Table of contents:
- Home Staging Explained
- Trouble Staging a Home?
- What is Virtual Staging (VS)?
- Why VS Might be Worth It
- Use VS Common Sense
- VS Pitfalls to Avoid
- Ensure VS Best Results
- Perfect VS Software
- VS Software: roOomy
So you’ve been using Home Value Lead’s product for a while and have generated a ton of home seller leads which have resulted in listings. What do you do with all those listings? You need to make them attractive for buyers, and how do you do that? With Home Staging!
Home Staging Explained
Before understanding virtual staging, we must understand its predecessor, home staging. Around 1999, real estate agents discovered that if they staged homes for sale, they could sell more of them.
By staging a home, we mean putting in furniture, hanging paintings, or photos, and putting in electrical appliances that signal to potential buyers what a home might look like when fully outfitted.
Real estate agents have found great success by creating ideal homes. Instead of selling shells and relying on buyers to use their imaginations, real estate agents outfitted homes for sale with an image of what the home might look like.
Learn how to get seller leads with our home valuation landing pages
Everybody loves real estate drone photography and video. Here’s a quick realtor tip: When editing your virtual stage videos you can make the introduction and closing scenes using the best drone pictures and videos that you took to make your video stunning and increase lead conversion rate.
Clean, comfortable, and an exciting place to call home. Providing those impressions is the goal with home staging. Agents that became great home stagers ended up selling more homes.
Home staging has become close to a necessity in today’s real estate agent industry. It’s so important that companies exist to specifically help real estate agents stage their homes for sale.
Although home staging is necessary and helps real estate agents sell more homes, there is a major pitfall: cost. The cost to stage homes has only risen. Companies that stage homes must sell their services at a premium.
If real estate agents wish to stage homes themselves, they must gather the necessary furniture, paintings or photographs, plants, appliances, pretty much anything for their ideal home.
Doing so costs money and time. It takes money to secure rental contracts for artwork and furniture.
It takes money to secure the movement of pieces for home staging. It takes money to take out the furniture, artwork, appliances, etc., once a home has sold.
Some real estate agents found that staging homes, or using a home staging service, ate into their home sale profits. For many real estate agents, home staging costs do not justify the rewards.
The solution? Virtual staging. With virtual staging, real estate agents can cut home staging costs. Virtual staging is a quickly growing segment in the real estate agent industry.
Trouble Staging a Home? Virtually Stage It!
Cost is the number one reason not to traditionally home stage a house. For real estate agents that are first starting out, it’s almost impossible to traditionally home stage a residence. They don’t have the funds.
How much cost are we talking about here? Per Realtor.com, the average cost for a home staging consultation is $300 to $600.
The average cost to stage a room per month is $500 to $600. That’s per month. If the house is a slow mover, the costs can significantly add up!
Real estate agents have no reason to worry, though. If they can’t afford to physically home stage, they can turn to virtual home staging.
What is Virtual Staging?
Well, virtual staging is all about the software. Also, if you are thinking about mixing both worlds as an agent, real and virtual, an open house idea is a great complement to virtual staging as you can provide future clients more ideas of how their home could look like.
But back to the software part. Even though virtual staging is all about the software, it’s more than just the software. Virtual staging is cheaper than home staging. It allows real estate agents to virtually stage a home.
When you stage a home when you put specific furniture, art on the walls, plants on a coffee table, etc. you make a home look more attractive to potential buyers.
Virtual staging allows you to do all of that online. You mustn’t spring for the cost of furniture, moving furniture, cleaning the home, putting in plants, live or not, or doing anything else to the home to get it ready to show.
Think of all of the other tools that have dramatically enhanced the real estate industry. You probably wish you’d implemented them earlier. This is one of those tools. Home staging works great in real estate Facebook ads. The visuals are very attractive to the naked eye and work well to engage your audience.
Why Virtual Staging Might be Worth It
No doubt, a traditionally home staged residence will sell faster than a virtually staged residence. However, using real estate tech like virtual staging might be worth it.
There are some positives to virtually staging a home as opposed to traditionally staging a home:
- Virtual staging costs less – $500 to $600 per room per month can add up to thousands of dollars that many real estate agents don’t have. It costs significantly less to virtually stage a home.
- Virtual furniture isn’t real – Furniture, art work, everything in a traditionally staged home is worth something. In a virtually staged home the furniture and art work aren’t real. There’s no chance of someone breaking or defacing the furniture or artwork. Nobody will steal any of the towels or kitchen utensils.
- Virtually staged homes allow for freedom – Traditionally staged homes are great, but real estate agents don’t have the same freedom when they traditionally stage a home than they would if they virtually staged a home. When real estate agents traditionally stage a home, they must use what’s available to them. They can’t pick and choose.
Expounding upon this idea of staging freedom allows us to see the real value in virtual staging.
When a real estate agent pays the initial $300 to $600 for a home staging consultation, the home stager automatically chooses furniture they have available to them.
Here’s an analogy:
When we go to the doctor, the doctor often describes medicine that they discovered via a pharmaceutical pitch. Does the doctor really know if that medicine is better for you than other medicine? Maybe. Maybe not.
The same is true for home staging consultants. They stage homes based on a) their preferences, and b) what they have available to stage the home with, or c) what they know their suppliers have available. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any good home stagers out there. There are! But, real estate agents should be aware of how professional home stagers think before signing up with one.
Now that we’ve got a good idea of the benefits of virtual staging, let’s get to the nuts and bolts.
Virtual Staging for Lead Generation
Acquiring and converting leads is undoubtedly a top priority. In any real estate lead generation strategy, you need a way to measure the success rate. A lead conversion rate is the percentage of leads that have turned into customers. Obviously, you always want this percentage to increase.
One great way to secure leads is to stand out from the competition. Virtual Staging is still a rarity and can truly add uniqueness to your strategy. It’s a way to appeal to either seller or buyer leads. Let’s look at practical ways virtual staging can help in this process.
Including VS in your Seller Pages
The main concern of any homeowner trying to sell their home is finding a way to sell their property quickly and for an ideal price. Sellers are also looking for a way to make their property look as desirable as possible. This can be achieved through virtual staging.
As a realtor, you can showcase virtual staging on seller landing pages by using before and after images of a demo house that’s been virtually staged. You can use statistical data to show how much faster beautifully staged houses sell. Lastly, you can include testimonials that talk up VS as a service. The service should then ideally be automated.
Automation may include allowing the buyer to upload clear and well-taken photos of their property. Perhaps, have a tutorial on how to take good photos for staging. Additionally, you can have some typical ‘style options’ and color schemes that the seller can choose from.
Be creative as to how to make the process as streamlined as possible. A better way to do this is to design the page from the perspective of a seller. Allow colleagues/friends to interact with the page and give you feedback about user-friendliness etc.
When securing legitimate buyers, the strategy is simpler. Including virtual staging in the real estate listings can show the potential of each property. Allow for virtual tours any day of the week and at times that suit the buyer. Always disclose that the images do not reflect the true status of the property.
Using VS in your Facebook Ads
Using Facebook for real estate lead generation can yield great results when used correctly. Facebook continues to generate more leads for real estate agents on a daily and even yearly basis than any social media site on the Internet. The demographic using Facebook usually have greater capital and are more inclined to buy/sell a house.
There are some basic checkpoints that should be covered for successful real estate Facebook ads. An obvious tip is to make use of striking visuals. A way to put an advert above the competition is to use staged images of the property. A virtual tour can allow prospective clients to engage with the advert in a very stimulating way.
Virtual tours make use of 360-degree photos. Luckily facebook allows these images to be embedded. This is an immersive experience for the prospective buyer. It also appeals to sellers as it makes the property appear modern and in demand.
Virtual open house tours can also be conducted using Facebook. These tours are convenient because they can occur any time of the day. The images can also be used in video adverts.
It can be overwhelming when generating leads from scratch. If you don’t know where to start on how to get real estate leads, Facebook is a great tool for beginners as there are so many resources out there. Even HomeValueLeads offers a service that will help you set up your Facebook Ads campaign to start generating those leads right away.
Target homeowners searching for VS ideas
Using targeted google ad campaigns have become non-negotiable in recent years. This is a way of allowing a niche target audience to come to you. Most of the types of adverts rely on what the target audience searches for on Google. Commonly searched words or phrases are then used in the ad campaign.
Even if you are not using visuals in your campaign, you can still obtain leads by making use of keywords pertaining to virtual staging. We recommend you include the keyword “virtual stage” or variations of those keywords on your Google Ads campaigns targeted to realtors.
Additionally, keywords related to virtual staging have a monthly average volume of 13,550 searches (data extracted from Google Ads tool in June 2021). It is a growing trend that will only rise in popularity due to reduced in-person showings. This serves as an incentive to start advertising sooner and gain credibility in this niche.
Google and Facebook ads target different audiences. In a Google Search Campaign, there is an “intent” on the buyer’s part to find you. The person who Googles “Virtual Stage” already knows what they want.
In a Facebook campaign, you are targeting people who (based on their demographic, lifestyle, behaviors, interests) might possibly be interested in what you have to offer. Both can create great leads, but google ad responders are further along the conversion funnel.
Use Virtual Staging Common Sense
Effective virtual staging is about common sense.
What you should do to create the perfectly virtually staged home:
- Think about the entire room
Let’s say that you find the perfect image of a couch on whatever virtual staging software you’re using. So, you drop the couch into the living room. Then, you find what you think is the perfect coffee table. You drop that into the room.
Perfect couch and perfect coffee table. What could go wrong? For starters, do the coffee table and couch create an aesthetically pleasing room? Or, are both just aesthetically pleasing on their own?
If whatever you put into your room only exists as a beautiful piece on its own, what’s the point? You must consider the entire room before deciding on the exact pieces of furniture. Staging is about the full effect of a room, not just a specific piece.
- When in doubt, go with white with splashes of color
The fantastic blue couch might look great when you first see it, but it may not work with the full black coffee table and that stark red loveseat isn’t doing you any favors either.
What to do in this situation? How about white? White won’t offend anyone. You can also add flowers to contrast something like a white couch as well as throw pillows to really bring the entire look together.
In the bathroom, you might not be able to use white as much. Still, be careful about what color you choose. Colors affect moods. So, be sure you’re not going to put anyone in a bad mood with your color pallet.
- Put yourself in the viewers’ shoes
If you don’t think like a viewer, how will you know the staging work you’ve done will have the desired effect?
Take a step back and think like a viewer. Potential home buyers will look at your virtual staging and consider how they might move through the home. It’s not just about creating a pretty picture. It’s about putting the viewer into the home as if you had staged it in real life.
That’s the key. The feeling a potential buyer might get moving inside the home in real life must translate through your virtual staging. It’s not easy. But, if you take a moment to think like a viewer, you can accomplish it.
On the other hand, aim to inspire sellers that might find your images on real estate landing pages or adverts of listings. If they think the staging dramatically improves the look of each room they may feel even more enthusiastic about selling. It’s important to make sellers feel like their house has a greater shot on the market if virtually staged.
- Think about what you’d like to see
Consider what you’d like to see if you were a potential buyer. If you’re a real estate agent who owns your own home, did you view a staged home? Have you ever walked into a staged home? If so, what did you think? How did it make you feel?
Were you critical about how the real estate agent staged the home? Also, there’s nothing wrong with borrowing from a peer. Ask their opinion if you trust them. Better yet, see how they’ve staged the homes they’ve sold.
- Have fun and create that lived in moment
If you concentrate too hard on making everything perfect, there’s no way your virtually staged home will have the live-in feel. Unless you’re selling a model home, you want to make sure that viewers see themselves living inside the home for sale.
They must imagine what it would be like to sit on the couch, sleep in the bed, wash up in the bathroom, and cook in the kitchen. Have fun while you put together your virtually staged home for sale and more than likely everything will seem natural.
Virtual Staging Pitfalls to Avoid
Now that we know what we should do as real estate agents to virtually stage a home, we want to stay away from the following virtual staging pitfalls.
- Go overboard
This goes without saying, but before skipping over #1 and moving to #2 consider how easy it is to go overboard. So many great images exist pretty much with every staging software that real estate agents could easily get out of control.
If you’re not virtually staging Kim Kardashian’s home, don’t make it look like Kim lives there. Don’t ever forget the lived-in feel. Homebuyers will most likely purchase the residence to live in it. Definitely make it clean-looking, but don’t go overboard and make it look too posh or flashy.
Facebook marketing tips for real estate agents include the effective use of virtual staging in Facebook ads. This includes the proper use of space, line, forms, light, colour, texture, and pattern.
Many free educational decor resources exist online. So you can easily learn how these forms work together to create aesthetically pleasing rooms. Then you should be safe from creating anything too over the top.
- Overthink things
Overthinking things can lead to a stodgy virtually staged home. You must think about how the entire room looks, but you can’t worry about every single detail. If you do, you could end up taking a week to get your virtually staged home up, which means you’re wasting time trying to get the virtual version of your home for sale together while you could be working to sell it.
- Forget to get someone else’s opinion before going live
Don’t go live, don’t publish, until you’ve gotten someone else’s opinion. Just like any art, you need someone to critically consider your work before publishing. Take their criticism with a grain of salt, though.
Just because someone has an opinion, it doesn’t mean that you must go with it. Always criticize the criticism even if you do it internally.
- Get too cute
Cute is okay, but you can get too cute. Remember, whomever sees your virtually staged home will probably want to live in it. Cuteness can be a turn off if it’s too much.
- Try to make things look overly sleek
The flip side of cute is sleek. Sleek can be nice. But, it’s not always a good idea. First, this is a virtually staged home. If it looks like a show room for the furniture, that will turn off potential home buyers. Second, sleek is often expensive. Remember, the images you put into your virtually staged home are just images. Third, sleek often is overly effective. What we mean by that is sleek gives the impression that it’s the only way to outfit a home.
Make sure your virtually staged home doesn’t look too sleek. Sleek is good. Too sleek will turn off home buyers.
Ensure Virtual Staging Best Results
How can real estate agents ensure best results when virtually staging a home? That’s the most important question. Virtual staging is meaningless unless it’s effective. Effective virtual staging starts with great software.
Virtual staging software provides the platform for real estate agents to stage homes. Like not all home staging companies are the same, not all virtual staging software is the same. Before getting into what you should look for in software, see below for the top 5 things great virtual staging software provides.
- Supports what you’re trying to accomplish
The only reason to purchase any software for anything is if it helps us complete tasks. When it comes to virtual staging, we should have an idea of what we’re trying to accomplish. Because we don’t want to continually purchase virtual staging software, it will help if we write down exactly what we expect to accomplish from our software.
Not all virtual staging software is the same. Some provide benefits like customer service while others don’t. Also, staging software interfaces are different. So, always consider the software you purchase in conjunction with what you intend on doing with it.
- Provides images that don’t go out of style
Once you start virtually staging homes for sale, you’re going to learn rather quickly that what was hot and in last year isn’t necessarily hot and in this year. Sometimes, styles change in the matter of months. Not only that, but you must always consider your audience.
Who’s your audience? That’s easy. Your audience is anybody who might purchase the home you’re staging. That’s it. Your audience isn’t anybody else outside of those individuals. Sounds easy enough, right?
Nope. Because you have no idea who might see your home for sale, you have no idea in what style to stage your home. That means you must think about purchasing software that includes images that never go out of style.
It’s really the only way to ensure you virtually stage a home for sale that won’t turn off any buyers. You must use images that cross styles without being boring.
- Easy to use
Not all software interfaces are the same. Hopefully, you get a chance to try out a few interfaces before settling on the right staging software for you. Some interfaces are easy to use while other interfaces take more time.
Just like the best real estate landing pages are most successful when they cater to the user, staging software is no different. You need all of the features as well as access to resources and tutorials to guide you through the process.
Settle for something easy to use but which also produces excellent images. Ease of use means the whole package: a great interface that allows you to virtually stage a home, which doesn’t give you any trouble and provides the necessary images.
Failing which will be a waste of time and money.
- Realizes it’s only a tool
The very best software knows that it’s only a tool. By this we mean that the best virtual staging software doesn’t make decisions for you. Instead, it allows you, the real estate agent, to make those decisions.
That makes sense when you think about it. If a real estate agent uses the same virtual staging software as everyone else and that staging software makes decisions for the real estate agent, the idea of home staging as art goes out the window.
You always want to maintain control. Choose software that’s a tool, not the final word in staging.
- Provides assistance and direction
The best software is a tool that provides a fair amount of assistance and direction. Most real estate agents don’t have an innate ability to home stage. That means for most real estate agents, they must spend some time learning the best way to stage homes for sale. This is true even if they employ software to virtually stage their homes.
Once a real estate agent becomes adept at virtually staging homes, the agent can then disregard any type of assistance or direction. Getting to that point could take time, though.
Find the Perfect Virtual Staging Software
You want to find the perfect staging software for you. The best way to know what software will work for you is to compare and contrast that software. Below, we compare 6 different staging software.
6 Virtual Staging Software Compared
The Pitch: Virtual Staging Solutions gives the impression that it’s the big dog on the block. Like most of the sites on this list, the company provides a virtually staged photo on their home page. The staged photo, of a home in Laguna Beach, CA, perfectly demonstrates how the software can help real estate agents.
One thing Virtual Staging Solutions does in its pitch is only give snippets of information. For example, they write something like, “Be Ahead of the Game. Surprise and delight buyers and sellers. Stand out from competitors, presell new builds, get buyers into their dream home and help sellers show the potential of their property.”
That’s all well and good, but they don’t give hard specifics about how they do it.
Cost: Virtual Staging Solutions charges $59 per photo. That’s much more than either BoxBrownie or VRX Staging.
The Pitch: While companies like BoxBrownie and Virtual Staging Solutions pitch their customer service, Visual Stager has decided to do something different. From Visual Stager’s perspective, real estate agents know exactly what they want. They don’t need help from outside sources.
Visual Stager has decided to be the low-cost leader in virtual staging software. They make no bones about this. On their home page, they describe their software as a “DYI Virtual Staging Software”. Their pitch line is, “The do-it-yourself virtual home staging software that lets you stage your photos in minutes!”
Virtual Stager provides a 4-stage, self-service process for real estate agents to virtually stage a home:
- Click – Click a photo and upload it to Virtual Stager
- Erase – Optionally have them remove any other furniture
- Stage – Select photos, click, drag, and stage
- Flare – Save on the cloud as a flarelet, or share staged photos as JPEGS
Cost: Real estate agents purchase credits and then they use those credits to stage a photo. To stage a single photo costs $15. If you prepay, the cost per drops to $6.99. You must prepay $700 to get the $6.99 per unit rate.
The Pitch: PadStyler fashions itself a virtual staging company for the everyday real estate agent even though they pitch the fact that Drew Scott from Property Brothers has used their services. It offers you the chance to chat with one of their representatives so that you can get to know exactly what differentiates them from their competitors.
Cost: Although the website gives off a friendlier feel, PadStyler does charge $59 per photo just like Virtual Staging Solutions. That’s a lot for a photo.
Virtual Staging Lab
The Pitch: You’d be forgiven if you confused Virtual Staging Solutions and Virtual Staging Lab with one another. Both created sites in the new, modern, style. Like Virtual Staging Solutions, Virtual Staging Lab purports to be experts in staging homes online for real estate agents.
Cost: Virtual Staging Lab charges $40 per photo. They offer discounts to help with the cost per unit.
The Pitch: BoxBrownie’s main pitch is that they use technology to provide the best possible customer service. BoxBrownie makes a point to say that they’re cloud-based. They also offer a 3 image free trial.
BoxBrownie doesn’t charge a subscription rate. Per their site, “Pay only for what you use with no subscriptions – just pay one fixed low rate per image.”
Cost: BoxBrownie’s rate is $32 per image.
The Pitch: VRX Staging says that they can get virtually staged photos back within 2 days. VRX Staging wishes to sell their services on “speed.”
Cost: VRX Staging charges $35 per photo
Although Virtual Staging Solutions, Visual Stager, PadStyler, Virtual Staging Lab, Box Brownie and VRX Staging are all possible choices, in our research we found roOmy to offer the best value for the cost.
The Ultimate Real Estate Virtual Staging Software: roOmy
To us, roOomy is the top virtual staging software on the market. What is roOomy and why does it get the Home Value Leads stamp of approval? Check it out!
What is roOomy?
roOomy is a tech company that provides virtual staging for real estate agents, home furnishing companies and interior designers. If you’re looking for a cool, cost-effective and relatively easy way to visualize a room with a specific style and set of furniture and decor, then this is the tool for you.
roOomy allows you to upload a photo of every room in a house and to choose from more than 100,000 furniture and household items to decorate it.
How does roOomy work?
The team at roOomy has made it super easy to not only get started but to get your virtual staging complete in a relatively short period of time. It all begins with a simple contact form to let them know what you need and to submit your listing images.
From there, the roOomy team will get to work to create custom 3D images of your newly stage rooms. They actually style the rooms for you. It’s like having a personal interior designer staging your listings.
You approve the proofs of your staged images then receive high-res, realistic-looking images to use. You will also receive a web link to embed your images in case you’d like to include on a page in your website or on your blog.
More info about roOomy
You didn’t think the roOomy team would have all the fun, did you? You and even your clients can use the roOomy app to stage a listing on any iPad. Augmented reality is another awesome feature, using the roOomy Reality app built for Google Tango.
Don’t let the cost of traditionally staging a home stop you. Staging is necessary. Homes that are staged sell 73% faster. With tools like roOomy, real estate agents like you can virtually stage any room.
The benefit of using roOomy is that you’re not alone in the staging process. roOomy’s team will style your rooms for you. No problem if you don’t like it because you have the chance to change things up as well.
By virtually staging your homes for sale with roOomy, you can get the same home staging feel that you would if you traditionally staged it. No matter if you use roOomy or not, make sure to not be afraid, virtually stage!