Virtual staging for luxury real estate was established 25 years ago in Northern California, the art of staging grew rapidly, earning a reputation as the number one tool to expedite property sales. Why? Because only 10% of the population can look past what they see and visualize a property’s potential. Incredibly, 94.6% of homes that are staged sell within 33 days compared to an average of 196 days for homes that are not staged. It was a no brainer, but one that many sellers and agents had to forego due to cost, complication and liability.
Fast forward to the blossoming digital year of 2010 when Founder and CEO of Virtual Staging LLC, Ilaria Barion, decided to incorporate the emerging concept of ‘virtual’ staging into her business. With new stats indicating that 94% of all home buyers start their search online, and the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, Ilaria saw an opportunity that would allow her to take her company and services to the next level.
Peek inside as she compares and contrasts the cutting edge concept of virtual staging to that of traditional.
The primary difference between traditional and virtual staging is price point. Traditional staging typically starts at the $5000.00 mark and goes up from there. A two bedroom luxury apartment in New York will often require a budget of anywhere between $15,000.00 – $25,000.00 to stage with a minimum three-month contract. What’s worse, the seller is expected to pay this expense requiring a significant amount of convincing by the listing agent.
To virtually stage an empty listing, the required budget drops to a starting point of $195.00 per photograph and $350.00 for decor replacement options. Not only is the difference staggering, it is cost effective enough to make sense for the realtor to cover without question. Liability for damages to the decor and the listing become a non-issue, and buyers benefit from the visuals all the same.
The process of physically staging a property is at a minimum a two-week endeavor. It involves coordination of multiple schedules, including that of a moving company, and often gets pushed back even further if the realtor and designer cannot agree on proper decor once in place.
Virtual staging reduces this timeline to less than half. Realtors simply submit listing photos and leave it to an expert to select appropriate decor. Three business days later, their virtual staging is complete. There is no need for schedule coordination, no need for travel time on anyone’s part and technology takes the lead.
Virtual Staging allows for unique options in ways similar to that of architectural rendering, including but not limited to the following impressive menu:
* Landscape Enhancement
* Furniture and Decor Replacement (for homes that are filled with outdated existing decor)
* Window Treatments
* Expensive Options (baby grand pianos, sculpture & art)
* Cosmetic Alterations (hardwood floors vs existing carpet, painted walls vs existing wall paper)
* Room Enhancement
* Architectural Rendering for New Development
* Virtual Commercial Staging (view a commercial space as a restaurant, office or retail space)
“It’s all about disclosure,” says Ilaria. “As long as we display ‘Before and After’ photos, we are allowing potential buyers to experience what’s possible. We also pride ourselves in providing the most realistic virtual staging available. Nobody wants to live in a cartoon. We study the aesthetic of the market and create truly authentic renderings.”
The concept of virtual staging has opened a global clientele to this industry and Ilaria’s team have staged luxury listings as far away as the Virgin Islands, Ireland and Canada. They are currently the only vendor for the top luxury real estate firms and agents in the country. She cites the most important thing to look for in a virtual staging vendor as realism. “The virtually staged picture should look incredibly real to be effective in marketing the property,” says Ilaria.
Follow Home & Realty Magazine as we continue to watch the evolution of this industry.
Ilaria Barion is the Founder and CEO of Virtual Staging LLC
She is based in Minnesota and offers virtual staging globally.
Photo Credit: Virtual Staging LLC