What Is Virtual Staging in Real Estate? (Examples Included)
A study published by the National Association of Realtors reported that over 83% of homebuyer’s agents claimed staging a property made it much easier for potential buyers to envision themselves investing in the home and hastened the purchasing decision to close a sale much sooner than usual.
This is a huge market that you can definitely maximize on by means of staging your listings. Before technology became as advanced and accessible as it is today, staging a home meant having to manually bring in furniture and rearrange them to suit a certain aesthetic. Nowadays, staging an entire house can be achieved through the computer screen and at a much faster pace, with little to no logistics getting into the mix.
To learn more about virtual home staging and how your real estate listings can benefit from it, check our handy guide below:
What Does Virtually Staged Mean In Real Estate?
Virtually staged listings are basically empty or semi-furnished houses that have been styled by use of digital interior design techniques. This results in producing multiple property images while showcasing many different ways one can decorate a single space. By doing so, you get to communicate to a wider target audience and appeal to different types of buyers, all without having to purchase a single piece of furniture.
All of the elements, colors, textures, and accents that you could possibly want within a given space can be found within the virtual staging software. The possibilities are absolutely endless when we speak of virtually staged spaces because everything you need to accomplish the task lives online. There are no more concerns when it comes to logistics, hiring labor, getting furniture, long lines, and waiting on other team member’s schedules to align with each other.
Thanks to the convenience, accessibility, low-cost and practicality, virtually staged homes are increasingly becoming one of the most powerful digital marketing tools for the real estate industry and it does not seem to be stopping or slowing down anytime soon.
Is Virtual Staging Worth It?
When compared side-by-side to traditional home staging, virtual real estate staging offers a load of benefits. For one, physically staging a listing is much more expensive since you need to take into account the logistical services you need to pay for, the cost of furniture, the cost of photography, the precious hours spent getting everything in place, and much more. Moreover, all of that effort and resources go into creating only a single look for each space and can take up a lot of time.
With virtual staging, on the other hand, all you need is a skilled artist who knows the ins and outs of designing interiors through advanced programs. With one space, you can mix and match different colors, textures, and elements to create a multitude of looks. Virtually staging a space helps a wider audience envision your listing to be their future home, essentially maximizing the potential that space has and bringing it to life in many different ways.
Because of this, and many other reasons, we think that virtual staging truly is worth the investment.
Pros Of Virtual Staging
Cost-efficient. Virtually staging your property can cut down traditional costs by up to 90%. Especially if you outsource to professionals, the minimal virtual staging cost does not come with any quality loss.
Creative freedom. Physically staging a room puts a limit as to how much you can do. Where else if everything is done digitally, the possibilities are endless.
Convenient and Quick. It is a highly convenient process that does not require too much legwork or time set aside to accomplish. Physically staging a property takes a lot of time moving furniture around and decorating the area while the digital alternative can be accomplished in a few clicks.
Highly Flexible. One space can be turned into many different kinds of rooms. This gives you the flexibility to cater to different markets, such as growing families who want a nursery, or a young bachelor who wants a game room, or a businessman who wants a home office.
Cons Of Virtual Staging
Misleading Photographs. Virtual staging showcased what the space could be, not exactly what it currently is. Being able to communicate this factor is an important step so your potential buyers will not be caught off guard or feel misled.
Not Everyone Can Pull It Off. While it is possible to virtually stage a space yourself, prioritizing quality means having to outsource to professionals. It is important for your elements to look as realistic as your space, which can be a major drawback when not properly executed.
Is It Better To Sell A House Empty Or Staged?
While selling an empty house may still garner you a lot of good leads from potential buyers looking for clear spaces, the chances of landing a sale faster than a staged listing are quite slim.
Staged houses perform much better and are known to offer more advantages than sticking with an empty property. Some of these advantages include:
- Virtually staged homes increase buyer interest, and quickly garner their attention. We now only have 3 seconds or less to get the audience to look at our marketing collateral without hitting next, therefore any chance of leveling up interest is crucial.
- Over 83% of properties that have been staged sell for the asking price or even higher! This means that most home buyers find value in staged homes.
- Your listings will look more vibrant and alive when staged, assisting your potential buyers in imagining their future lives there.
- Records show that virtually staged properties sell 75% faster than empty listings.
- It costs only a fraction of what you would have otherwise spent on traditional staging.
- It is a highly versatile process that offers multiple style options and elements that can make your listing look its best – no matter the audience you are trying to capture.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire Someone For Virtual Staging?
The cost of virtual staging heavily varies from one service to another. Other factors that dictate the rate include:
- How many rooms need to be staged
- How much space are you looking to cover
- What is the turnaround time needed for the images
- And other details
If you are looking for a rough estimate, virtual staging could cost anywhere between $15 to $150
Can I Do Virtual Staging Myself?
Yes, you can absolutely do virtual staging yourself. While the concept of virtual staging requires someone who is no stranger to technology and interior design, many real estate agents and home sellers alike can still try their hand at a do-it-yourself (DIY) software.
The best program to use when virtually staging a property on your own is the VisualStager.
The VisualStager features an easy to use interface where you can choose from a library of over 5000 furniture and accessory options. You can easily add and remove objects, rotate them, or raise them. Moreover, there is absolutely no download needed, you can create an account, virtually stage your listing, and share the file all from your browser.
Because the software works through their website, you can use it on virtually any device. There are 4 main steps to know how VisualStager works, namely:
Step 1: Upload Your Photo
Once you have created an account, upload your photo to the VisualStager website.
Step 2: Erase The Clutter (OPTIONAL)
If your current photo has any furniture or other elements that need to be removed, you may have the team at VisualStager take care of it for a fee.
Step 3: Start Staging
Start choosing from over five thousand elements that you can simply click, tap, and drag into your photo.
Step 4: Share Your Finished Result
Now that you are finished, you may easily share your staged photos as JPGs or on the Cloud as a single property website.
How Much Does VisualStager Cost?
The website has a very attractive pay as you go pricing scheme to simplify the whole process. They also offer combination plans for real estate professionals. You can find a detailed list of their pricing below.
If you want to test it out first, you can try VisualStager for free using any of the sample photographs provided on the website. You will also have access to a library of about 4,000 elements, which is more limited than the paid version but still very vast. The only time you need to pay is when you feel comfortable enough with the site and want to stage your own photographs.
Their pay as you go pricing is done by means of Prepaid Credits. Credits essentially work like stamps or vouchers. You pay for them ahead, and use them only as needed when staging your photographs. The more credits you buy in bulk, the cheaper each of your photos comes out, and besides, credits never expire!
For reference, each standard photo you stage costs 10 credits, each 360 photo you stage costs 15 credits, and removing the watermark costs 1 credit. You are free to add an unlimited number of items from their vast library to your photo. Since you can edit endlessly, you may also save and export the staged photo whenever, wherever, and for how many times you like.
The total cost per batch of credits, and their equivalent net price per photo can be found below:
$15: 10 credits ($15.00 per photo)
$59: 50 credits ($11.90 per photo)
$99: 100 credits ($9.90 per photo)
$269: 300 credits ($8.97 per photo)
$399: 500 credits ($7.98 per photo)
$699: 1000 credits ($6.99 per photo)
USING YOUR CREDITS
Even if you purchase over a thousand credits, you can take your time in using them and even resell them to real estate agents, brokers, photographers, home sellers, and the like. Either way, we recommend buying in bulk so that each of your photos comes out more affordable.
Credits will only be deducted when you stage a photograph. In the instance that you stage four standard photos and one 360 photo, a total of 55 credits will be deducted from your account.
Each staged photo has a VisualStager watermark to disclose that the images are virtually staged. However, these can be removed by either paying 1 credit per photo or by subscribing to a white labeled reseller plan.
WHITE LABELED RESELLER PLANS
As mentioned earlier, you can take advantage of the bulk credits scheme by reselling some of your credits. In order to do so, you must first subscribe to one of their white labeled reseller plans. These essentially make it easier and more cost effective to retail your credits.
You can find the details of each plan below.
White Label Lite
$10/ month for yearly subscriptions
- ]Removes the VisualStager watermark from all scenes and flares.
White Label Standard
$20/ month for yearly subscriptions
- Removes the VisualStager watermark from all scenes and flares and white label their entire visual catalog so you may share it with your clients.
- Create an unlimited number of Single Property Website Flares to collaborate with your clients using your own website domain.
It is important to note that the price to stage your photos still remains at 10 credits each as the subscription above only covers the cost of removing watermarks, which also comes out much cheaper if you need to stage a lot of images within a month or year.
FURNITURE REMOVAL SERVICES
As mentioned in Step 2 above, you may also hire VisualStager to remove furniture and other elements from your image. This is perfect for those who are not able to fully declutter or do not have the means to move bulky objects around. This takes around 12 to 36 hours, and probably more over the weekends,
The pricing for having furniture and other clutter removed can be found below:
1 to 2 Items: 8 credits
Lightly Furnished: 12 credits
Light to Medium Furnished: 16 credits
Some Clutter / Medium Furnished: 20 credits
Excessively Cluttered / Fully Furnished: Not Available
How Is Virtual Staging Done?
While virtual staging is the more convenient and the faster choice when needing to prep a home for the market, there are still a few steps that help you achieve it efficiently. The process of getting virtual staging done is:
Clean and Declutter
Virtually staging may not require you to bring in furniture and move things around, but it does need you to empty out the space beforehand and rid your area of any elements.
It is important to keep the space clean and down to the walls as much as possible so that adding in the virtual furniture will be an easier task to accomplish. There will be some instances wherein getting all of the furniture out may pose a challenge. So long as it is only semi-furnished or mostly empty, a professional virtual stager can work with it.
Complete Home Improvements
f there are minor things that need to be addressed within the space such as retouching chipped paint or polishing hardwood floors, it is best to cover those before photographing the space so as to depict the area as accurately as possible.
Clean Your Exteriors, Too
While these may not be part of your list of photos for virtual staging, it is best to be prepared if and when a potential buyer finds your listing and requests an in-person tour as soon as possible.
While you’re at it, keep your storage areas clean in case your potential buyers look through the cabinets when they visit (which you know they will).
Take Your Photos
Now that your property is cleared and good to go, it is time for the photo shoot. We highly recommend outsourcing to a professional real estate photographer to get the job done right, however, anyone with good real estate photography experience may also check this off the list.
Quality is absolutely key in taking your images because these will be heavily utilized in post production. You must ensure that they are of high resolution, properly exposed, and adequately sharp.
Outsource A Virtual Staging Professional, Graphic Designer, or DIY
With your empty (or mostly empty) interior photographs ready, it is time to add in the furniture and elements needed to make your listing pop. You can do so by means of a virtual staging professional, graphic designer, or doing the task yourself.
Some of the things you can use to fill in the space are:
Art. Paintings, sculptures, photographs, and the like add character to the room.
Décor. Accent pillows, candles, vases, and other types of décor fill in the empty corners.
Furniture. Adding in furniture gives your potential clients a better idea of your listing’s full potential. They can better estimate the size of the space and imagine how it would be living there.
Rugs. Baring the beautifully polished hardwood floors or statement tiles are also a great way to showcase your room. Similarly, adding rugs to certain areas can help add texture, color, and depict sections of a large surface area.
Technology. Adding in a television, air conditioning, and other gadgets make the room look cozier and more modern.
Seasonal Elements. If you are putting up the listing over the holidays, you can opt to show how the space would be during that time by adding seasonal elements.
Pro Tip: What Should You Not Do When Staging A House?
We have put together a list of the 7 most common mistakes that real estate agents, photographers, and sometimes, even amateur stagers make when staging a house.
Adding Too Much Furniture. It’s great to fill your property and make it look lived in, however, try not to overdo it! Excessively adding furniture makes the property look very cluttered, which does not make the room look breathable or create a nice flow along the elements.
Be realistic about what you add into the image, and ensure the room is spacious enough so it looks easy to walk around in and spend day-to-day activities in.
Adding Furniture That Does Not Fit. Similarly, even if you add just the right amount of furniture, but choose sizes that are way too big for the area, the room ends up looking smaller and less cozy.
Positioning All The Furniture Against The Walls. Adding a foreground subject to your images creates depth, which helps make the room bigger and breathable. By placing all the furniture against the wall, the space ends up looking smaller and less inviting.
Not Removing Personal Items. When we say make the space look lived in and relatable, we do not mean keep your family photographs and important documents out for your potential buyers to see.
It is important to direct their attention to the property’s best features and how it can work for them.
Combining In Too Many Paint Colors. We understand you would want your property to look lively and exciting, but it is best to keep your color scheme consistent by not utilizing drastically different paint throughout the house.
By choosing one main color and 2 to 3 accent colors, you can better display what makes your home livable and relaxing, and create a better overall flow for the property.
Have One Focal Point. To create a more harmonious design, choose one central point within the room and decorate your elements around it. For instance, the focal point in a living room could be the fireplace, the television screen, or the window with a view of the outdoors.
Relying On Virtual Staging To Sell The Property. Virtually staging your space is a powerful digital marketing tool that can help sell your home faster. However, it is not meant to fix everything or trick potential buyers into thinking the property is flawless. Virtually staged photos display the potential each listing has, but being realistic about your process and honest about the shortcomings are a great way to establish trust and confidence among your target audience.
Outsource Professional Services To Virtually Stage Your Property
Ensuring that you get quality photographs for every virtually staged listing is a must. This means not having to worry if the photo looks too unrealistic or poorly styled. It also means being able to trust your hired professional service to deliver the images on time and cater to your specific requests.
Here at Time Off Editing, we offer flawless virtual staging solutions at fast and consistent turnaround times. All you need to do is upload your photos onto our dashboard, select from a vast number of options and specific editing styles, then we will get your virtually staged images back to you within 48 hours!
You can then review our work and let us know if you need any revisions done. We value your satisfaction and offer unlimited changes until you’re happy with the output. Once you’re all set, simply download your virtually staged images when you’re ready.
Moreover, you can get a FREE full property edit trial of up to 20 photo edits!
Time Off Editing Pricing
For our virtual staging services, we charge a flat rate of $23 per image, which includes filling your space with stylish furniture of your choice and specifically designing the entire projects based off your style preferences.
We also offer additional services such as Virtual Renovation and Virtual Restyling for additional fees.
You’re All Set!
Virtually staging your properties can greatly amplify the value of each of your listings, which in turn garners more quality leads and closes sales at a faster rate. Contact us on how we can help you with virtual staging today!