Curious about virtual staging? In today’s competitive real estate market, first impressions happen in a millisecond online, or more specifically, on a phone. Potential buyers make quick decisions based on how a property is presented online, and high-quality visuals can significantly impact their perception of a property. Physically staging a home can be a costly, labor-intensive process that’s a big ask for most clients. As technology continues to advance, virtual staging has emerged as a powerful tool for real estate agents to showcase properties in their best light to attract potential buyers.
Although not for every client, it’s worth understanding this innovative approach to enhance your marketing strategies and drive sales. For instance, it’s important to note that virtual staging rules may vary depending on local regulations and industry standards. That’s why it’s always best to consult with your local real estate association and adhere to the guidelines provided by your brokerage or agency.
Here are some practical virtual staging rules to make the technology more helpful to your work as a real estate agent::
Always disclose that the images are virtually staged
This can be done through watermarks, captions, or written disclosures accompanying the images.
Represent the property accurately
Virtual staging should not mislead potential buyers or misrepresent the actual condition or layout of the property. The virtual staging should accurately reflect the current state of the property and should not create unrealistic expectations for potential buyers.
Use high-quality images
Virtual staging images should be of high quality and realistic, so that they effectively showcase the property and provide an accurate representation of the potential for the space.
Virtual staging should not alter or remove any structural or design features of the property that are not present in reality. For example, virtual staging should not remove walls, add windows, or alter the floor plan.
Follow copyright and licensing laws
Ensure that you have the proper licensing and permission to use any virtual staging images or software. Always comply with copyright laws when using virtual staging materials from third-party sources.
Use consistent virtual staging
If multiple virtual staging images are used for a property, they should be consistent in style, color scheme, and design. This creates a cohesive and realistic virtual representation of the property that’s appealing to the eye.
Virtual staging should not include any discriminatory elements that may violate fair housing laws, such as staging that targets specific demographics or implies preferences based on race, religion, gender, disability, or any other protected characteristic.
Disclose limitations of virtual staging
Be sure to remind potential buyers of the fact that the furniture and decor shown in the virtual staging images are not included with the property, and that the actual space may appear different in person.
Respond to any questions or concerns about the virtual staging process honestly and accurately.
It’s important to remember that virtual staging is a marketing tool and should be used responsibly and ethically to accurately represent the property and provide potential buyers with a clear and realistic understanding of the space. Always adhere to local regulations, industry standards, and ethical guidelines when using virtual staging in real estate marketing.
While apps like Cedar Architect, RoOomy and Visual Stager make it easy to DIY a virtual staging, it’s also worth considering utilizing the assistance of a professional virtual stager. Rather than adding another task to your to-do list, a virtual staging designer will charge by the room (sometimes as little as $5 per room) and provide the eye for design as well as doing the “heavy” lifting of bringing a room together on a screen.