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Vacant home? Try virtual staging
With a flick of a magic wand, a magician can make objects quickly appear and disappear, to the delight of audiences. Sellers with an empty residence for sale can perform a similar trick by making furniture appear in their empty homes to try to please potential home shoppers.
Virtual home staging uses software to easily transform photos of vacant living spaces into images digitally enhanced with handsomely furnished and decorated rooms that can be displayed in an online listing to attract prospective buyers, the vast majority of whom begin their house hunting on the Internet.
Unlike traditional home staging - which involves either rearranging or enhancing existing furniture and décor within a living space, or temporarily substituting these elements with attractive and updated “borrowed” furnishings - virtual staging is much simpler and cheaper; virtually enhancing a room can be done for anywhere from $50 to $150 per photo and eliminates the need for bringing in/moving out furniture.
“Virtual staging allows someone to see the interior of a home online in a way that helps them understand the space by picturing it with furniture, which usually has an updated, contemporary feel and shows no clutter,” says Douglas Pinter, creator of inFormed Space, a New York firm that provides prop furniture for home staging. “The intent is to encourage the viewer to see the property in person.”
However, traditional home staging is often preferable to prevent shoppers from feeling deceived if they visit the home and don't see the furnishings shown in the virtually staged images, says Kinnaird Fox, associate broker with Fenwick Keats Real Estate in New York.
“Real furniture helps define a space. Many people are unable to visualize how they would use a space when it's empty,” says Fox.
For sellers with a tight budget, Leigh Newport, owner of Staged by Design in Sterling, Virginia, suggests traditional staging on a few high-impact rooms - the main level and master bedroom and bathroom.
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