Dear David: I’ve heard that some people are using virtual staging to sell their homes. Do you think this is a good idea? – LOOKING SHARP
DEAR SHARP: Virtual staging has long been the purview of architects and decorators, and it’s growing in popularity with Realtors as well. When trying to sell a vacant home or one that doesn’t show well, virtual staging can add context and personality to listing images, for a fraction of the price of an actual stager and a truckload of furniture.
Virtual staging is quick, easy and less expensive, but it does have limitations. It might spark some initial interest, but that excitement can fade quickly when buyers step inside a house that looks nothing like it did online.
I often say that buying a home is much like dating, and virtual staging fits into this analogy. If Realtor.ca is the eHarmony of houses, virtual staging is like using a high school yearbook photo for your profile picture. Those of us who graduated decades ago are well aware that the initial impression is bound to fade when we meet someone face to face.
Once upon a time, you could hook a buyer’s attention with a single photo in the newspaper, or a brief listing in a giant MLS book. Unfortunately, those days are gone. Today’s buyers want to see fifty professional photos, a virtual tour, floor plans and a description written by J.K. Rowling. If the listing doesn’t match what they see when they walk in the door, they are bound to be disappointed.
Online images are one thing, but buyers want to experience a house before they buy it, which is why real-life staging is so important. If someone is struggling to visualize how they’ll use an empty room, actual furnishings and artwork can do wonders for their imagination. You don’t need designer pieces from Crate & Barrel to do the trick: in a pinch, I’ve seen beds materialize from plastic bins topped with a duvet, or ensuites turn instantly luxurious with the addition of fluffy towels and a few décor items.
Sometimes the biggest payoff can come from a little elbow grease. If nothing else, you should clear off the counters and scrub the bathrooms within an inch of their lives. Paint and light are inexpensive assets, so don’t be afraid to freshen up the walls and tie back the curtains!
Virtual staging can eliminate the need to rent or buy furniture for listing photos, but it may not hold up in person. I consistently have great success with live staging, which is why I include professional staging and photography in nearly every all of my residential listings. Buyers make decisions quickly and a bad first impression is hard to shake. When you want the most money for your home, cutting corners can cost you the price of a new car. #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator
David is a top-selling Broker in Kitchener-Waterloo Region. He works personally with you when selling or buying your home. Call or text today for your free home evaluation! 519-577-1212.