My neighbor’s house won’t sell. Virtual staging would help



VirtualStaging roundup

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The house next to me isn’t selling. It’s surpassed 100 days on market, above the 63-day median, and the price has already “been improved” once by $100,000!

There’s no need to mention the specific brokerage or agent listing the home, but suffice it to say that despite a strong local reputation, I don’t think they’re doing a very good job.

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There’s no telling what my neighbor has authorized them to do in terms of marketing, but it’s clear she wants it sold, evident by months of internal improvements prior to listing and by her recent visits to tidy up the landscaping.

The home is empty and barren of decor. It also doesn’t boast a particularly intriguing floorplan. This is a byproduct of our town’s older inventory and it not being legally incorporated until the early 1990s, which meant that owners could do what they wanted with a home, and many did.

The region’s boom as a mountain resort market eventually impacted homeowners’ concern for property values and created unrealistic expectations for out-of-town buyers who expected every home to be “mountain modern” and ski-town chic.

Good or bad, agents need to do what they can to make the home meet these expectations.

Thankfully, even when a home doesn’t meet buyers’ hopes, there are a number of virtual staging companies that can at least give aspiring buyers an idea of what the house could be.

8 virtual staging companies that can help get the deal done

Virtual staging is becoming an increasingly easy and affordable way to market a stale listing. Here are a number of software companies that excel in making empty homes meet market expectations.

Box Brownie

These guys have been at it for a long time now, and established the rapid turn-around model for property image enhancement, inside and out. They can do decluttering (the last thing this house needs), 3D tours, exterior enhancements and new construction renderings.

SnapSnapSnap, the company’s mobile photography enhancer, is impressive, and it could do a lot for my neighbor.

Virtual Staging AI

Relatively new to the scene, this company does exactly what its name suggests — uses AI to craft a virtual interior.

The user only needs to upload a high-quality image and choose the room type from a drop-down list, such as a bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, living room, and so on. Images are rendered as you wait, and they can be redone if the first iteration isn’t what you’re looking for. The style defaults to mid-century modern, but new interior design themes are being regularly added.

HomeKynd

This service stands out for its enterprise-level brokerage integration. It offers several different styles to select from, meaning team leaders and marketing staff can ensure agents don’t use the same items from house to house, for example.

They can also better report on what homes sell faster because of being staged and even what furnishing brand gets the best results. Remember, staging is a marketing asset; use what it gives you. The listing page integration is a super-smart way to engage buyers directly with the listing and even suggests that, when posting the home, it can be beneficial to leave a couple of rooms vacant to entice the home shopper to start designing.

Matterport

The industry standard-setter for digital twins (the house in question has one) partnered with SketchFab in 2022 to begin integrating virtual interior improvements.

Objects from Sketchfab can be still or animated, and like all other aspects of a Matterport tour, they can be “walked by” and considered from different angles. The company is known for working with a number of prominent consumer goods manufacturers in the creation and publishing of 3D renderings for marketing, sales and product configuration.

Bella Staging

Bella Staging uses actual graphic artists to edit, renovate, declutter and basically make your seller’s home look like the best on the block. Most projects are returned in 48 hours and include unlimited revisions.

Bella asks, with good reason, for high-quality images from which to initiate its editing process. This shouldn’t be a big ask, but unfortunately, far too many agents still don’t understand the importance of a good kitchen photo.

Bella Staging is as good as I’ve seen in this category, and there’s no doubt its bespoke handling of each project is a big reason for its top-of-category quality.

VSH Media

One particular standout is the in-image notes tool. Users can tap on a place in the photo to attach instructions to the editors before uploading. Use it to instruct creators on where you want couches placed or to indicate you want stools placed around the breakfast bar.

Speaking of decor, VSH Media comes with a library of home styles, such as Farmhouse, Contemporary, Hamptons, Urban, Traditional or combinations of each. There’s also item removal available, and “enhanced” images provide basically the same bracketing/image fusion tech that other apps in this space use to make window exteriors look good from inside.

Asteroom

Like a number of mobile applications in this space, Asteroom uses a rotating phone mount timed to pivot and shoot to capture a room. The rotating mount turns your phone into a 360-degree camera and pairs automatically with your device via Bluetooth (BLE 4.0). A single tap of the “capture” command in the app starts the process. The device will stop turning once all the way around, and the user moves on to the next room.

The app allows for an array of text designs, links, information tags, floating still images (for detail shots like appliance close-ups or a view through a window), and even logos to be presented for interaction within the app. You can also add 3D objects to virtually stage an empty space.

InsideMaps

Another veteran of interior home data marketing, InsideMaps built its reputation on tours like Matterport but has evolved to become a valuable insights tool for all things real estate.

Virtual staging is merely one of its many capabilities, and it may not be the best match for my neighbor’s home because of its pedestrian and sub-1,500-square-foot size. Still, the company’s expertise and many added value propositions make it a worthwhile consideration for freeing a stuck listing.

Curb appeal counts, too

Curb appeal matters, and it’s another component of this house’s lengthy time on the market. There is no design or formal plan for what surrounds the home, merely an old set of steps, a lot of weeds, random stones and some short sections of garden hose lying about. It needs a total overhaul, and thankfully, most of the companies listed here can do exterior renderings, too.

Computer vision AI company Restb.ai has the numbers that show homes with high-end exterior photography, especially twilight edits, spend less time on the market. Given that we overlook a river and a ski resort, I can’t help but think some enhanced shots of the exterior would go a long way toward enticing a buyer.

It wouldn’t hurt for the agent to engage in video marketing, either. An engaging walk-through that better explains the home’s potential and its location would absolutely help, and it could be repurposed for social and web.

I know the market’s weird right now, and in small, expensive markets, it can be even harder to sell. But when so much more can clearly be done and isn’t, the market will only continue to suffer.

Email Craig Rowe





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