How Virtual Staging Sells Houses in Real Life: The Top 3 Reasons
If you’ve heard of virtual staging or seen staged photos (like the one below), you’ve probably thought, “Wow, that’s really cool.” or, “I can’t believe that looks real!” We’ve heard that reaction from thousands of real estate professionals and homeowners over the years.
But there’s another question that remains, “Does virtual staging actually help sell houses?”
- How to Frustrate Homebuyers
- Virtual Staging Meets Real Life
- How Does Virtual Staging Sell Houses? 3 Ways
While there’s plenty of data about the impact of staging on home sales (read the details in the guide to virtual staging), there’s one particular obstacle to virtual staging in comparison to traditional staging - it doesn’t change the physical house.
(Of course, there are many downfalls to traditional staging, but we digress.)
In fact, some people wonder if virtual staging is fundamentally manipulative. We appreciate this question because we always appreciate the opportunity to express how virtual staging, when done as suggested, is actually more honest AND more effective than traditional staging or not staging a property at all. Read more details about this and find the answer to the question, “Is virtual staging legal?”
Now, let’s dive into the ways that virtual staging impacts buyers and their buying decision by walking through two different scenarios.
Scenario 1 - How to Frustrate Homebuyers
Let’s imagine a scenario where a buyer’s agent sends her clients a link to a listing and all of the photos of the home are perfect!
The photos showcase a home that’s bright, clear, and beautifully designed and there aren’t any disclosures indicating otherwise in the listing description.
The buyer’s clients excitedly book a showing. When the buyers arrive, they walk into the home’s primary bathroom and find this:
The buyers feel confused, disappointed, annoyed and taken advantage of.
Sure, the buyers can see that this is the same bathroom that they saw online; however, there’s time and money that will need to be invested into the space to turn that inspiration into reality. They can’t help but start to wonder if the listing agent is misleading them about anything else and they leave the property with a bad taste in their mouth.
This scenario is NOT how a listing agent should use their virtually staged photos to market a property.
Next, let’s look at how an agent SHOULD use their virtually staged photos to market a property honestly and effectively...
Scenario 2: Virtual Staging Blends with Perfectly with Reality
A buyer sees a new listing online. It meets all of her needs and the listing photos are beautiful!
Immediately after a virtually staged photo is its untouched equivalent. There’s also a disclosure included in the property’s listing description that says some of the property’s photos have been virtually staged to showcase the property.
“How cool,” thinks the buyer. She books a showing.
Later that day, the buyer walks into the condo’s living room and finds this...
Now she is able to see the space’s unadulterated surfaces (she doesn’t have to worry if there are stains on the floor or marks on the wall, which she would’ve been worried about if the space were physically furnished or staged). She can also instantly understand and get excited about the space’s intended use and true potential. The buyer feels fully informed, at ease and excited.
Everytime the buyer thinks about this condo, she will think about the virtually staged images she saw online and in person - positive experiences she will carry with her when submitting and negotiating an offer.
How Does Virtual Staging Sell Houses?
1. Virtual Staging Attracts More Buyers
A study by the NAR (National Association of Realtors®) found that close to 90% of buyers relied on listing photos when house hunting. If you want to sell a house, you need high quality listing photos.
If you want to sell a house fast, then you can use your listing photos to drive the maximum amount of traffic to your listing. Using your virtually staged images to run real estate ads is a highly effective method of attracting more buyers and more higher-paying buyers to the listing.
For example, which of these spaces captivate you more?
As real estate agents, we must recognize that most buyers are visual and make decisions and snap opinions based on what they see and how they feel. First impressions matter and beautiful virtually staged photos of a property are more effective than their ugly, non-staged counterparts when it comes to capturing the attention of buyers and then forming that all-important first emotional response within them.
2. Virtual Staging Changes Buyers’ Perspectives
In the images above, nothing changed about the actual space. However, the virtually staged photo enables the listing agent to control how buyers respond to the home’s basement. Rather than feeling overwhelmed when buyers see the home’s basement, they can feel excited about it being used as a second living room.
As a Realtor®, you give your imagination a workout every day. Not only can you see what a property looks like today - you can also imagine a million ways it could be changed and improved. This is an amazing gift - it’s a superpower! Unfortunately, very few buyers have this gift. Most buyers can only see what's in front of them. It could be the most perfect house in the whole neighborhood for them, but they just can’t get past the countertops - even if you tell them that it’s a simple fix. Virtual staging unlocks an agent’s ability to quickly and affordably help a buyer overcome this inability to see what you can see about a space’s potential.
Our wish for you is that every buyer who sees your listings has Walt Disney’s imagination. But for those who don't, virtual staging can make all the difference.
The best way to utilize virtual staging to sway buyers - not to confuse them - is by being clear about your use of virtual staging up front.
Here is another example of how Realtors® can use virtual staging during showings and open houses:
3. Virtual Staging Can Become Reality
Let’s say that someone buys a home that was virtually staged, they LOVED the virtually staged designs and want to turn that exact space into reality.
Well, guess what? If you use Stuccco to virtually stage a property’s photos, you can tell the buyers, “You can do that!”
With Stuccco’s online interior design service, homebuyers can work with a professional interior designer from the comfort of their new home to get the actual products used in any virtually staged designs - or customize the virtually staged designs to satisfy an exact budget, design style or integrate with existing furniture and decor.
Can you imagine being able to buy a house and then having an easy and affordable way to get it professionally designed? As a Realtor®, you’d be offering buyers a seamless, tailored, high-tech buying and moving experience.
Stuccco is the only virtual staging company in the world that can help homeowners turn their virtually staged designs into reality.
Bonus of Using Virtual Staging
Now that we’ve established all the ways that virtual staging benefits sellers and buyers, does it benefit you, the Realtor®?
YES IT DOES!
Think about how homebuyers feel when they see virtually staged photos in the listing and in their potential home. Even if they end up passing on the home, the experience is going to stand out. YOU, as the real estate agent, are going to stand out.
As you continue to use virtual staging to sell your clients’ houses, you can gather data and take pictures of your staged displays to market yourself as a real estate agent. Home sellers want to hire a Realtor® who is going to go above and beyond to get them the most value for their home. By offering to virtually stage a client’s home, you’re offering a service that most other listing agents aren’t yet offering sellers, which means you’re able to separate yourself from - and beat - your competition and increase client satisfaction.
To learn more about virtual staging and try it out, click here.