A link to a “virtual home staging” site was sent to me recently, and naturally, I had to investigate.
Ahhh … the wonders of Photoshop. The owners of this site will take uploaded photos of your vacant rooms and plug in furniture to make it appear furnished. The “after” photos actually look pretty good, although some are a bit obvious in their illusion.
We know that vacant houses don’t show well and buyers have a hard time visualizing the best use of an empty space, especially in photos. We also know that most home buyers start their shopping on the internet, so it seems that this would be a great idea to draw visitors in to view the property.
But what happens when the potential buyer visits the property in person and discovers that they are standing in the middle of a vacant house? Would they be disappointed? Probably. They may, in fact, feel like they’ve been duped. And quite frankly, they have.
A buyer makes an offer on a house when they have been able to emotionally bond with the property. They see the rooms, but more importantly, they feel the home. That’s the whole idea behind home staging … to create a flow and ambiance that buyers will connect with. Photos can only do so much, which is why most people don’t buy a house without touring it personally.
With packages starting at $225 for photos of three rooms and increasing with each additional room on this particular site, it seems like a steep price to pay to deceive a potential buyer. But hey, you have to admire an entrepreneur with a new angle! As a hand’s-on home stager though, I think your money would be much better spent hiring a real live person to install real live furnishings to create tangible warmth in the property. Nice photos may get buyers in the door, but they won’t keep them there.