Not even two years have passed since I decided to leave behind my more than ten-year career as a traditional home stager to start working as a virtual home stager. Despite my departure from the world of traditional staging, I still try to keep in touch with my former colleagues. A few days ago, talking to one of them, I asked her how the situation is now that the real estate world (and not only) has been turned upside down by Covid-19 and we are in the midst of a pandemic. She told me that at the moment she is only staging empty houses, for obvious reasons of hygiene and contagion. That made me wonder: what are the options if you need to stage an occupied home?
In my opinion, these are the possible solutions:
Hire a professional for a virtual consultation
The first option is to hire a professional to give the seller the instructions to do a DIY staging. If the consultation cannot be done in person, the alternative is to offer a virtual consultation. Today many stagers provide this kind of service, either by working with the photos that the seller or the agent provides or by making video calls.
Provide a standard checklist
The second option is to give the seller a standard checklist with basic but important information on how to prepare the house for the market. Many agents already have such a checklist in their files. Here’s an example from my old staging days that you are welcome to use.
Offer virtual staging
The third option is to use virtual staging. Actually, it would be better to call it virtual furniture replacement in this case since the house is still occupied by the owner and their possessions. The process consists of taking photos of the rooms as they are and replacing the real furniture and accessories with virtual ones (you can find more information here). The benefit of this service is that you can also change the finishes of the room to recreate a very attractive space. The result is a powerful image that helps the buyer visualize the potential of the property.
Here’s a recent project I worked on explained in three basic steps.
This is the photo the client sent:
This is how we “erased” the real furniture and changed the finishes (wallpaper instead of paint):
And this is the final result that shows how the living room can look after a light remodeling:
How have you handled the home staging of occupied properties during the pandemic? Have you considered any of these options? If so, which one?