Let's talk about Virtual Staging pros and cons when compared to Traditional Staging. This is a question that comes up a lot, and not every circumstance is created equal. So I want to talk about some of the parameters for you to think through when you're trying to decide what the best option is for your listing in particular.
We're certainly not going to stand here and say it's always one or the other, even though we do Virtual Staging. There are really a lot of factors you need to consider. So let's dive right in and cover some of these main points.
Let's talk about Traditional Staging first, and I will talk about the pros.
The biggest pro, of course, is that buyers have a personal experience as they're walking through that space. It's a physical, tangible experience. The second big pro - the hope at least - is that your listing will stand out in their mind after they have left. Hopefully having the furniture there will make a bigger impression than if it was vacant.
Those are the major pros for Traditional Home Staging.
Now, the con list unfortunately has grown because of Covid-19. But let's just go over the cons.
The biggest con for people has always been the expense. You could be talking about thousands of dollars depending on the size of the home, etc., to stage the home. Now this is a big investment - especially for most average properties. The other thing is that it can be slow; it can be difficult to schedule the staging, it can be difficult to coordinate with owners if the home is occupied, it can be difficult if it's tenant-occupied as well. There's a bit of a lag with Traditional Staging which is not ideal, especially if you're dealing with a hot real estate market. Another con is that moving furniture in and out can potentially cause damage to the home. Now hopefully the stagers are careful and they're going to protect the property! But there is always a small risk with this. And then of course lastly... Covid-19. This has become quite a large con simply because people are reluctant to 1) have the stagers in their home (as sellers), 2) sellers can be reluctant because they don't know where the furniture has been and there are new concerns regarding the illness, and 3) from the buyer's perspective, people are also more reluctant to go in person to homes. And so the investment of Traditional Home Staging really does not yield the same amount of "fruit" as it once did.
Moving over to the Virtual Staging side.... the pros of Virtual Staging:
First, it is of course so much less expensive. You're talking about $39 an image - if you were wanting to Virtually Stage the entire house you're still only talking about a few hundred dollars (depending on the size of the home) vs. that couple of thousand dollars for Traditional Staging. The second thing is that it is very versatile. You have the option with Virtual Staging to stage a room in multiple ways. This can be really amazing if you have, let's say, a bonus room or some kind of undefined area - you can showcase it as a home office, you can showcase it as a second living area, you can showcase it as a game room... there's lots of options to get the buyers' wheels turning and get them thinking about ways that they can be using this home as their future home. The versatility is really a big plus with Virtual Staging. Thirdly, the first impression that Virtual Staging gives as far as the online listing presentation (the photos), this is a great first impression at very little cost. So even though with Traditional Staging you also have a good first impression, you have the cost... so I'm putting this as a Pro on the Virtual Staging side because as far as the photos go, you really have the same impression either way. And lastly, Virtual Staging is so much easier - you don't have any scheduling hassles, it doesn't matter if there are tenants, it doesn't matter if the owners are in the middle of boxing things up and so forth, it doesn't matter if the owners have questionable furniture taste, because we can take it out before Virtually Staging it!
The con - and there really is only one con, but it is a con - of Virtual Staging is that when a buyer walks through the property in person, they're not going to see that effect there.
So, in summary, there are definitely different circumstances where you may want to do one or the other. It might depend on the price point of the home; it might depend on how hot the market is; it can depend on a few factors. But these are some of the things to keep in mind as you're making your decision.