All the Perks of Home Staging Without the Heavy Lifting
You’ve heard of home staging – dressing up a vacant rental property with furnishings that give it that “Home Sweet Home” feel.
Now, there’s virtual staging, digitally enhancing the property photos rather than actually placing the furnishings in the unit. Click a button to add artwork, a dining table, and viola, traffic increases as prospects clamour to move into the unit.
Virtual staging offers all of the benefits of home staging, but without the need for actual furnishings. No money spent on rented furnishings, no time lost, and fewer trips to the chiropractor.
Although there are no formal statistics available, there is ample testimony from real estate professionals that staging does work to increase traffic from ads. Photos of a property with furnishings are simply more inviting than those of an empty room. Forget the “blank canvas” concept — most renters and buyers see a vacant property as an invitation to low-ball the owner/landlord.
But some real estate professionals are urging caution when virtual staging. A spokesman for the National Association of Realtors recently questioned the ethics of doctored photos for realtor ads, referring to some examples that probably crossed the line — light fixtures that don’t exist, or a view of trees from a window that actually overlooks a brick wall.
Whether renting a home or selling it, any misrepresentation in the negotiations can create a shaky foundation. Fake photos could provide a way for a tenant to invalidate a rental lease agreement.
While virtual staging may attract more prospects, nothing can substitute for an actual viewing before signing legal documents.
Virtual staging can work for advertising materials, but real staging can make property tours a snap. Setting up a real TV or dining table may be the only way to create a sense of flow in an otherwise generic room.
See our feature, Tricks of Home Staging for Rental Property Showings.
American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services for landlords related to your rental housing investment, including rental forms, tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at www.joinaaoa.org.