Pros & Cons of Virtual Staging in the Brooklyn Real Estate Market
For homebuyers, first impressions are everything. A little staging can go a long way in Brooklyn real estate, and of course in any housing market, because staging helps buyers envision the space as their own. But when you’re ready to put your Brooklyn home up for sale, should you consider virtual staging?
Our real estate agents assess the pros and cons of virtual staging specific to your property when deciding which route to take. And we wanted to share our insight with you so you’re better informed when it comes time to sell your home.
Virtually staged home at 306 Garfield Pl
Pros of Virtual Staging
- It’s less expensive — Virtual staging which is an entirely digital process, whereas traditional home staging involves moving furniture and decorations in and around each room, and if the furniture isn’t available already, it has to be rented or purchased. All of this can come at cost that is considerably higher than virtual staging.
- It’s faster — Strike while the iron’s hot, or in our case, list while the Brooklyn real estate market’s hot. If you’re itching to list your home, virtual staging is definitely quicker than traditional staging.
- It’s flexible — Virtual staging allows ultimate flexibility. You and your real estate agent can look at your home and then showcase any possibility you can think of in terms of room design. There’s no limit. And you can instruct the virtual staging expert to make changes and tweak collaboratively until the perfect image is produced.
- It shows your home’s full potential — Because there are so many possibilities when it comes to staging virtually, it’s a great way to show buyers how your home might look if they owned it. This is especially helpful if you’re selling a vacant home. You can even show multiple treatments and various ways the same room might be used.
- It’s scratch and ding proof — Regardless of whether you use virtual or traditional real estate staging, it’s important to hire professionals. But even the most experienced stagers can make mistakes and with all the moving in and out, you might be concerned about damage. What if a floor gets scratched or a wall gets dinged? What if I live in a fifth floor walk-up and don’t want to risk damaging the stairwell or disturbing the neighbors? …all valid concerns here in Brooklyn! A professional real estate agent will keep some anticipated restoration costs in mind when creating a traditional staging budget but if you want absolute peace of mind, you might consider virtual staging as it comes with no damage risk.
Virtually staged home at 9437 Shore Rd
Cons of Virtual Staging
- It’s harder to do in a furnished home — Though it certainly can be done, virtually staging an already-furnished home means that a staging expert has to go in and digitally remove all the existing furniture before adding new items. This can be hard to pull off and may not be worth the effort in some cases. (Though do see our note at the end of this article about how virtual staging can be combined with traditional staging of an already furnished home.)
- Requires proactive disclosure — If your real estate agent fails to disclose that the home is virtually staged in all marketing materials, potential buyers might feel misled. This is especially true if, for instance, the virtual staging company adds or removes walls, or makes other physical changes.
- Inconsistent quality — Virtual staging has come a long way and when done well, it can be almost indistinguishable from traditional staging. But if your Brooklyn real estate agent hasn’t worked with a virtual staging expert before or doesn’t have relationships with the best ones, your results could be disappointing. If the stager lacks a design eye, interior design knowledge or doesn’t understand how to stage to fit a room’s dimensions, the resulting image could look, well, a little fake.
- Buyers won’t get the physical experience — While the possibilities are endless with virtual staging, they only exist in the digital realm, so potential buyers can’t walk through the staged home and must envision design options for themselves. Buyers often experience an emotional response to a physically staged home, even if it’s subliminal, which doesn’t tend to happen in empty spaces that have been virtually staged. A feeling can make all the difference in a buyer’s desire to move forward. So if you do opt for virtual staging, it’s helpful to have the virtually staged photos printed out or on a tablet that clients can refer to as they walk around the home.
Virtually staged home at 150 Berkeley Pl
So, what should you do?
Like most things, virtual staging should be considered on a case-by-case basis because it’s not the right solution for every home. A good rule of thumb is that if you are short on time or you don’t want furniture brought into your home/building, virtual staging could be a great option.
And sometimes it’s not an either/or option. With traditionally staged homes, when it’s time to take professional photos, your Brooklyn real estate agent will likely recommend decluttering and/or removing personalized objects from your home so that potential buyers can visualize the space as their own. A home staged with design-forward furniture and a clean, minimalist look can also help. But after the process, you may realize that certain family photos were left in the shot, or a particular wall’s paint doesn’t quite complement the room, or an old chair doesn’t match the modern aesthetic. In cases like this, virtual staging can also be used to make alterations to traditionally staged photos and remove or replace unwanted elements.
It’s important to always disclose when virtual staging is used and display both the actual unstaged photos, along with the virtually staged renderings, so potential buyers get a full, transparent perspective of their potential new home.
Not sure you even need staging? Take a look back out our Benefits of Home Staging post to see how staging is vital when selling a home.
When you’re ready to list, be sure to seek out a real estate team that prioritizes staging and has experience in both traditional and virtual staging. Here at Garfield Realty, we know staging is so critical to selling a Brooklyn home that we include our services free of charge for all sales listings.
Still unsure or have questions? Give us a call and we’ll be happy to walk you through your staging options and answer any questions you might have (with no pressure or commitment!).