Technology is changing the way people buy and sell homes. Per NAR, 95% of buyers used the internet to search for a home in 2017, and for 42%, that was the very first step they took in their home buying process. Further more, 89% of buyers reported that photos were one of the most useful things they found online. In a time where buyers have thousands of listings at the tip of their fingers, it's important that listings stand out, and photos are a great way to showcase homes looking their best.
Agents and their sellers can choose to professionally stage a home, which allows a buyer to more easily visualize themselves in a home, and often leads to a higher selling price and less time on the market (NAR's Profile of Home Staging). An emerging trend gaining traction in the industry is virtual staging, in which companies will take photos of a vacant listing (or a listing that could use some help with already existing decor) and digitally alter it to appear staged.
Companies like BoxBrownie can completely furnish rooms with specific themes and pieces of furniture to appeal to certain buyers, and can also completely remove items from pictures.
Our agent, Tracy Wallingford, reported "an increase in the number of showings and attendance at the open houses after posting the virtual staging photos online." To compensate for not actually having the furniture physically there, she printed the virtually staged photos as laminated posters and placed them in the corresponding rooms to help buyers envision the potential each room had for decorating. Overall, Tracy said, "My clients were very happy with it and I would do it again. It's relatively inexpensive marketing for what you get."
Prices for these services will vary from different providers, starting as low as $30 per room virtually staged all the way to $80. It's best to research the various offerings and determine what will be a good fit for the client's needs.
We expect virtual staging to continue to grow in popularity, offering an alternative to leaving listings vacant or paying for more expensive traditional staging. Considering buying or selling a home in the Austin area? Contact us today for expert advice on Austin real estate.