Virtual Staging Adds Imagination (and is, in Fact, Imaginary!)
If you set your sites on selling your Nashville home in short order for the best price, one of the most reliable ways to add to your effort is to introduce effective home staging. If you have the requisite artistic flair and some time to devote to the project, you can try your hand at staging your house yourself. Alternatively, you can turn the project over to a professional Nashville staging company. And for quite a while now, there is a third alternative. The importance of good staging is undeniable. It is sometimes called “the gentle art of temporarily redecorating a house”—and it’s a gentle art that’s been found to be an effective adjunct to many a home’s marketing campaign. The National Association of Realtors® research shows that staged homes are on the market for 17 days fewer than comparable non-staged listings (the national average is 14 days vs. 31). Although hiring professional stagers has a cost, it’s often pointed out that it is likely to be less than what a first reduction in selling price would run. Home staging is said to have gotten its first impetus in the early 1970s, when a student of theater began working in real estate. The stagecraft approach proved effective, and eventually evolved into a professional service that can be offered and many differing levels of involvement—all the way from simply rearranging furniture to emptying a house out and filling it with rented furniture. One of the most common staging precepts for Nashville homes is that, since first impressions are so important, it should be completed before MLS photos are taken. That’s where that third staging alternative comes in: it’s strictly for the photos. This is the kind of staging that isn’t even what you might call “real.” It’s virtual. Yes, the age of virtual staging is now well established. When vacant real estate will make for lifeless, uninspiring pictures, a little “advanced 3D rendering technology” can come to the rescue. “Digitally furnish any home so it looks its best…all you need are photos or a floor plan” promises one of the leaders in the field. Owners send in photos of empty (or nearly empty) rooms, and the virtual staging company sends back photos decorated with sofas, wall paintings, draperies, beds, dining room tables, chandeliers, carpeting—any number of décor items that add atmosphere and style to the original. Believe it or not, they really look real! But they aren’t. The argument in favor of this approach is that virtual staging accomplishes what any staging is meant to do: it helps potential buyers imagine how they might choose to decorate a room or household. The price is a fraction of traditional staging (a single room can cost as little as $49), and the turnaround time is a matter of days. The downside is that, whereas the listing photos for a traditionally staged home looks like what prospective buyers experience when they make an in-person visit, the virtually-staged property looks quite different. Unless the buyer has been properly prepared, that could be quite a letdown! Home staging—virtual and otherwise—is just one example of the many tools available to assist today’s Nashville home sellers. Give me a call to explore how we can put them to work for you!