Empty rooms in a vacant home rarely motivate buyers. It is estimated less than 8% of buyers can visualize what an empty room would look like with their furnishings and decor. Buyers are drawn to photos of homes that have been successfully staged.
NOTE: Many MLS organizations require when using virtual staging photos to also include a companion photo of the empty rooms that were virtual staged and showcased for the listing.
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By Liz Dominguez
As much as you’d think an empty space would be the perfect way to help buyers visualize the potential of a home, that’s rarely true. Many buyers find it difficult to picture themselves in a house if it is vacant because it does not feel like a home.
That’s where virtual staging comes in. Take some time this weekend to set out a plan for properly marketing your vacant listings by elevating them with some virtual staging. Here are some tips:
Make sure the furniture is proportional. While you want the digitally-staged photos to help build a sense of home for buyers, you don’t want to overdo it. Make sure the furniture you pick is sized appropriately for the room. Too big and the space can seem cluttered and much smaller than it actually is. If the furniture is too small, however, the room can look too sparse and awkward, and you do a disservice to your sellers by not showing the property’s true potential.
Keep things relatively modern. While some buyers prefer mid-century decor and others might lean toward a minimalistic look, you have to meet everyone in the middle. Keep the furniture and decor neutral so it doesn’t alienate any one specific buyer. While this might mean taking a gamble and playing it safe, it’s a much better alternative to shocking colors and extravagant furniture that may scare most buyers away.
Layout is everything. Don’t just stick couches against the walls and call it a day. Optimize the space by selecting the best arrangement for that specific room. That might mean a sectional facing a corner fireplace, or it could mean couches facing each other in a more symmetrical space. Every room is different, and simply using the walls can actually make a room seem much smaller and less functional.
Don’t go too bland. Just because you want to appease the masses doesn’t mean that you can’t insert some personality into the home. Keep it fun in recreation or game rooms, ramp up the cozy feel in a room with a fireplace, and draw people in to the first room they’ll walk into with some statement furniture.
It’s a fine line between neutral and boring, so select furniture and decor pieces that will get people to call after looking at the online pictures. After all, if you’re not getting calls to schedule showings, what’s the point of virtually staging in the first place?
Eileen Robinson is the author of The Luxury Home Selling Guide.