren’t new tools just for improving product design and making video games more fun. You as a homeowner can benefit, too! A practice called “virtual staging” can dress up your house in way that it spells “home” to buyers, adding just the right amount of well-placed furniture and chic accessories.

Recently, I turned around a house in Tampa that had been stagnant on the market for 146 days with no offers. The sellers contacted me for help, and I immediately thought of virtual staging. The technique worked smashingly, and the home went under contract in just a little over two weeks. The virtually staged house inspired 19 showings. Getting people in the door is vital, because the more people through the house, the faster it will sell and for more money!

Take a look at these photos, and you’ll see why the home appealed to buyers. Virtual Staging Examples

Let me tell you more about virtual staging, because I offer any seller, on homes $250K and above, four rooms virtually staged at no charge. That’s a fabulous deal for you – the seller – because not all virtual staging software is the same. I use a company I like because of its varied and diverse selection of styles of furniture and the skill of its graphic artists. Key to the success of virtual staging is for it to look real! 

Potential Pitfalls

Virtual staging can look cheap or cheesy if not done well. First off, the photographer taking pictures of your rooms must shoot a certain way to make the staging look realistic, with attention to the necessary angles and lighting.

I don’t think many people realize the difference between a really great photographer and just a mediocre one. That is where it all starts. It’s essential to employ a top-notch photographer who knows how to shoot the scene in a way that feels livable to a buyer. Often you’ll hear the term “lifestyle shooting.” An experienced photographer will also shoot rooms differently when he or she knows that virtual staging is part of the plan.

Second comes the creative imagination, and that’s how really fine virtual staging comes in to play. When design choices are made, it’s important that the furniture styles harmonize with the angles and architecture of the house.

Make people fall in love with the home and they’re yours! 

Execution must be flawless, because if not done properly, furniture and accessories can look like they’re floating – an instant tipoff that the staging has been cyber-placed. There’s nothing wrong with cyber-placed furniture – it’s just that you don’t want to distract a potential buyer, who may stop thinking about your home if he or she becomes amused by a flawed image.

Notice the shadows on the furniture in the examples I showed above. Such shading is one of the fine details that make the staging look like an integral part of the house.

Why Stage – Virtually or Otherwise?

The key to success is to have as many people walk through the door in the least amount of time. Virtual staging not only creates a sense of urgency, but also increases the probability of a bidding war.

It would be great if buyers could walk into a home and instantly see themselves and their belongings there. In the real word, that often fails to happen. People need a little help to envision how home spaces might work for them. Too, as much as you may be in love with your design and color choices and décor, potential buyers might be turned off by your aesthetic. That’s why virtual staging embodies the best professional staging practices – furniture at a scale proportionate to the room, just the right number of accessories and finishes, arrangement that implies spaciousness, and neutral colors all around.

If a home is empty, buyers may have trouble envisioning themselves there. On the flip side, if rooms are overly cluttered, the visual takeaway can be overwhelming and imply a lot of clean-up work.

That’s why I’m a fan of virtual staging. We can take a vacant house and put furniture and artwork in it, or work with existing furniture and add or remove items. Say one room is sparse? We can dress it up.Virtual Staging Realtor Tampa

One study showed that homes that were staged sold more than five times faster compared with the average time on the market for unstaged homes. The staged homes sold in just 22 days, demonstrating that the right staging can show a property in its best light. (The study looked at 170 properties valued at from $300K to $499K.) Virtual staging can give you a competitive advantage, as one company providing the service estimates that, as of 2016, only 5% to 10% of listing images use virtual staging.

My tone here probably gives it away – I’m excited about this tactic! I love technology so it’s just natural that I am an early adopter. Before I became a Realtor, I sold hardware and software to the video industry – the software employed to edit video and create animation. I jumped on virtual staging immediately when I saw it could boost home sales for my clients!

Virtually No Down Side

Given that it costs thousands of dollars prepare a home for the market using professional stagers, turning to virtual staging is a no-brainer. Some comparisons suggest virtual staging is less than 10 percent of the cost of actual staging. That’s great news in my book, because I’m always looking for ways to tempt buyers to fall in love with your home!

Just about the only criticism of virtual staging is that buyers may be disappointed if they arrive at a property that, IRL, is not as attractive as the cyber-picture implied. But in my judgment that’s a small risk to take for all the benefits that instantly accrue. Of course, staging is not a substitute for making needed repairs or decluttering or applying new paint – something sellers always need to keep in mind, and in my experience most do.

Your home should be customized to the tastes and style preferences of your target market. Do you need the house to look modern and contemporary? Traditional? Victorian, even? If you choose the option of virtual staging, I manage the project from start to finish to make sure it looks the way it needs to. Much thought that goes into this whole process – it’s not automatic. The goal is to help buyers visualize how THEY might use the rooms and to conclude that your house is perfect for them.

Virtual staging + Creative Realtor = More Profit

List with me and get virtual staging free!

Written by Rae Catanese, Realtor

Licensed Realtor since 2002, Tampa Bay’s own Rae Catanese regularly gives expert advice and insider tips about the Tampa Bay real estate market via her blog, The Tampa Real Estate Insider. If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in the Tampa, St. Petersburg or Clearwater areas-then this blog is for you. I typically post articles once a week. To make sure you don’t miss my newest posts, you can subscribe here! Have a real estate question? Email me here!

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