More often than not, a home is a person's single largest financial investment. As such, it is critical to find the best marketing strategies when selling a home. Staging is an important part of a real estate marketing plan, and should be considered in order to sell the home faster and for the most money. Realtors may suggest a staging consultation is needed for an occupied home, or recommend full staging services complete with rental furniture and accessories for all or key rooms in a vacant home. A virtual staging consultation saves time and money by discussing staging advice over the phone after analyzing real photos of a property by email. The use of virtual staging software may be a lower cost marketing tool for vacant homes, but may not be as effective as actual home staging. There are many differences between these types of staging strategies.
Virtual staging is the process of making computer renderings of an interior design concept from a digital photograph of a room to help potential buyers visualize a space. These renderings are often used by builders and investors in the marketing of new construction homes or rehab properties. The illustrations may be used to show flooring, cabinetry, finishes and other material options, especially during the pre-construction or development phase. The virtual photos may also indicate what a future home remodeling project could look like, and is useful to show decorating ideas to clients. However, actual staging for a vacant home, or model home staging for a new community, has proven to be most effective.
Professional home staging uses property styling techniques that appeal to the target buyer demographic to make a home look its best and stand out from the competition. With staging, furniture and accessories are brought in and artfully placed to highlight aspects of the home. Unlike virtual, actual staging helps to create an emotional connection with buyers and a welcoming feel that they will find attractive in the home.
Most people first browse real estate listings online when shopping for a home. The virtually staged pictures may spark initial interest online, but often appears misleading and ineffective when an empty home is viewed in person. The home may also require more updates than what is shown in the photo diminishing the home's perceived value. Potential buyers visiting the home may still question the size of the space as well as furniture layout since there is no point of reference without actual furniture. Staging is effective when it romances the buyer in person. They need to fall in love with a home and develop an “at home” feel in order to decide that this is the home for them.
Marian Jacobsen, owner of Distinctive Styling, is a professional home stager showcasing properties for homeowners, realtors, builders and investors throughout northern and central New Jersey.
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