Is virtual staging worth it to sell your house?

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If you've ever stumbled on HGTV, you know that there is a big push toward staging homes for sale. Cluttered, tacky, dirty, and even unfurnished homes are, we're told, a lot harder to sell than tastefully decorated homes because buyers need to be able to visualize themselves living in the property.

And with a glut of homes on the market, staging may be more important now than ever. But it's also expensive: hiring a professional stager and renting furniture to showcase a home can cost thousands of dollars -- and it may be worth it on a million dollar property. But on a $100,000 condominium or starter home, it tends to be impractical.




REALTOR Magazine reports on the latest trend in staging: virtual staging. That is, hiring a graphic designer/interior decorator to take photographs of your vacant home and add furniture to the photographs. Virtual staging can cost less than a few hundred dollars and you can print out the photos and leave them in the rooms -- they can also be uploaded into the MLS to entice prospective buyers.

One word of ethical caution though: it's probably best to restrict virtual staging to furniture and other items that aren't part of the house. Who can complain that the photos featured a fake sofa since the sofa isn't part of the house anyway?

According to REALTOR, "Obeo (www.obeo.com) offers Obeo StyleDesigner, which enables you to change wall colors, countertop textures, and type of flooring. . ."

But that would annoy most buyers: If I am lured in to a house by a photo with hardwood floors, I better not show up and find 1970s shag carpeting.

Think virtual staging might help move your house? Here a couple sites that have more information: Virtual Staging Solutions and Virtual Enriching Homes.
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