We hear it all the time from our clients: “Vacant homes don’t sell.” As a professional photography studio specializing in real estate, we also know they don’t photograph well, which means fewer viewings online and in-person. Fortunately, Realtors have virtual staging in their toolkit to enhance the bare-bones layout of a home, helping it sell quicker and at the best price.
Virtual staging is an affordable and cost-effective solution to marketing vacant properties online, especially for foreclosed homes, or for properties appealing to foreign buyers who cannot make an in-person site visit. Here are seven reasons why realtors should consider virtual staging.
1. No furniture? No problem! – A professional will photograph a vacant listing from many different angles to capture the variety of room sizes and lighting conditions. The images are then enhanced digitally by a specialist, who inserts virtual furniture, window treatments, accessories, and even new wall coloring that the Realtor and seller request.
2. Market More Cost-Efficiently – The costs of traditionally staging a home, including furniture, artwork, and wall and floor coverings can be staggering. Realtors can pay from $3,000 to $12,000 a month to rent furnishings for a single home. Virtual staging slashes that expense by at least 90 percent. VHT Studios’ Virtual Staging service, for example, is just $75 per photograph. (You read that correctly.) Since most realtors choose between 15 and 25 photographs of a home, virtual staging rates may range from $1,100 to $1,875 per listing, depending on the total number of virtually staged rooms.
3. Sell Quickly – A home won’t sell unless your buyers see it in person. And they won’t request a showing unless the listing is presented beautifully online with professional photographs. Without furnishings, an empty home will sit on the market for months because many buyers have difficulty envisioning the space unless it’s furnished. If it doesn’t look like someone lives there, they can’t picture themselves living there, either. Virtual staging connects buyers to the lifestyle they’re seeking in their next home.
4. Speak Directly to Your Target Audience – Virtual staging allows for a range of customized features to help your target market see how they will live in their new home. For instance, if your listing is a prairie style craftsman, but it’s located in trendy Wicker Park, you’ll need to show your target audience how the space can accommodate buyers who prefer modern interior design. Virtual staging allows you to customize furnishings that match the tastes of your unique buyers.
5. Show How Anything is Possible – Not only can you show how a home looks furnished, you can also show how renovations can transform it. If your listing’s tiny galley kitchen puts a home at a competitive disadvantage among spacious homes in Orland Park, virtual staging allows you to render the space with new configurations. Knock down a wall, add a window or split a great room into two rooms — the possibilities are endless. Not only does this help buyers see the versatility of a home, but it also offers them a valuable rendering to use when sourcing contractors after they buy the home.
6. Go Commercial, Too – Virtual staging is also very valuable for showing the versatility of commercial properties and rentals. Imagine showing buyers what their office space might look like with desks, conference tables, café seating, cabinetry, multimedia consoles and partitions.
7. Be Upfront – Avoid embarrassing surprises. You should state specifically that the listing has been virtually staged, to avoid confused — or worse – angry reactions. Be sure to tell buyers in advance that the home is virtually staged to provide a helpful view of how it can be furnished.
As you continually seek ways to save time and money, especially in today’s bustling market, virtual staging is the best marketing tool for showing vacant properties at minimal cost, while shortening the time on the market.
Sarah Anderson is the vice president marketing at VHT Studios. For more than 25 years, she has been building business through integrated marketing focused on the expansion of innovative product offerings, brands, and channels, with the ignition of client engagement and highly memorable brand experiences. Email her at [email protected] or learn more at http://www.vht.com.