Virtual Staging: Relief for Multi-Unit Marketers’ Greatest Headache

Virtual Staging is a growing, affordable solution for multi-housing owners and managers marketing properties that are vacant or decorated with unappealing décor.

SarahAndersonThere are common laments from the owners, managers and developers in new communities, high-rises and resorts. “Vacant apartments are a challenge to rent. Units filled with worn or dated furnishings are a turn-off, too!” If the rooms in your online listing are calling out for new paint, furnishings or décor, chances are renters will ignore it. Let’s face it, you can’t lease an apartment unless renters see it, but they won’t come see it unless they see beautiful photographs that showcase the property’s true potential.

Fortunately, multifamily owners now have a wide range of virtual staging tools that attract attention by enabling them to envision the property as their next home and shortening the time an apartment is on the market.

Virtual staging is gaining popularity as a cost-effective solution to broaden a property’s online appeal. Tools such as virtual staging, virtual paint, virtual redecorating and virtual declutter present how a home could look, post-sale. They address a number of headaches for multi-housing marketers, especially those with vacant or foreclosed units, or properties appealing to foreign buyers unable to visit in-person.

No furniture? No problem!

With virtual staging, a professional will photograph a vacant home or apartment from many different angles to capture the variety of room sizes and lighting conditions.  The images can then be enhanced digitally by a specialist who can insert virtual furniture, apply virtual paint, install virtual carpet and window treatments or virtually remove expensive artwork or clutter.

Market more cost-efficiently.

The costs of traditionally staging a property, including furniture, wall and floor coverings can be staggering. Property managers and developers can pay from $3,000 to $12,000 a month to rent furnishings. Virtual staging slashes that expense by at least 90 percent. It is also a convenience for the owners or managers who don’t have the time or money to invest in updates.

Rent more quickly.

Without furnishings, an apartment can sit vacant for months because many potential renters have difficulty envisioning the space without furnishings.

The only thing better than showing how spaces look today is showing how they could look. The renter isn’t going to have the existing furniture and décor. He wants to see the decorating possibilities to make it their home, and Virtual Staging helps them build a vision.

Virtual Paint, for example, can change the appearance of any flat surface. Bright pink nursery walls can be transformed into more neutral colors for a library or office.

Virtual Redecorate magically transforms any room with wide-ranging design styles and furnishings. A room is photographed in its existing condition, and then its furniture, paint, carpeting and décor are virtually stripped down to bare walls and flooring. Owners and managers and renters can decorate their properties in styles that fit potential buyers’ profiles.

Virtual Declutter is an apartment manager’s dream. Gone are the days of crossing fingers in hope that they’re presenting an apartment free of cluttered counters, tables, dressers and floors. Listing photographs are virtually decluttered of distracting personal effects such as family photos, trophies, knickknacks and refrigerator artwork.

Virtual goes commercial, too.

Virtual staging is not just for residential properties. It helps prospective office tenants visualize how employees will work and interact within work spaces. Buyers need not use their imagination. Virtual staging presents many furnished views to envision what office space could look like with desks, conference tables, café seating, cabinetry, multi-media consoles, lighting, artwork and partitions.

Sarah Anderson is vice president marketing at VHT Studios®, the largest real estate photography, video and multimedia company in the country. To learn more about how multi-housing investors, owners and managers can use virtual staging tools to improve their own marketing initiatives, visit http://vht.com/virtual-staging, or email Anderson at sarah_anderson@vht.com.