Are you thinking about moving in the near future? Are you in the process of preparing your home to enter the real estate market? Moving is understandably a daunting and overwhelming project and there are many tasks on the “to do” list.   You may think that you’d rather focus your time, energy, and money on your new home and therefore perhaps you have not considered home Staging. No matter where you are in the moving process however, it’s important not to overlook the benefits of Staging your home and the impact it can have on the sale.   This blog post will provide you with statistics that prove that Staging works and also educate you on the difference between virtual and real Staging.

In our digital world, it’s not surprising that many buyers start their search online. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that 90% of buyers start their home search on the Internet and 97% say photos are important when deciding to view a home. If you have mere seconds to grab a buyer’s attention, then you obviously want to represent the home in the best way in order to lure the buyer into visiting the home. Staging can do just that! Staging appeals to the buyer’s emotions. If the buyer is looking for a family friendly home, Staging a playroom or child’s room can evoke positive feelings. If the buyer is looking for an entertaining home, Staging a patio, basement, or great room, gives the buyer a mental image of an inviting, warm space.

At this point, the message is sent and the emotional impact is felt…but what happens when the buyer actually enters the home? What is the value of Staging at this point? NAR reports that 77% of buyer’s agents say that Staging makes it easier for buyers to visualize the property as their future home.   Furthermore, 81% of buyers say that a Staged home is easier to visualize as their future home. Why you ask? One answer is furniture placement. Buyers can see firsthand the size and layout of furniture and picture in their head how their furniture will fit into the rooms. Another reason the buyer’s can visualize the Staged home as their future home is because Staging spotlights the pluses of the home, while downgrading the minuses.

Now that we’ve identified the advantages of Staging, you might be wondering what exactly is virtual Staging and can it replace real Staging? Virtual Staging uses technology to alter the appearance of a room by either editing out furniture, adding in furniture and accessories, or changing color, lighting, landscaping, etc. Photos of the rooms are submitted to a Virtual Staging company and within a few days new virtually Staged photos are sent back to use for listing the property or to display on an easel. It’s important to point out that ethically the listing must disclose that the photos are virtually Staged.

While I agree that virtually Staging a home for an online presence can help the buyer distinguish the purpose of the room that is being viewed, overall, my feeling is that virtual Staging cannot compete with real Staging for several reasons. First, when the buyer enters the property, he/she may feel let down and disappointed. Second, going back to the emotional connection, real Staging is more inviting and increases the buyer’s emotional attachment to the property. Finally, as a home Stager, each client is provided with a Staging checklist of all the behind the scenes recommendations that should take place BEFORE Staging. This may include window cleaning, landscaping, painting, and/or fixing or updating various components of the home. This crucial step is missed with virtual Staging and the buyer may feel mislead.

NAR reports that 62% of sellers’ agents say that Staging a home decreases the amount of time a home spends on the market and 52% of buyers are willing to pay more for a Staged property. If this is the case, then a Staged home will likely sell for more money offsetting the investment of real Staging. Your home is likely your biggest asset. Can you really afford not to Stage it the right way? Don’t let this be the last and forgotten piece on your “to do” list!

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