To people who are not familiar with those terms, here is a simple explanation. To stage a house simply means to prepare a house for the market so that it sells faster and for more money than a comparable home that is not staged.
Traditional staging includes a variety of activities besides the usual de-cluttering, de-personalizing and neutralizing. In today’s world, a professional stager will include recommendations of cost effective repairs and updates. Paint color choices are a big part of a successful staging. Providing optimum traffic flow and effective hanging of appropriate art is also addressed. In many cases, furniture and accessories are rented for a specific time frame.
In recent years, another option has emerged. It’s called virtual staging. It’s the process of digitally altering a photo of a room to make it more appealing to buyers. With specialized software the changes could range from changing paint colors, to removing the furniture and replacing with ‘new’ furniture. It could be simply furnishing a new, vacant listing. Beautiful photos for the MLS or any online advertising is the result. This, in turn, attracts more buyers to view the property.
So which is best for you? Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.
Cons of virtual staging
- Reaction of buyers is often negative because they feel deceived that they are not seeing what was advertised.
- Even if buyers know beforehand, they do not get the emotional ‘wanna buy’ reaction as happens so often in traditional staging.
Pros of virtual staging
- Cost is much less than traditional staging.
- No movers or other people in your home which could cause damage to house.
- Can usually be done in a fairly short time frame.
- It’s a way to help buyers to see how the house COULD look, which they could replicate if they wished.
Cons of traditional staging
- Much more expensive than virtual.
- House could be damaged by movers.
- Much longer and intensive process.
- After the initial fee, there is usually a monthly rental fee if the house doesn’t sell and you wish to keep it staged.
Pros of traditional staging
- No disappointment for the buyers when they see that the house looks just like the online photos.
- Almost ALL buyers get a positive emotional reaction to a well staged home.
- Buyers can actually see how they could lay out their own furniture and what would fit in which places.
So which is best for you? Obviously, price is the greatest concern. You can get maybe 10 staged photos for $500-750 to use for advertising. For traditional staging for the main rooms of an average house the cost would be about $1500-$2000 with a monthly rental fee after the initial fee.
If the virtual photos are clearly marked as such in the advertising platforms, you will solve the first con. Buyers won’t feel deceived, because they already know the photos they saw are virtual.
The second con for virtual staging is a difficult one. Choosing which home to buy is so often an emotional decision and there is no doubt that a traditionally staged house is the winner here.
However, there are times when it is just not feaseable to spend the money to stage a house traditionally. Sometimes virtual staging will work. For example, if a house is vacant and has been on the market a long time, it will get fewer and fewer viewings and become a ‘stale’ listing. If you virtually stage some photos for the advertising, you will get people starting to look again. Then you need a really good agent who can sell the empty house when the buyers come by to look.
Of course I strongly recommend that the photos are marked as virtual.
HOMESTYLING BY CATHY offers both options to clients. Give us call or drop us an email to discuss how we can best get your house SOLD!