We say this a lot, but it bears repeating: Home buying is a process of elimination, and the first elimination round occurs online. If buyers aren’t inspired by the photos, they’re not likely to schedule a showing to see it in person.
That being said, please don’t try to save money by virtually staging your listing. Virtual staging doesn’t work. If it did, we’d eagerly build our entire business model around virtual staging, because then we’d have much lower overhead costs. But we at Larimar are not snake oil salesmen. We wouldn’t feel good about selling a service that doesn’t work. Virtually staged photos may get buyers to the home, but like online dating, these buyers are going to feel very let down when they enter a home that doesn’t look anything like the photos they saw online. Realtors have reported that they can visibly see their buyer deflating with disappointment when they enter a home that was virtually staged. Listing agents all of the country are calling in a home staging company to stage a a previously virtually staged home with real furnishings because their listing was languishing on the market with no offers.
Let’s be honest: virtual staging is bait and switch. When the buyer realizes you’ve wasted their time by tricking them into coming to the property using virtual staging, they will start wondering what else is being misrepresented. Are there serious structural issues with the property that haven’t been disclosed? They’re not happy at this point, so they’ll start speculating and assuming the worst, and they aren’t going to feel good about this, and you don’t want them feeling badly, because when making their decision, buyers rely far more heavily on how they feel about a home than any other factor, even price.
The buyer that places the highest offer is going to be the one that has formed an emotional attachment to the home. So, don’t mess around with your buyers’ feelings by disappointing them like an online dater who posted a stock photo of a super model in their online profile.