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For real estate agents marketing pre-construction homes or developers looking to sell units off the plans, virtual staging offers an invaluable opportunity to help buyers visualize the end product. While floorplans and renderings are useful, there's nothing like being able to picture yourself living in the actual space. Virtual staging takes pre-construction marketing to the next level by providing photo-realistic depictions of what the home will look like once construction is complete.
Rather than relying solely on their imagination, potential buyers can get an accurate representation of the size and layout of each room. The staged images showcase design features and demonstrate spatial relationships within the home. Buyers get a better sense of how they might arrange and utilize each space. For instance, a virtually staged kitchen provides ideas for cabinetry, appliances, island placement, and furniture. Bedrooms can showcase decor themes, furniture arrangements, and ways to accommodate kids or guests.
Developers have found that staged pre-construction images generate significant interest and help buyers envision the possibilities. According to Ben Character of Character Group, a Canadian construction firm, "We always virtually stage our floor plans because it enables buyers to connect emotionally and picture themselves living there." Virtual staging brings continuity from the planning phase through to construction completion.
Pre-construction staging also facilitates customization, as buyers can request modifications to paint colors, tile, or amenities to align with their lifestyle. Developers can quickly alter the images to meet custom needs. Popular upgrades like adding a double oven or expanding a walk-in closet are easily visualized before committing to purchase. By interacting with the staged spaces, buyers gain confidence that the final product will meet their needs.
With the rise of online real estate searches, grabbing a buyer's attention quickly is more critical than ever. According to the National Association of REALTORS, 95% of buyers search for homes online, evaluating photos, videos and 3D tours before selecting listings to visit in person. With so many options to sift through, exceptional visuals are essential for standing out. Virtual staging helps properties shine online by showing spaces at their full potential.
Staged photos and 3D walkthroughs highlight a home's assets and create an emotional connection. Amanda Hill of Hill & Co. Real Estate finds that staging virtually is the key to distinguishing her listings: "In a sea of MLS photos that all start to look the same, we need to stand out and give buyers a glimpse of what"s possible. Virtual staging helps us do that by showcasing the lifestyle and potential of each home."
Real estate coach Ronnie Midighan recommends staging every room, even ones a seller thinks are fine as-is. "You"d be surprised how even a space you find attractive can be elevated with virtual furnishings and accents that reflect the buyer you want to target." For example, a teenage child"s bedroom could be restaged for empty nesters ready to downsize. Makeover visuals expand a home"s appeal beyond its current condition.
When listing an older home with dated features, virtual upgrades provide a facelift. Repainting cabinets, updating lighting fixtures or swapping out flooring materials can all be achieved digitally. Agents praise this use, noting it helps buyers see past cosmetic issues to a home"s underlying potential. "Being able to visualize updates makes all the difference when evaluating an outdated home," says Craig Martin of Sotheby"s International. "Rather than getting stuck on what is, staging shows what could be."
Likewise, adding outdoor enhancements like deck furniture, a grill or fire pit promotes indoor/outdoor living potential. Building out vignettes around hobbies helps buyers picture pursuing their passions. Cozy reading nooks, craft spaces, yoga retreats, game rooms and more can be staged based on target buyers. When you showcase how nicely a home facilitates modern lifestyles, it sparks excitement and emotional investment in the possibilities.
For sellers of cozy bungalows, cramped condos or petite urban walk-ups, virtual staging can work magic to make rooms appear more spacious. When listing a smaller property, creating the perception of generosity is key. Staging opens up the footprint and showcases functionality within modest dimensions.
Janine Seale, an agent with Little & Large Properties, relies on virtual expansions for small spaces. "I specialize in cozy central city homes. Having lived in one myself, I know these homes need the right staging to overcome size stigma and enable buyers to see themselves thriving there." She uses wide angle lenses and thoughtful furnishing arrangements to exaggerate proportions. "You can really manipulate dimensions and make a room feel bright, open and livable beyond its measurements on paper."
For constrained kitchens and baths, strategic staging prevents a tight squeeze. Kari Lentz, founder of The Staging Studio, advises, "Use furnishings that draw the eye upwards to give a feeling of height - floating shelves rather than low cabinets, tall lamps or narrow bookcases. Mirrors also effectively double spatial volume." In living areas, careful furniture layout with breathing room and simplified decor helps rooms feel more relaxed.
When showcasing bedrooms, creative solutions like bunks or lofted beds demonstrate fitting a guest. Lentz suggests "utilizing vertical space with wall mounted cabinets, tall wardrobes and high headboards" as well as positioning beds on an angle rather than flat against the wall. Clever optical illusions make compact rooms appear commodious.
For external areas like petite yards, elevated camera angles showcase possibilities. "Don"t shoot straight on, but position slightly above to exaggerate square footage," advises Seale. Wide lens photography and minimalist landscaping helps maximize outdoor livability. Virtual additions like spas, firepits or bistro lighting extend entertaining potential.
For homeowners seeking to sell a fixer-upper, virtual staging opens up a world of possibilities to display your property's potential. Rather than buyers focusing on current flaws, staged spaces showcase what your home could become with upgrades and remodeling. Virtual renovations enable buyers to envision the transformation and get excited about the prospect of customizing the home to suit their tastes.
Outdated kitchens and bathrooms represent major stumbling blocks, as replacing these central rooms often tops a buyer"s wishlist. Virtually staging fresh cabinetry, stone countertops, backsplashes and updated appliances provides a facelift. New flooring, lighting and paint colors transform the vibe. Lisa Appleton of Dream Spaces Staging says, "Remodeled kitchens and baths are my go-to virtual renovations. They make the biggest impact for the cost and really elevate a home."
Appleton relies on virtual kitchen makeovers to spur offers on fixer homes. "Rather than getting deterred by orange laminate counters and original cabinets, buyers can see the open, flowing kitchen of their dreams taking shape." For bathrooms, swapping out dated tiles, fixtures and vanities makes the spaces feel fresh and current.
Besides kitchen and bath overhauls, opening up floorplans creates a remodeling opportunity. Knocking down walls can be simulated to demonstrate how to improve flow between rooms and build sightlines. Widening doorways and entryways or removing partitions between rooms helps spaces feel more open and modern.
Adding square footage virtually illustrates expansion possibilities. Bumping out a room, building up to increase ceiling height, or finishing a basement can be depicted. Sunrooms, additions and accessory dwelling units represent attractive virtual enhancements. Simulated skylights and atriums introduce light and volume.
Outdoor living potential also attracts buyers ready to make a place their own. Decks, patios, pergolas and outfitted backyards can be staged even if bare bones currently. Landscape overhauls reimagine drab yards. Irrigation installation and sod demonstrate verdant possibilities for forgotten lawns.
For dated exteriors, a virtual facelift replaces siding, adds architectural accents and modernizes entryways. New roofs, windows and exterior lighting provide curb appeal.Design experts advise the most impactful virtual renovations align with current trends and neighborhoods. Ensure makeovers seem feasible rather than overly ambitious. Keeping the home"s footprint intact while modernizing finishes and fittings feels within reach.
As real estate has become increasingly digitized, the pool of potential home buyers has expanded beyond local borders. Listings today attract interest from across states, regions and even countries thanks to expanded online reach. For sellers, marketing to out-of-state buyers represents an invaluable opportunity to increase interest and drive up sales prices. Virtual staging caters perfectly to distant prospects by bringing spaces to life online.
Out-of-towners rely heavily on listing photos and 3D tours to evaluate potential homes, since traveling to tour in-person first is often impractical. They are scanning for areas that fit their needs, like school districts, commute distance or lifestyle amenities. Making a strong first impression visually is key to captivating remote shoppers. According to Michael Montenegro of Online Real Estate Masters, "Imagery matters more than anything when buyers start remotely. Staging makes spaces appealing enough to motivate a trip or bid sight unseen."
What do out-of-state buyers want to see from afar? Agents find the key is helping them imagine their lives unfolding delightfully in the home. Susan Rodgers of Coldwell Banker recommends showcasing spaces through the lens of a buyer"s priorities. For example, target a family looking for a backyard oasis by virtually staging a pool and patio with furnishings and playsets. For a buyer focused on entertaining, stage a gourmet kitchen and styled open floorplan.
Montenegro has found virtual makeovers extremely effective when listings feel dated or worn. "Out-of-town buyers can"t see past things like old carpets or wallpaper. Staging modern updates overhauls spaces so they can picture moving right in." Rodgers agrees: "Virtual renovations bring new life so buyers feel at home."
Lifestyle vignettes also help buyers envision pursing hobbies or leisure in a new location. Whether highlighting a craft nook, game room, yoga sanctuary or reading hideaway, creatively decorated spaces spur inspiration. Said one out-of-state buyer, "Seeing the staged spaces made me excited to decorating our new home, rather than overwhelmed by the idea of moving."
Subtly branding areas to reflect local flavor and culture helps buyers feel connected to the region. "We"ll style kids rooms to showcase popular area sports teams and mascots. For adults, we"ll incorporate regional artwork and decor," explains Rodgers. These personalized touches captivate buyers by speaking right to their interests.
For homes currently staged with physical furnishings and decor, virtual staging serves as the perfect complement to maximize buyer impressions. While traditional staging introduces thoughtfully arranged furniture to showcase livable space, limitations exist. Inventory constraints mean not every area can be fully outfitted, while budgets and logistics curb accessory choices. This is where virtual complements physical by filling staging gaps with impact.
Developer Taylor Richards finds virtual staging the perfect pairing for model homes. "We stage key spaces with items we already own to convey livable space. But virtual additions enhance the experience by dressing remaining areas and adding the level of detail buyers expect." For example, while the master bedroom contains a staged bed and end tables, virtual accessories like pillows, lamps and artwork build a complete vignette. The unfurnished guest room is outfitted virtually to match the same elegant style as other rooms.
Interior designer Maya Henderson uses virtual to elevate her physical staging. "With items I personally own, it"s impossible to have every variation a buyer may desire. But I can digitally recolor walls or swap furniture to create entirely different looks." She characterizes virtual staging as the ultimate customizable enhancer. "No matter how lovely and thorough traditional staging may be, virtual makes it more vibrant."
For listing agent Ryan Lewis, virtual staging helps bridge logistical gaps. "Homeowners rarely want to empty an entire house for staging. We'll stage key areas then use virtual to complete the picture." He finds buyers appreciate seeing real furniture they can examine while also touring fully-dressed spaces digitally. "It provides realism along with the complete experience they expect."
In practical terms, virtual staging introduces lighting and decorative elements difficult to source physically. Says interior designer Ella Naomi, "Sourcing enough lamps, rugs and wall art for full properties is hugely challenging. But virtual provides unlimited accessories to make spaces immersive." She adds unique fixtures like chandeliers, sconces and pendant lights unavailable for rent or purchase. Digitally swapping window treatments and adding textiles provides customization.
Lewis finds buyers gravitate toward the atmospherics virtual provides. "Physical staging offers big pieces to establish a room. Virtual completes ambiance with wall decor, throws, plants and greenery that make spaces feel vibrant and warm." Naomi agrees: "It"s amazing how items like books, flowers and tableware make a room feel not just furnished, but properly dressed and boasting personality."
For exterior areas without staging, virtual additions transform curb appeal. Landscaping, lighting, entryway enhancements and deck decor instantly boost aesthetics. "Curb appeal is huge, especially online when buyers evaluate homes in seconds," says Richards. "Virtual outdoor improvements make properties more captivating."
Lifestyle images that speak to buyers" aspirations are enormously enticing, sparking emotional connections that motivate action. Photographer Maya Lewis specializes in lifestyle real estate imagery and finds it universally impactful: "Rather than just seeing a room, buyers see themselves living in it happily. Lifestyle photos foster that bond."
Focused vignettes are Lewis"s signature. "I"ll style breakfast nooks with morning coffee served, offices with laptops open and documents strewn about, lounges with a book and glasses of wine. The goal is showing daily life looking beautiful." Buyers envision gathering for a meal, rocking a baby to sleep, unwinding after work, doing yoga at sunrise. A lifestyle aligns with their routines and relationships.
Lewis ensures diversity in her shoots: "I include folks of different ages, family configurations and abilities. The images feel relatable yet aspirational." Photographer Elijah Daystrom agrees. "I try to feature real people. Buyers imagine joining their relaxed happiness." He"s careful to avoid overly curated shots. "Moments feel authentic, not like a furniture catalog. Life looks livable."
Staging designer Alicia Costas focuses on leisure and hobbies. "What excites someone about a new home? Space for their passions. I create art studios, reading nooks, game rooms. Buyers picture escaping with pastimes they love." She personalizes images via interests noted by the agent. For example, a buyer searching for guitar space gets music room shots. The match entices them to imagine strumming away happily.
Outdoors, Costas spotlights active living. "Outdoor kitchens sizzle with grilling. Pools and hot tubs exude weekend relaxing or exercise." Firepits and conversation areas encourage lingering into the evening with friends. Backyard sanctuaries feature lush landscaping, playspaces for kids and alfresco dining. The vision promotes an easygoing lifestyle.
What if homeowners aren"t photogenic or private about being featured? Daystrom says models work great: "There are sites connecting you to local talent of all ages and backgrounds looking to build portfolios." Services like Magic Lifestyle Images offer model casting, styling and photography. Models sign releases and no home access is needed.
Lifestyle shots can be created digitally too. Using Photoshop, homes are populated with figures experiencing life happily. It may lack the authenticity of real models, but delivers the message boards and video tours can't.
Why invest in lifestyle shots? Data shows it pays dividends. The existing owner of a new listing told agent Casey Lloyd she hesitated to spend money on photography. "I got lifestyle photos taken and the home sold for $58K over listing price with multiple offers," Lloyd reported. "The images totally set it apart." She encourages even reluctant sellers to opt in. "You can"t put a price on buyer emotion and desire."
Greg Toppel of Aerial Media Productions emphasizes video tours featuring residents. "It"s a false dichotomy - sell the house or keep privacy. Get consent to follow folks at comfortable distances as they read, cook, create. No close-ups needed. It thrills buyers to see happy moments organically." He sees videos with models or actors falling flat. "Real life resonates."
Selecting art and decor that integrate seamlessly with a home's existing furnishings requires a careful, creative eye. When staged art harmonizes with a room's color palette, textures and style, the space feels curated and polished. Mismatched pieces feel disjointed, while cohesive art pulls together a harmonized look. Interior designers rely on thoughtful selection and placement to make art feel like it authentically belongs.
When choosing artwork, palette matching is key according to designer Veronica Lee. "Run colors in the artwork against your furnishings. Art that picks up on existing hues - a blue accent matching pillows or green tones mirroring a plant - blends beautifully." Keeping the color scheme coordinated makes the pairing feel natural. Avoid pieces where the coloring clashes or feels disconnected.
Style should also align notes Lee: "A traditional living room wants traditional landscapes or botanicals. For modern spaces, abstracts and geometric prints fit best." Ensure artwork matches the room's spirit. Thematically, opt for subjects that suit the purpose of the space. "Nourishing food photography works wonderfully in dining rooms and kitchens. For bedrooms, serene landscapes encourage rest."
Placement can perfect the fit. "I position art to feel like an extension of built-ins and architectural elements," says Lee. Floating shelves gaining levity from ceramic vases? Add in a painting. Coordinate gallery walls to incorporate sconces or mirror locations. "This helps the art feel specifically curated for the architecture, not randomly placed."
Lighting also stages art. Designer Tessa Roy directs accent beams onto featured pieces to spotlight them artfully. "Illuminated art at night feels so intentional. It becomes a luminous focal point." Dimmer switches allow adjusting light on paintings to set the perfect mood.
Beyond wall art, decor relates. Roy says, "Sculptures and vases on the coffee table or sideboard speak to living room art." Repeat colors, materials, shapes or subject matter for subtle unity. A branch sculpture echoes nature photography. Ceramic vases coordinate with ceramic wall tiles in the palette.
Use virtual tools to audition and arrange art digitally prior to purchase. "I'll place a digital painting in a dozen spots before landing on the right placement," says Lee. Virtual staging sites like Roomsy let you overlay artwork onto photos of your actual space to preview positioning.
When selecting art to match furnishings, remember variety and volume. "Avoid a cluttered cacophony of images competing for attention," advises Roy. Edit judiciously. Guide the eye to appreciate each piece. "Art should enhance a space, not overwhelm it."