THE WORLD IS A (VIRTUAL) STAGE
Article by: John Watkins, Nashville Home Inspection
February 2013 Newsletter
According to recent National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) statistics, up to 90 percent of all home buyers are starting their home search using their fingers rather than their feet (or their car keys). Other data suggests that 63 percent of buyers drove by or walked through a home after an on-line search.
Some of the places buyers stop to view home listings are not the familiar real estate names from years past, but instead are called Zillow, Redfin, Trulia and Craigslist.
For some sellers, home staging may entail storing personal belongings and renting furniture and accessories for their home to accentuate its best features. With virtual home staging, however, while the personal belongings are still stored, the empty house is filled not with rental furniture, but with virtual furniture.
Why consider virtual staging? Some real estate agents suggest that selling a home works best when a home can capture a buyer’s imagination. Virtual home staging helps make that happen by highlighting a home’s best features, to make sure those features are what a buyer notices first. Staging in this way ensures that a home’s potential is clearly visible to potential buyers.
What staging a home isn’t… is the doctoring of photos to show a falsified version of a home. Virtual home stagers do not hide damage, add rooms, remove walls, or change countertops to trick a prospective buyer. Instead, stagers place images of attractive furniture, décor, area rugs, art and mirrors in a space to transform plaster and wood into a warm and inviting home.
How does it work? Some virtual stagers use software to determine the exact dimensions of a room from a photo supplied by the seller. Then a 3D modeler adds appropriate and fashionable models of furniture, paintings and decorative items into the room model. Once the seller is satisfied, a digital file is created. The process has been refined in recent years so that the final pictures are “virtually” photo-realistic. Depending on the company, virtual staging cost may range from around $200 to $400 or more (approximately ten percent of the cost of traditional staging).
What are some of the secrets of both 2D and 3D home staging? When it’s time to sell, turn that office back into the third bedroom that it was meant to be. If there is a formal dining room, don’t show it as a family room. Buyers can use their own imagination but should first be allowed to visualize rooms the way they were meant to be utilized.
If rooms are too dark, a mirror can reflect light and serve as a faux window, allowing the room to feel brighter and more open.
Even though most room furnishings will be absent, the few that remain should be arranged around the seat with the best vantage point. This will help create a focal point in the space.
The phrases “clean” and “neutral” cannot be used too often when it comes to showcasing a bathroom. To give a bath the feel of a spa, white linens and towels will repeat the themes of order, cleanliness and luxury.
For very little cost, kitchens can look more contemporary simply through a hardware update. Brass hardware is out-of-date, with pulls and handles in silver or brushed silver much more desirable.
Source: John Watkins, Nashville Home Inspection, February 2013 newsletter (February 5, 2013) | Blog, In The News, distribution provided by Kenneth Bargers and Bargers Solutions, member of Pilkerton Realtors, residential real estate services located in Nashville, Tennessee