Which is better, virtual staging, or real life full home staging?
This Orange Park Country Club home was previously listed with a Realtor that was a fan of virtual staging. After six months, with zero offers, but several second showings, the listing expired. The new Realtor, Scott Bresnahan, Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty, is a fan of real life staging, like we do here at Rave Home Staging. The house was just listed today, so we don’t have the answer of which kind of staging is more effective, yet. Let’s take a look at the photos to compare.
Virtual Staging is less expensive. But is it just bait and switch?
This is one of the discussions that happens a lot in the staging and real estate community. Virtual staging can look really good online, but leaves questions. Can the house really use the furniture represented in the photos? What happens when the buyers arrive at the house and it doesn’t look like it did in the photos?
The colors and virtual styling of this house are really lovely. There is a clear purpose defined in each room, at the house looks open and airy. Online. Unfortunately, when buyers arrived at the property, they simply didn’t know what to do with these rooms. The furniture wasn’t there for them to understand how they would live. Scott, the new Realtor, actually showed this house to buyers twice, when it was on the market with the other Realtor. He openly told us about how the buyers, who loved the rest of this house, would stand in this room, and the breakfast nook, and try to determine how their furniture would really work in the space. Virtual staging may bring buyers to the door, but it leaves them hanging when it counts the most. Buyers often don’t understand how open floor plans will function without being able to see the furniture, in the space. Additionally, the house may not be memorable if they are seeing multiple properties that day. Real staging clearly defines the space, controls the buyers eye, so they focus on the features and benefits of the property, and makes it memorable when they leave. Leaving a lasting impression is just as important as getting them in the door.
Does the room really work like that? Virtual Staging VS real life.
In this specific house, there were two rather major things that weren’t addressed by the virtual stager. Perhaps this is because their job is just to make pretty photos. Our job, as professional home stagers, is to make a measurable, marketable difference in the perceived value of the property. Then again, maybe the virtual stager isn’t trained to take demographics, architecture, and lifestyle into consideration, the way we do here at Rave.
When we were planning for the staging of this room, we noticed the virtual image showed a small sofa, facing out the back french doors. The rug we used was a 6′ x 9′ rug. Even an IKEA Ektorp loveseat, is only 70.5″ long, meaning that, in reality, a loveseat would hang off of the edge of the carpeting. The virtual image shows, what looks like 12″ or more of open carpet on either side. You can see, from our photos, there is no way that would actually fit.
Using real furniture, we were able to add a luxurious 94″ sofa, facing the fireplace. This means more seating, and the buyers won’t be greeted with the back of the sofa, when they came in the door.
We also decided, having viewed the room in person, and understanding the way buyers, in this neighborhood would live, that we needed more seating AND more importantly, we would need a different location to add a television set. The virtually staged photo showed the TV in the architectural bookcase. There is little doubt, when the house was empty, that buyers would have the same thought. Unfortunately, the opening, where the TV would fit, is actually really small. Check out this up close photo, of our staging.
When buying a house, function is more important than form.
The custom message board we had created by Third Wind Woodworks, was approximately 24″ x 36″. How many people, who live in a house like this one would own a TV that small? It’s far more likely that they have a 60-70″ TV or larger. By shifting the layout of the room, so that the long wall would accommodate the television showcases how the family is more likely to live in the home. This allows us to overcome the objection, before it even exists in the mind of the buyer.
Setting the stage for real life is the job for the professional.
In the end, virtual staging can create some really beautiful photos of the house, creating the desire for potential buyers to make showing appointments. Unfortunately it rarely, if ever, takes into account the way the homeowner will actually live in the house, or what their impression will be when they are there for the showing. This is why many, in the home staging industry, consider virtual staging, like vignette staging, to be a waste of money for both the Realtor and the homeowner.
To see the rest of the photos of this house, please visit our Facebook page. For more information about staging your house, please go here, or call us at 904-379-5523. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE!!! The final results are IN! After full home staging, the owners of this property accepted an offer in 29 days, after sitting on the market previously for 178 days, unsold!