Virtual Home Staging in 2010 – Right or Wrong?

August 4th, 2010

Seems there is certainly a debate going on about this stateside, a recent Activerain post on this topic has logged over over 200 comments already.

Virtual Home Staging is best described as…..well actually its best shown…….

Lounge - before

Lounge - before

and then

Lounge - after Virtual Home Staging

Lounge - after Virtual Home Staging

Second example here is of a bedroom…….

Before - before - empty

Before - before - empty



Bedroom - after Virtual Home Staging

Bedroom - after Virtual Home Staging

and one more….

Flat sized Room - before

Flat sized Room - before

and then after…

Flat / Unit type Room - after Virtual Home Staging

Flat / Unit type Room - after Virtual Home Staging

Ok, so that probably gives you a better idea of what it is about, more than just words alone.

But is it wrong?

I have noticed in a few, like the middle set of bedroom shots, they have added some extra wall mounted lights, which when you arrive at the home and notice aren’t there….would give rise to concern.

Should it matter? How many times do people buy the home with the furniture in it. I’ve only ever had it happen twice. So you are only buying an empty shell anyway? Besides all of the developers of those highrise apartments in Auckland or Wellington already do it in their “concept” shots of what your new apartment would look like anyway.

The post on Activerain however pointed out some significant others that would be of a concern.

Its author, US Realtor Greg Nino, takes exception to the fact that once the photos on the MLS were viewed, then a subsequent later personal inspection made a startling discovery.

In his words, “In person, the house looks like hell. The carpet is disgusting, the walls have dents…..etc…etc”

Apparently the “Photos have (had) been digitally enhanced to better visualize the amazing possibilities.”

Greg, the articles author, does make the point though, that the above “disclaimer” about digital alteration was “under agent remarks (not viewable by the public).

Unless the photographs / advertisements were very very clearly marked as altered/enhanced, then in a place like here in New Zealand they would more than likely find themselves falling under the classification of false advertising. Its obvious that by being so overdone, that first experience when you open the door to show the prospective buyer around is disappointment, and let me tell you that is no way for a potential purchaser to commence a home inspection/showing. So if the walls have stains on them, and wallpaper is falling off, “No” you can’t digitally alter this in your listing photographs, you must show it as the buyer would see it on a personal visit.


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5 thoughts on “Virtual Home Staging in 2010 – Right or Wrong?

  1. avatarAriel Levin

    Brilliant post!
    Will I use VS?
    Certainly but carefully and let buyers know that it’s has been done.
    The great things about it is you can have two sets of staging furniture ie Classic and Ultra modern so appeal to a variety of buyers. What do you use for you Like, Twitter and Buzz plugin by the way?

  2. avatarKBell

    Thanks for your comments and feedback about virtual staging and we are glad to see a lot of talk about the topic.

    My husband and I are realtors and traditional stagers in Atlanta, Georgia and we consider ourselves to be the pioneers of virtual staging. Our form of virtual staging is very realistic and life like and we do not alter any of the vacant photographs our cients email us (pictures above are not representative of our patent pending virtual staging process or our company). We stay true to the realtor code of ethics rules and advise our clients to always disclose that our services have been used in all marketing materials. We do not change paint colors or remove appliances or even add drapery for that matter. We simply add furnishings and decor only to empty spaces so that we create recognizable rooms and more attractively “staged” online photos where it is a fact that 90% of home buyers are looking for their next home.

    We created Virtual Staging simply as a way to drive buyer traffic to the listing and provide agents nationwide with a more economical marketing tool for those clients who cannot afford the costs of traditional staging. By all means we encourage all of our clients here in Atlanta to use our traditional staging services which is preferred but nationwide there are lots of agents who do not have access to stagers or they too are on tight marketing budgets these days and find that virtual staging really does work. Read all about us and view some of our newscasts on our home and press page and do check out our gallery to see how our virtual staging process is another amazing marketing tool to get vacant homes sold! Thanks for all the buzz! Sincerely, KRISZTINA BELL, Virtually Staging Properties, Inc, ATLANTA, GA

  3. avatarSteve Taylor

    There is a problem with adding things digitally as they may be smaller than real life and so make the room look bigger.

    I have enhanced photos, but this was just to remove stains and ‘repair’ torn seat covers. The buyer is not buying the furniture, but to show worn and tatty furniture say in a rental could be very embarrassing to the tenant.

    1. avatarDavid Leggott Post author

      Coupled with the more widespread use of increasing wider angle lenses used in Real Estate photography, you make a good point. Getting not only the perspective correct, but the furniture scale/sizing to match the correct photo of the room would definitely be an art, and not something in everyone’s repertoire.

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