A friend in the industry recently shared this article with me from the business section of CNN’s website, in which the author reported on the recent increase of virtual staging within the real estate industry. The article quoted a couple of real estate agency executives in Florida who noted that with the increased quality and sophistication of virtual staging software, there was no real need to pay the money (or the time) on traditional staging with actual furniture, art pieces, etc. One executive was quoted as saying: “My average staging can cost between $4,000 to $8,000 (but) virtual staging will cost me $100 to $150." The article went on to note that, even when these agencies are doing an open house in an empty home, they are displaying photos of the virtually staged room on an easel set up in the actual room so that visitors can more easily visualize what the space might look like.
The article made a compelling case for the use of virtual staging within the real estate realm. We know that the cost of virtual staging has come down over the past 3-4 years and the quality has increased by leaps and bounds. We also know that many real estate photographers have already incorporated additional services beyond standard still photography as part of their business (i.e., aerial photography, video, 3D, floor plans, etc.). So, my questions to the group are: Is there a legitimate opportunity here? Is virtual staging something that you might consider including as part of your service offering? Or do you consider it gimmicky?