Subscribe to Seattle Condo Blog | Seattle Condos for Sale | Downtown Market Trends

Virtual Staging… Great Way to Sell, or Deceptive Marketing?

January 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, Selling

A new trend is starting to emerge when it comes to selling vacant homes. There has been a lot of research suppporting the importance of “staging” (setting up a home with furniture and small touches to envision living there) and how it ensures a faster sale.  Technology itself is now attempting to provide another alternative to the cost of human real estate services through “virtual staging”.  The question that seems to be popping up on blogs touting about the benefits of virtual staging is, “Will the buyer feel deceived?”

One virtual staging site in particular claims the following as facts:

  • Staged homes sell for 6% more than vacant homes.
  • Vacant homes take twice as long to sell than staged homes.
  • Only 10% of homebuyers can visualize the potential of a home.

Staging is certainly a good idea when it comes to presenting a room’s intention to a potential buyer.  Staging businesses have been popping up everywhere since Barb Schwartz (once a WA state agent) started the program and created the Accredited Staging Professionals credential almost a decade ago.  For those who have found the real estate business to be different than what they expected, running a full-time business solely on servicing agents and FSBO’s in staging has become a respectable business.  At the same time, staging can even be an expensive business to run when considering that more furniture needs to be bought and/or put in storage.  Where is the cost absorbed?  Generally by the seller.  In many cases, when the potential cost to stage a home is presented to a seller as a way to get more interest at a property, many sellers would rather apply that money towards reducing the list price.

With virtual staging, sellers can now circumvent the cost for around $200.  Still yet to really find any feedback from those actually looking to buy, here’s what they would or would not see when looking at vacant properties.

Image of Vacant Property As Seen Online

Image of Vacant Property As Seen Online

Image of Property Virtually Staged As Seen Online

Image of Property Virtually Staged As Seen Online

Image of Property When Seen by in Real Life

Image of Property When Seen in Real Life

Does that virtual depiction make a difference when it comes down to choosing what to buy?  Builders have been doing it for years, and it does seem to be an effective way to save marketing dollars.  But the question remains, is it deceiving to lure a buyer into a property that appears to be staged when in fact it is not?

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

You must be logged in to post a comment.