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Hi guys, it’s Naomi Findlay here!
So, you are ready to market your property. It’s the last leg of the renovation journey, and you’re so close to finally seeing that pot of gold at the end of your hard work.
How are you going to present your property to the market? Have you figured out what outlets you’ll be marketing to, and whether you will pay for home staging? Or are you still tossing up on these things, wondering if there are any other ways to maximise your marketing appeal without breaking the bank?
Well, I’m here today to give you another option for this stage of your renovation journey. And that option is called virtual styling.
Now, this isn’t some sort of sci-fi gimmick. Virtual styling doesn’t mean your house is filled with furniture that has been hologram projected. I don’t think technology has come that far yet. Plus, although it’s a pretty cool idea, you will probably end up with buyers more interested (or freaked out) in the technology than in your property. And that might be a lasting first impression – just not the type of impression you are after.
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So, what is virtual styling?
Put simply, virtual styling is when you “beautify” your property on paper. Rather than paying for it to be filled with physical furniture and décor, you add these things into the photos of the place. It’s kind of like photo-shopping images – except you’re not distorting any of the actual walls and features of the house itself.
These additions can come in the form of actual photos of furniture, to images drawn up using computer graphics software.
You may have seen virtual styling used for advertising developments that haven’t come into existence yet – such as in off-the-plan apartments. These new units are never shown as empty properties with bare kitchens and living areas, they are always filled with virtual furniture, carpets, and even flowers. And then there’s a disclosure at the bottom of these images stating that it is an “artist’s impression” of what the final project might look like.
That is what virtual styling would be with your property – except it will use the actual structure of your house rather than an artist’s impression.
So, when does virtual styling come in handy?
Remember in my previous posts I mentioned how important it is to create a great first impression? When marketing your property, you should always, ALWAYS keep your buyers’ first impressions in mind in every choice you make.
And this first impression begins the moment your potential buyers pick up an agent’s flyer, or as soon as they start scrolling through an online real estate database. Before they even attend the open house inspection you have an opportunity to show them your property in its best light.
The properties that are full of well-styled furniture will look more visually appealing – they’re the ones that will stand out and the ones that will make the shortlist for inspection. And that’s where virtual styling comes in.
Because virtual styling doesn’t involve any physical furniture, it will be a lot cheaper than home staging. Where home staging requires money to buy or rent furniture, as well as time and labour to bring all the furniture in and set it up, virtual styling can pretty much be done at the click of your fingers.
It is quick, easy and affordable – and can still leave create that “wow” factor when your target market is on to lookout for their next home.
Just make sure that the virtual styling doesn’t go overboard and make your improvements look fake. That might give off the wrong impression and make buyers think that you are trying to compensate for something that might be wrong with the property. Which you’re not, of course!
What about its limitations?
Virtual styling is exactly that – it’s virtual, which means that any beautiful furniture and décor items shown in the pictures aren’t real. They’re not actually decorating your property at the moment, and that’s why virtual styling is so affordable.
So, in terms of sticking to budget, virtual styling is great. It can help you capture the attention of your potential buyers and entice them to come to your open home. What it can’t do though is establish an emotional connection while they are there.
Think of it as a first date. Your date might like what you looked like in your Facebook profile, but that’s not enough to get you both through your first date and onto your second. You need to show that you are more than your profile picture, and that’s where your personality, humour, compatibility and so forth come into play. And there’s nothing worse than turning up to a first date and being underwhelmed because the pictures set an unrealistic standard.
Just like the date, virtual styling will help you attract your potential buyers to your property, but it can’t get them emotionally attached or committed to it. You need to do that in the actual inspection – and that’s where home staging comes into play.
Plus, if the property has been over-styled in the pictures, your buyers might be a little underwhelmed by the reality. And that’s not the kind of first impression you want to be leaving.
Remember, anyone can make their place look like a palace with virtual styling. But you need to stand out from the crowd when open day rolls around – and that’s where virtual styling is limited.
So, virtual styling can be a great way to help your buyers get an idea of what it would be like to live in your property. Can virtual staging be a replacement for home staging? I would say no. Is it a good idea to consider it for initial marketing purposes? Definitely.
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