The Benefits (and Liabilities) of Virtual Staging

December 20, 2019

Before social media and video marketing took over, the real estate market kept things pretty status quo; home buyers and sellers were used to a general process led by real estate agents, brokers, and appraisers.

Now, with the advent and continued sophistication of technology and social media, real estate professionals are able to put potential buyers inside a home without them even having to get off the couch. Through virtual staging, buyers are able to experience a property via virtual reality and effective staging from real estate professionals.

Virtual staging has some major benefits, including costing a fraction of the total of actually staging a home. Furniture doesn’t have to be moved, accessories don’t have to be rented out, and many virtual staging companies offer packages based on the number of pictures needed. But beyond saving a little bit of money, virtual staging presents some other helpful benefits as well as some pitfalls to look out for.

Here’s a better look at them both.

The Pluses

Virtual staging is an ideal choice for empty properties or for properties still under construction. Instead of banking on the chance that potential buyers would imagine what a room filled with furniture would look like, they can see the possibilities with the help of virtual images.

Virtual staging does in fact cost significantly less than traditionally staging a home. Per room, per month, realtors can see $500-$600 being spent on each room they stage, adding up to thousands of dollars over time. By virtually staging a home, they are keeping that money in their pockets.

Virtual staging is also just that: virtual. Meaning, realtors don’t have to worry about artwork being ruined in any way, anyone slipping or falling, or furniture causing obstructions in any way. There’s zero chance of someone defacing these items or potentially breaking them.

Virtual staging also allows for more freedom for realtors. Traditionally staged homes have always been effective, but real estate agents can pick and choose how they want a property to look rather than having to work with what they have. They can also stage a home to the potential buyer’s liking, making it a more personable experience for everyone involved.

The Minuses

While being able to be flexible in how a home is staged and saving lots of money in the process may be enticing enough, realtors should go into virtual staging with some caution. This will help to avoid any potential claims from potential buyers who feel they have been duped by their realtor. This could lead to costly claims and unwanted blemishes on a real estate professional’s resume.

First off, it’s important to not go overboard with staging. There may be some great images to pull from, making the property look and feel a certain way. But this could be what leads to someone feeling they have been taken advantage of. It helps to not overdo it on the staging, instead opting for a clean-cut look that is easily flexible and shows off more of the house itself than furniture that the client doesn’t even have.

Next, it’s important to not overthink virtually staging a home. Realtors should consider how the entire room looks, but not pour over every single detail. What this does is take time away from working with the client, eating up valuable time.

And most importantly, it’s crucial to not oversell a home on the potential of what it could look like or feel like. As mentioned above, homebuyers who feel they have been taken advantage of. Virtual staging can lead to real estate legal problems if the realtor isn’t careful in their process. All virtual staging should be disclosed, stating that any images included in a staging are digitally altered to show possibilities for the property.

Also, it’s important to be transparent about any issues that are really actually there in a property, such as water stains or flaws in the carpeting. By altering these facts with digital imaging, a realtor is misinforming a potential buyer on purpose, something that would not benefit them in court.

To avoid pricey claims, it’s important to heed the notes above as well as invest in the right kind of real estate insurance coverage, like errors and omissions coverage. Virtual staging can lead to a major payoff for a realtor who closes a deal, but it should be done with integrity. If someone feels like they have a case against a realtor in any way, they could be in for a long and costly legal battle that would take money out of their business, including the money they have saved over time using virtual staging.

About Associations Liability Insurance Agency (ALIA)

The ALIA Team (part of the Riverton Insurance Agency Corporation), specializes in helping real estate professionals find the affordable and comprehensive liability insurance they need, without the hassle. ALIA dates its roots to 1991 with the founding of FREA, Foundation of Real Estate Associates. In 2013, ALIA was created to work with multiple insurance companies thereby broadening the portfolio of products to customers. For more information about our products and services, contact us today at (800) 882-4410.