Why Virtual Home Staging Doesn’t Work

sofaThere was recently an article in the Boston Globe called Virtual staging draws attention of home buyers that said that virtual home staging is an effective, inexpensive sales tool for today’s tech savvy buyers. While we agree that it’s less expensive that actual staging, virtual home staging is not effective at creating an emotional connection for the buyer. Virtual home staging does not engage the buyer’s emotions or make them feel “at home”. A buyer usually tours a home because they saw compelling photos online. When they arrive at the home, they expect to see the same home they saw in the photos; they do not want to see an empty home. We’ve talked to many real estate agents and they have told us that unless the home looks the way it does in the MLS photos, buyers feel angry, as if they are the victims of a “bait and switch”. This is definitely NOT the reaction a buyer should have when arriving at a home.When a buyer tours a vacant home, there is nothing to capture their emotions. In fact, they are more critical of the home, because even small flaws such as mismatched outlet covers or a poor paint job, stand out when there is no furniture or home décor. Buyers are much less likely to purchase a vacant home. In fact, they spend an average of only five minutes in a vacant home compared to 40 minutes in a staged home – according to a HomeGain 2011 Home Improvement National Survey.The Boston Globe article goes on to state that for virtual home staging the room’s measurements are not taken, and the real estate agent requests the “amount and style of furniture”. This can not only lead to a home being styled improperly, but the size of the room can appear misleading. In the example below, you see a room in a home that we actually staged on the left, and a virtually staged mock up of the same room on the right, using photos of the same and similar furniture we staged with.

staged living roomStaged
virtually staged living roomVirtually Staged
The photo of the room that was actually staged (left) shows the true scale of the room. With virtual home staging (right) the room appears larger than it actually is, by placing more furniture at a smaller than normal scale. This is very evident with the dark leather ottoman. In the photo on the left you see the true size of the ottoman. In the PhotoShopped photo on the right, the ottoman has been scaled down to appear that it would fit in the room.Can you imagine the disappointment of buyers when they come to a home expecting to see a furnished home, and see a vacant home instead? If you were a buyer, which scenario below would you prefer? Please note – the carpet was in the process of being replaced when we toured the home and took the “before” photo (right) below.Scenario 1: Virtually Staged Home
furnished living roomWhat buyers see on MLS
empty living roomWhat buyers see in person
Scenario 2: Actual Staged Home
staged living roomWhat buyers see on MLS
staged living roomWhat buyers see in person
Buyers Desire Home Staging is a professional home staging service that uses rental furniture for vacant homes, along with décor, art, plants and soft goods from our large inventory. We believe that our professional home staging service is an overall better value, leading to fewer days on market and in many cases, multiple offers. While virtual home staging may be less expensive up front, in the long run it will cost much more in carrying costs, price reductions, and lower offers when you don’t truly stage your vacant home.If you’d like to read more about the disadvantages of virtual home staging, you can read our previous blog Virtual Home Staging vs. Actual Home Staging in Boston.Download our Savings By Staging worksheet to see how Buyers Desire Home Staging can help you reach your home selling goals.Click to DownloadCall us for a FREE in-home consultation at 781-489-8489, and come on the market strong!SaveSaveSave