How Do You Feel About Virtual Staging?
I need advice from my lovely ActiveRain friends!
I have a very nice listing in an extremely popular neighborhood in South Charlotte, NC. This home is now an inventory home for a relocation company, as the former owners have long since moved on with their new lives. The relocation company has asked me to "virtually stage" this home so buyers can envision the home with furniture.
The idea of virtual staging gives me an icky feeling in my gut, and my gut is usually right! The client may feel this is "thinking outside the box," but I think the opposite.
The home is beautiful. Feedback about the home itself has been positive, as it is nicely appointed and in move-in condition. The price is competitive. I've had lots of showings, but the feedback is consistent...the buyers don't care for the backyard, which has a retaining wall and a steep slope behind it. It's definitely not the home for a family looking for a large, flat backyard that is perfect for flag football. But, the retaining wall is nicely done, and the "hill" is nicely landscaped. We've offered a landscape allowance, but to me, that is not the point. No amount of allowance is going to overcome a steep hill in the backyard. Either it bothers you, or it doesn't.
I have strongly suggested to the "Client," (through the relocation company, as I have never met, spoken to, or corresponded with the "client") that the best strategy would be to take the money being offered as a landscape allowance and hire a great stager to come in and turn the home into Pottery Barn Central. Most people LOVE the Pottery Barn look, and I think good staging would evoke that "emotional connection" that buyers are looking for. And....it may take away some of the negativity of the sloping backyard.
My gut says that virtual staging is just a straw man. Buyers will see a photo of the virtually staged room online, then come for a showing and be disappointed in reality. They will then obsess over the backyard. The "client" wants me to set up easels in the virtually staged rooms with renderings of the virtual furniture. Call me old-fashioned, but I don't think that's going to conger up the warm and fuzzy feeling buyers are looking for.
What is YOUR experience with virtual staging? Does it work? If you've used virtual staging before, why did you choose virtual over real staging? IMHO, I think staging should be left to the real staging professionals.
Please weigh in... How do YOU feel about virtual staging?