Home staging is no longer a new term in the real estate field. Everyone knows what it is. Used for years now, traditional home staging still continues to help selling houses faster and for more money.
Traditional staging is the art of transforming a room (or an entire property) thanks to the use of furniture, color, accessories, etc. in order to increase the potential of a home. It applies to both vacant houses and occupied houses. In the first case the rooms are furnished with furniture and accessories brought in by the staging company, while in the second case the seller’s furniture and accessories are used. For this reason it is also known as redesign.
What is virtual staging?
Virtual staging has the same purpose as traditional staging but it uses new technology to highlight the potential of a property. To this end, it transforms the photographs of a listing by adding virtual furniture and accessories to help the buyer better understand the space and the interiors of a home.
The fundamental difference between the two is therefore in the fact that traditional staging shows a property as it is, while virtual staging shows a property as it could be. Also in terms of cost there is a big difference: traditional staging requires an average investment between $2000 and $5000 (for a medium-sized house), while virtual staging costs around $39 to $100 per image.
The two types of staging have in common the fact that they both offer web appeal and complete the presentation of a listing.
How can you avoid misrepresentation lawsuits related to virtual staging?
When it comes to virtual staging, it is crucial not to give the property a wrong representation. To overcome this problem it is absolutely essential to watermark the photos for transparency.
Here’s an example:
Personally, I always suggest my clients not only to put the disclaimer on the photos, but also to add it in the description of the property. Buyers must know that they will visit either an empty house or a house that is different from the one shown in the photos. What I mean is that sometimes virtual staging is used also to show a possible remodeling. In this case it is better known as virtual remodeling.
Another good idea is to show the original photo of the room and the virtual photo side by side. This video better illustrates the concept:
Absolutely no structural problems or physical damage should be hidden or disguised. This is actually a rule that applies to both traditional staging and real estate photography as well.
I think that in the end traditional staging and virtual staging are two sides of the same coin. Both are intended to show the potential of a property to help the seller understand if it is the right one. They are two different approaches to the same situation. One is more physical and expensive, while the other is more abstract and inexpensive. However, the purpose is the same: to sell a house faster and for more money.