What Are The Differences Between Virtual Staging and Real Staging?

When putting up a property for sale or rent, it goes without saying that showcasing it in the best possible light is crucial. Being able to capture the listing in such a way that gets your audience’s attention and garners quality leads can really go a long way in terms of selling your property fast and at (or above) the asking price.

Apart from real estate videos and ensuring photos are enhanced properly, one of the best ways for real estate professionals to produce quality listings is by staging the property.

Staging your property allows you to show interested home buyers just how much potential each of the rooms can offer, and can help them in better imagining living there everyday. It is especially helpful for empty or semi-furnished listings that do not have much to offer at face value.

There are two main types of staging, namely virtual staging and traditional or real staging. Below, we discuss their differences and advantages that can help you decide which kind is best for you and your listing.

Which is better: Virtual Staging or Real Staging?

When it comes to determining which of the two kinds of home staging is better, it really all boils down to your personal needs, preferences, and available resources.

Both methods have their own set of disadvantages and advantages that you can weigh out for your listing’s situation.

The best way to know if virtual staging or real staging is better for you is by understanding what exactly each of the methods would entail to ensure you are up to the task.

What Is Traditional Home Staging?

Traditional home staging is also known as real or physical staging. It is the process of preparing a home before listing it on the market by adding in furniture, decors, accents, fixing minor paint patches, and the like.

It involves having to hire home staging professionals, renting furniture, hiring a logistics team to bring the elements in, and outsourcing a professional real estate photographer to capture the scene.

Being able to clean each of the rooms and have home stagers work their magic is an essential part in making the home more appealing. Properties that are in otherwise good condition and are at least semi-furnished may only need little home staging, while older houses or empty properties will need much more time and effort.

The Pros and Cons Of Traditional Home Staging

Here is a list of the advantages and disadvantages to traditionally home staging your property.

Pros of Traditional Home Staging

#1 The familiarity of the process

Traditional home staging has been around much longer. Many real estate agents that have been in the industry for quite some time now would most like have their go-to home staging companies, furniture stores, and photographers.

By having this set of people already in your network and you are familiar with their work ethic on top of how the process works, then sticking with traditional ways may be less of a stressful endeavor.

#2 It offers a more immersive experience

Potential buyers interested in checking out the property can get a real feel as to how it is walking in and out of the rooms. They can better understand the flow of the home and can decide if it is the right investment for them.

#3 It instills more trust

Potential buyers will have an easier time trusting their real estate agent when they see the home for themselves. Knowing that all the furniture and other elements are real and physically in the area, it can give them more sense of peace that the property displayed is quite literally possible to achieve.

#4 Creates an emotional connection

One of the components that really drive a good marketing strategy is instilling emotion into what you display to your potential customers. Physical staging can greatly help in bringing out the excitement, joy, and drive to make an investment when it is right in front of them.

Cons of Traditional Home Staging

#1 It requires a hefty budget

Because traditional staging involves a lot of team members, renting our furniture and décor, doing some minor repair work, and more, it will definitely require a hefty budget to cover all bases.

#2 It has a long waiting time

The process can take a while, from booking an appointment to selecting the interior design style, to picking out the right items. Moreover, once these are determined, you will need to process transportation, arrangement, the photography, editing the images, and finally reviewing the images before publishing the listing.

#3 Sometimes, minor repair jobs are not enough

Some properties will require more repair than anyone hopes. Without these fundamental renovations, the properties will not look up to standard or will not be able to sell at a good price.

#4 Not very flexible in terms of variety

Staging a room takes up a lot of time, effort, and money. Meaning it would cost too many resources to be able to stage them in a different style in order to show variety.

Moreover, a lot of stagers tend to lean towards a certain styling method for all the properties they furnish. This could result in your having similar looking rooms if you stick to one staging company.

#5 You only have the furniture for a limited amount of time

Because the elements used to stage the space are rented out, you cannot have them on the property for too long. Or perhaps you can, but it will come with a hefty cost. This can pose a challenge for listings that do not sell very quickly.

What Is Virtual Home Staging?

Virtual home staging is the more modern take on home staging. With this method, you can cut out a lot of steps and middlemen in order to get the same, or even better, listing images.

Through this method, you will essentially only need a real estate photographer and a good designer. Your outsourced photographer will take photos of the preferably empty property. The rooms may also be minimally furnished, but taking photos of fully furnished places will make it a much more challenging task for the designer and may not result in the best virtually staged images.

Once you have your photos, the designer then uses specialized software to add in digitally created furniture and decors. This could take a couple of days, depending on how many images you need virtually staged and the difficulty level of each photograph.

While it sounds so much easier, there are still a few downsides to virtual home staging. We explore more on these below.

The Pros and Cons Of Virtual Home Staging

Now it is time to consider the advantages and disadvantages to virtually home staging your property.

Pros of Virtual Home Staging

#1 Very time efficient

Because there is no need to physically procure and arrange any elements, virtually adding furniture and objects can be very time efficient. Depending on how easy it is for the image to manipulate, seasoned designers can have the final output in just a couple of days.

#2 Does not break the bank

The virtual staging cost is a great advantage. The two main things you will need to spend on when it comes to virtual staging are the photographer and the designer fees. More often than not, the designer fee already includes use of the specialized 3D rendering software.

#3 Highly flexible and versatile

You do not need to stick to just one interior design style. By digitally enhancing your properties, you can gain access to different looks and essentially broaden your target audience. The versatility of virtual staging allows you to cater to a wide set of preferences, needs, values, and tastes.

#4 Access to varying formats

When you have a room virtually staged, you can essentially turn it into photographs, videos, virtual tours, interactive panoramas, and even 3D floor plans. It is important to showcase your listing in varying formats to appeal to more potential buyers and have your listing as thorough and immersive as possible.

Cons of Virtual Home Staging

#1 May create false impressions

This has always been the main concern when it comes to digitally staging a property. There is a thin line between creating misleading listings and showcasing the possibilities of a listing. Always aim to deliver the latter.

Even when you specifically state on your listing that the images are virtually staged and also include photographs of the un-staged space, there is still the chance of potential buyers feeling a little disappointed or discouraged once they visit the site.

To lower the risk of this happening, make sure that all the pieces included in your virtually staged images are realistically attainable in the area and also match the budget range of the property. Moreover, always keep your virtually staged spaces to a minimum as overdoing may raise expectations even higher.

#2 It may look too good

In relation to the above disadvantage, a property may end up looking too good with a combination of virtual renovation and virtual staging methods. This ends up hiding all the flaws and may lead to potential buyers underestimating just how much actual work needs to be done.

Side by Side Comparison

Still undecided? Here are the main differences between the two staging techniques that can really help you in weighing out the contrasts.


Traditionally staging your home can cost an average of at least $7,000 up to $30,000 in total. While virtually staging your space cuts that budget by 90%, averaging at only $16 to $100 per image.


Traditionally staging means manual labor and physically getting things down. Virtually staging is not as labor intensive as the bulk of the work is done on the computer.


Traditionally staged spaces typically only display one interior design look until it gets sold. Virtually staged spaces can showcase multiple kinds of designs and garner the attention of varied markets.

Turnaround time.

Traditional staging takes up more time because of the amount of legwork it requires. Virtual staging can be done in a matter of days.

Number of materials.

Traditional staging can offer you professionally enhanced images while virtual staging can be maximized to photographs, videos, 3D tours, floor plans, panoramas, and more.

Up to date.

If you want to keep up with the times, traditional staging may make it difficult to do so. You will need to bring in new furniture, new decors, new paint colors, and do the process all over again. With virtually staged rooms, you can accomplish it all through the 3D rendering software.


Traditionally staged homes require the potential buyers to visit the site in order to appreciate it. Virtually staged homes can be thoroughly checked online. Especially considering not everyone is very comfortable leaving their homes as often nowadays, it is much more convenient to have digital access before deciding to make the trip.

Home Staging Tips: Best Practices

No matter the kind of home staging method you opt for, there are a few home staging tips we highly suggest keeping in mind for all your listings.

Stick To The Price Range​

When staging your property, you should be well aware of the price range your potential market will stick within. Ensure that you keep all the furniture, decors, and elements used in staging within that budget range as well.

For instance, you do not want to adorn a budget-friendly studio unit with limited designer pieces. By staging the spaces in a way that suits the home and the right buyer, you can sell your properties at a much faster rate.

Be Transparent

Especially if you are virtually staging the property, we suggest adding in un-staged photos as well and being totally transparent as to the digitally enhanced areas of your images. Always make it clear that the staged images are displayed to showcase the property’s potential and not its current reality.

Be Realistic

Staging a property is meant to enhance its looks and showcase all the possibilities you can acquire by making the investment. However, it is not meant to hide flaws, mislead buyers, or make the listing look much better than it does in reality by leaving important information out of plain sight.

Be more realistic with your listing and your market will be more trusting of you.

You’re All Set!

Have you figured out if you prefer to hire a virtual staging service for your property or sticking with the traditional methods? Use this article as a handy guide to figure it out!