I have been on a string of listing vacant homes for sale. Vacant homes present certain marketing challenges that need to be overcome. On my last vacant listing I decided to try virtual staging the home to overcome some of the challenges.
In most cases, I prefer my listings to be furnished. Homes generally sell better when they are furnished. This does not mean you don’t have to put some preparation into a furnished home though. You still need to consider pairing down furniture, decluttering, depersonalizing and cleaning your home.
So why are vacant homes challenging to sell?
It has been a fairly common practice for years to physically stage a vacant home. A home stager is hired to design a staging plan and rent furniture for key rooms in a home. Typically, the homes living room, dining room, kitchen and master bedroom, at a minimum would be staged. A home that has been professionally home staged presents better online and for personal showings.
The results can be great. The downside is home staging a vacant home with rented furniture can be quite costly. It certainly has it’s time and place. Unfortunately for many lower priced listings it just is not cost effective to drop thousands of dollars between hiring a stager and renting furniture to present your home to the buying public.
Virtual staging is similar in concept, where you present a home with furniture in it online. But it is all done electronically, in an editing program. It is strictly an electronic edit of your original, professional real estate photographs.
The furniture will not actually exist or be in place when the buyer goes to view the home.
The great part is there are many choices of furniture and decor that can be placed into your vacant photos. It is actually quite easy and the furniture remains proportionate to the room and gives a realistic sense of the space in the photos you present online.
While virtual staging of your home can provide you, the seller some benefits, it should never replace renting furniture and staging your vacant home. Virtual staging should only be considered if you and your agent don’t feel that physically staging your home is a viable option.
As you can see from the samples above the rooms especially the ones with out much detail, like the office and bedrooms just start to look the same. Where virtual staging really helps the vacant listing is with online and offline marketing images.
The virtual staging helps engage buyers and keep their interest. Virtual staging also defines the space as well as gives some scale to the space as well. You now can show off you home with some visually interesting photograph. From a cost standpoint virtually staging is much more cost effective than actually staging a vacnt home with rented furniture.
You can now capture a buyers attention and get them thru the door to view your home in person.
As I stated before, if at all possible virtual staging your vacant property should not replace actually renting furniture and hiring a stager. There are some downsides that come with virtual staging.
Actual home is not staged- The home itself will not be staged and could disappoint buyers when they get there. While the buyers are buying the space and not the furniture, a staged home can help the buyer make an emotional connection.
While I have not experienced it, I have heard of buyers being angry when they get to a home because it does not look like the photos online. That personally has not been my experience, as I fully disclose that the furnished shots are virtually staged.
Virtual staging has certainly been becoming more main stream lately and we are seeing it on more and more vacant listings as it is an inexpensive way to give a flat vacant property some visual interest.
There are agent and buyers feel like they are being duped when they get to the house and it is empty. But agian we are selling the space not the decor.
Virtual staging allows on line buyers to get a sense of the space, how it is used, the scale of the room, etc… that would be hard to see with vacant room after vacant room.
At the end of the day, it is your listing agents job to use all the available tools to get buyers thru the door to view your home. While virtual staging isn’t for every listing it is a tool to be discussed with your agent if your home is going to be vacant come time to list.