Virtual Staging - How this new tool is saving Kansas City real estate agents valuable time and money

Virtual Staging is growing more and more popular, which raises the question - How does it compare to traditional home staging?

In a recent article by the National Association of Realtors®, 77% of buyers’ agents say staging helps home buyers visualize themselves living in a property. As many as 38% of sellers’ agents say that they stage all their clients’ homes before listing for sale. The benefits of staging have shown to have direct impacts on the sale of properties, and so Virtual Staging was created as a cost-effective alternative to traditional staging.

In order to decide if Virtual Staging would be suitable for your next listing in Kansas City, it is a good idea to see how it compares to traditional home staging.

What is Virtual Staging?

Virtual staging, like traditional staging, is furnishing and decorating a home in a way to optimize and sell the space.

“I have always explained to my sellers that buyers will imprint on the first photos they see of a home and will develop their first positive feelings and attraction to a property at that time” describes Jen Williams, Real Estate Market Manager at Redfin.

But like the name implies, virtual staging is done with a virtually on a computer. There are no actual sofas, TVs, paintings, tables or any other pieces of furniture moved or in the space at all. Professional virtual stagers digitally insert decorative elements in high-resolution photos to show empty rooms’ full potential.

What type of property is Virtual Staging intended for?

Virtual staging won’t work for all homes – in many cases, traditional staging is the better choice. However, it can be a huge benefit for vacant homes or ones with outdated furniture. If the home is still occupied and can be staged to make it as appealing as possible to potential buyers, whole-house virtual staging may not be the best option. However, Virtually Staging individual rooms may be a good option.

Virtual Staging vs. Traditional Staging

The biggest different between the two is cost.

  • Virtual staging can range from $39 to $199 per room, depending on the quality, your location and the amount of rooms you need staged.

  • Traditional staging can cost several hundred dollar per month, depending on the stager used, as the furniture must be rented for a specified duration of time.

Price isn’t the only factor, though. Each technique has its own pros and cons that should be considered, particularly if you’re trying to sell an empty house.

Pros and Cons of Virtual Staging

Virtual staging can help sell a home faster and increase the perceived value, which can ultimately increase the sale price – but only if it’s done right. You still need to a professional photograph for virtual staging, and you need to work with a reputable company that provides quality results.

Here is a quick breakdown of the pros and cons to Virtual Staging:

Pros of Virtual Staging 

  • Helps showcase the best features of an empty space

  • Saves significant money when compared to traditional staging

  • Attracts prospective buyers’ attention online

  • Ability to stage as many or as few rooms as needed

  • Allows flexibility of furniture options to best utilize various spaces

Cons of Virtual Staging

  • More expensive when furniture needs removed from an image

  • Challenging to utilize in an occupied home

  • Furniture does not exist in the home and will not be included for showings

Pros and Cons of Traditional Staging

Traditional staging, which has proven effective in optimizing sale price and turnaround time, has been used by real estate agents for decades. However it doesn’t require a professional, but does require the ability to make a space enticing for a wide range of potential buyers tastes.

Here are the pros and cons to traditional staging:

Pros of Traditional Staging

  • Gives buyers real-life perspective when touring homes

  • Prevents buyers from touring empty properties

  • Inspires buyers to visualize themselves in a home

  • Makes spaces appear larger and enables prospective buyers to gauge size

  • Helps a property stand out in buyers’ minds after they leave

 Cons of Traditional Staging

  • Price - the cost continues to grow until the property is sold

  • Time and labor involved to move furniture and decorate

  • When the market is good, traditional home staging may be unnecessary

Common Virtual Staging Mistakes

The biggest mistake a real estate agent can make is using poor quality Virtual Staging. Virtually staged photos should be exceptionally realistic – so real, in fact, that buyers won’t know they’re computer-generated unless someone tells them.

Other mistakes include:

  • Failing to disclose the empty room image in addition to the staged one.

  • Choosing virtual staging that makes the home look worse, not better. The furniture should be reflective of the space, both in style and size.

  • Using virtual staging when it’s unnecessary. Replacing furnishings and decorative elements in photos when they’re perfectly fine to begin with can be a significant waste of time (and money).

Could Virtual Staging help sell your next Listing?

Virtual staging can be a tremendous asset when selling a vacant home, or one that has unpredictable tenants or outdated décor. It allows prospective buyers to view the right vision of the home – not an empty, cavernous space, but one that’s comfortable and easy to live in.

Have you used virtual staging to sell a home? We’d love to hear your story and how it worked out for you, so please share your thoughts in the comments below.