Best Virtual Staging App and Software for Real Estate

Staging your property is one of the best ways to have it stand out among all the other listings online. There are two main ways to go about it: traditional staging or virtual staging.

Traditional staging involves having to purchase furniture, décor, and other elements that you want to add into the scene. It also means hiring an efficient team of movers, cleaners, stagers, photographers, and other essential members to get the job done. This could take the whole day, or maybe even more depending on the property’s needs.

Virtually staging the space eliminates all of those preparations. All you have to do is secure a properly exposed photo of the room, which is preferably empty or very minimally furnished, and then either outsource it to a designer or upload to a virtual staging app. From there, all you have to do is wait until it’s finished and ready to publish, which should take a couple of days depending on how many images are required.

Not only does virtual staging save you time, energy, and money, it is also more flexible in terms of how you want your property designed. Interested to get started? We’ve prepared a list of the best virtual staging software along with a few things you should know!

What Is 3D Virtual Staging?

First off, let’s define what 3D virtual staging is. It is basically a method of furnishing your property with digitally crafted elements through a special app or software manufactured for this purpose. Virtual staging is a method used to highlight the best features of your listing and also fully maximize its qualities that allow it to be its most attractive state for a wider target audience.

It works best with either completely empty or semi-furnished spaces, as these give the designer more flexibility when it comes to adding in digital objects. There are many benefits to virtually staging your home such as:

  • It is more cost-effective compared to traditional alternatives
  • It is faster to complete
  • It is a more flexible option in terms of interior design
  • It does not require a lot of team members
  • It can all be done from a computer

Apart from the above advantages, one key edge that it has over physically staging a listing is the power to take one room and turn it into multiple kinds of spaces. Because everything is done digitally, you can decorate a property with a specific characteristic that caters to one target audience, and then redecorate it to target a totally different demographic by simply switching up the interiors – all without any legwork or heavy lifting. This not only broadens your market, but it also gives your potential buyers the opportunity to envision more ways of benefiting from this investment.

How Is Virtual Staging Done?

With virtual staging, all of the elements, textures, color schemes, decors, and other objects that you want to add to your space can all be found within your chosen virtual staging app. This gives you an infinite amount of possibilities when it comes to designing your space, and with little to no concerns of outsourcing for logistics, matching schedules, or waiting in line to acquire necessities.

All you need is to schedule a shoot to photograph the space you need virtually furnished, and send this image to the designer or upload it on the app, that will then populate the area with everything you need to bring the listing to life.

This process works best with empty or minimally furnished rooms. If you are working with fully furnished spaces, you will first need the elements removed from the photo before proceeding to stage it. While it is not an impossible task, it will take more time, skill, and effort to complete.

How Much Does It Cost To Do Virtual Staging

Virtual staging has multiple factors that can add to its total cost. Ultimately, it depends on the specific services you need that can be answered by:

  • How many rooms need to be staged
  • How big are the spaces you need to stage
  • How fast do the images need to be delivered
  • Does the photo need more enhancing or object removal
  • And other details

For those searching for a ballpark figure, the typical virtual staging cost is around $15 to $150 per photo. This would also greatly depend on the talent fees of the ones you are outsourcing.

How Are Virtual Staging Costs Calculated?

While virtual staging can help you save on cost, this does not equate to it being the method of lesser value or quality. With each digitally staged photo comes a lengthy and carefully crafted process. All the steps that go into this process are what add to the total cost (and quality) of your final image, and we break each of the steps down for you by categorizing them into 4 factors:

Factor 1: Virtual Staging Process

Different agencies and apps have their own staging process with their corresponding base rate to accomplish it. Despite having their unique methods, they are all generally patterned similarly:

  1. Decide which room or listings need to be virtually staged.
  2. Outsource photographers who are real estate professionals and schedule a photo shoot for the listing or room.
  3. Choose what particular virtual staging services you require per image
  4. Be specific as to how you want your images to be staged. This could mean its overall design style, type of furniture, type of décor, or you may ask the designer for references that they envision.
  5. Confirm the project.
  6. Receive the virtually staged photos within your chosen agency’s agreed upon turnaround time.

With these 6 steps making up the general virtual staging process, you can have your image up and ready for your market in a matter of days. Unlike traditional staging, there is no need for lengthy planning, multiple lists, and logistic concerns.

Factor 2: Virtual Staging Services

The second factor focuses on step four: being specific about your image. The services that you acquire to achieve your perceived image can include, but are not limited to:

  • Adding furniture to a vacant room or listing
  • Adding décor to an empty room or listing
  • Removing furniture from certain areas
  • Changing the wall colors
  • Changing the trim colors
  • Changing the colors of the cabinets, shelves, and similar items
  • Changing the flooring
  • Changing the ceiling
  • Changing the color of the doors
  • Changing the landscaping
  • Replacing the sky from day to dusk, or by adding clouds and other elements that give it more character
  • Photo enhancement in general

You have the power to use the virtual staging software to its fullest potential with a long list of services you can opt into and make your listing look its best. However, each of these services usually comes with an additional fee on top of the base rate.

An example of paying for additional services is when the listing you need staged is fully furnished from corner to corner. This would require your designer to remove the objects, virtually clean out the floors and walls, and then enhance the images by adding in the digital furniture of your choice. This requires much more time and resources compared to starting with an empty and clean room.

Factor 3: Virtual Staging Inventory

Inventory typically means the stock of items that are kept at the back of the store. Once inventory runs out, the items are deemed sold out. When we combine that with the thought of virtual objects, it is hard to put it together since digital elements are limitless. However, despite its contradiction, virtual staging inventory does exist.

This is made possible by certain virtual staging agencies and designers that make use of furniture that are physically sold in retail stores. They add these designs to their list of choices on the staging software and scale them exactly how they are in real life. This is a great advantage for potential buyers who want to envision their home with ready-made pieces and better understanding the flow of their space. If they are satisfied with the outcome, they may order the exact item from the retail store and have it delivered to the newly purchased property. Since the firm has a special partnership with the retail store, this could potentially count as additional fees towards them under the whole project instead of a separate transaction with the shop.

However, it is important to note that this is not exactly an industry standard perk as a lot of agencies stick with digitally rendered objects, which are not available in retail stores. This should not pose as a cause for concern as a lot of digitally rendered objects are patterned after basics and commonly found furnishings.

Factor 4: Virtual Staging Design Expertise

Virtually staging a space is not only about making the area look good, but it is also about maximizing the function and flow of the property. Many people know how to make a space aesthetically pleasing, but not everyone is accustomed to the multiple considerations that go into mindful and purposeful design. This is where expertise and experience play important roles.

For one, you must always consider each element that goes into the property. The big furniture, small furniture, decors, accents, and other objects must fit well together and harmoniously coexist. Each of them should also bring their own value without adding too much clutter. Lastly, having a better grasp as to how to work the virtual staging software ensures that you can maximize the tools and get better output. Outsourcing someone with this experience under their belt saves you time, money, resources, and you may even expect faster turnarounds for each project.

Can I Do Virtual Staging Myself?

Yes, virtually staging your listing on your own is totally possible! Today’s technology is highly advanced enough that any real estate agent and home seller alike with little to no experience in design can achieve a decent job for their listing.

While we still do recommend outsourcing professional virtual staging services, there is no harm in opting for a do-it-yourself (DIY) software given enough time, resources, and motivation!  Below is a list of our top 3 picks for DIY Virtual Staging apps:

DIY Option 1: VisualStager

VisualStager is by far one of the most popular DIY apps today, and it is also our most recommended program. If you do not have any prior experience for virtual staging, then this is the best app to practice on.

It has an extremely user-friendly interface that allows you to choose from a digital library of over 5,000 furniture and accessories. Adding and removing them to and from your image is as easy as a few clicks. You can even rotate and elevate each object to ensure you achieve your ideal angles.

Moreover, you do not need to download the program itself as all of this can be done on your browser. Create an account online, stage your listing, and once you are done, simply share the file from the website itself.

As of this writing, their rate starts at $15 per downloaded image. However, they do have a testing option that allows you to use the program for free provided that you utilize their stock photos and not your own image to stage.

DIY Option 2: iStaging

iStaging is an app that is available for download on both iOS and Android devices. It works by having you shoot a 360-degree image of the room you need to virtually stage. Once you have it, upload it to the app’s online design center and start adding your digital objects such as your furniture, accents, and even your company logo.

Lastly, when you are happy with the result, embed it on your website or send it to your clients.

While it only has a few steps to it, it packs more features and has great design options compared to VirtualStager. The only downside is that its interface is admittedly not as straightforward and user-friendly.

As of this writing, iStaging’s rate starts at $5 per month, which is inclusive of 3 LiveTours (also known as virtually staged 360-degree rooms). If you need more rooms virtually staged, it would cost an additional $2.50 per tour or you may opt for their Standard Package at $55 per month and Business Package at $95 per month for more inclusions.

DIY Option 3: Cedar Architect

Cedar Architects has one of the best quality images within the DIY options. It has highly realistic looking furniture and even has a texture library programmed into its list of options. Apart from being able to easily add in pieces, you can also edit the shading and lighting of each of the pieces, which further enhances its realistic look.

As of this writing, their rate is at $59 per month for an unlimited amount of projects, including both HD renderings and virtual visits. This option is definitely best for those with multiple listings to stage.

However, it has a free trial that you can enjoy for 15 days, which includes 3 free projects and 3 free HD renderings. If you need more, you may get recharge packs for a minimal fee.

One great advantage that Cedar has over the rest is its ability to design and re-design exteriors, which can help in having your potential buyers visualize a garden, deck, pool, or even a garage in one space, depending on how they want to utilize it.

Other Notable Options

Punch! Interior Design is a DIY software for those who do not have the monthly budget for a subscription. It only costs a one-time payment of $50 to download, and you will no longer need to pay per photo to continue using it. It is currently only available for Mac desktops. Its interface is simple enough and allows you to upload the dimensions of your room for a more precise setup. It is definitely a user-friendly option.

Apply Design is relatively new on the market but it is simple to use without the need for prior design experience. It has a vast collection of furniture, art, lighting, rugs, plants, and other digital objects to choose from. Their rate ranges from $7 to $10 dollars per image.

Virtual Staging Apps - Top Picks

If you rather leave it up to the professional virtual staging company to take care of your listing, here are out top 3 picks for professional staging services you can try today.

Pick #1: Time Off Editing

At Time Off Editing, we deliver flawless virtual staging solutions at quick and consistent turnaround. It’s as simple as uploading your images that need staging onto our online dashboard, select from a wide range of options to narrow down your desired editing style, and then wait for the final images to be submitted within 48 hours!

Once the images are with you, simply review our work and let us know if you need any revisions done. We offer unlimited revisions to ensure that your satisfaction has bee met and that you are 100% happy with the output.

If you have the images the way you want them, simply download your photos. You can also get a FREE full property edit trail of up to 20 photo edits.

We charge a flat rate of $23 per virtually staged image, and additional fees for Virtual Renovation and Virtual Restyling.

Pick #2: BoxBrownie

BoxBrownie has definitely made a name for itself in the realtor world. They offer great service at affordable rates, which makes it very accessible to a lot of real estate agents.

Their quality may not be top tier but they offer a lot of value with their interior design options. Moreover, they are considered to be an all-in-one virtual staging service as they also do day-to-dusk editing, object removal, 360-degree virtual tours, and virtual renovations.

Their basic virtual staging package includes furniture, rugs, and décor. While the virtual renovation add-on enables you to change the wall colors, install new flooring, and the like.

BoxBrownie’s rate as of this writing is at $32 per image.

Once the images are with you, simply review our work and let us know if you need any revisions done. We offer unlimited revisions to ensure that your satisfaction has bee met and that you are 100% happy with the output.

If you have the images the way you want them, simply download your photos. You can also get a FREE full property edit trail of up to 20 photo edits.

We charge a flat rate of $23 per virtually staged image, and additional fees for Virtual Renovation and Virtual Restyling.

Pick #3: roOomy

While roomy offers all of the basics that other virtual staging apps do, its edge over the rest is being able to incorporate furniture from many leading home furnishing stores such as Crate & Barrel, Wayfair, and Design Within Reach. This makes it easy for potential buyers to purchase the furniture used within the images.

As of this rating, their rate starts at $49.

Are There Any Free Virtual Staging Apps?

On a tight budget? Opt for a free virtual staging app instead! Here are the 2 best FREE apps to check out. They both use augmented reality that allows user to virtually stage on the spot.

Housecraft (iOS)

Honestyler (iOS and Android)

You’re All Set!

With the best of the best apps listed above, you can surely get your virtually staged listing in no time!