Last week I was talking to Kris Bjarne Haug, a real estate photographer in the Greater New Orleans area and noticed that Kris has a site dedicated to his virtual staging product.
I've gotten mixed feedback from agents and photographers on this subject so I was anxious to get Kris's perspective on how things were going with his product.
Kris made several points about his virtual staging product:
- It's difficult to judge this products true potential because he is not currently marketing it as a stand alone product. Kris is just offering it to his real estate photography customers that need virtual staging.
- He says it's a good add on product that he sells to many agents that hire him to shoot vacant listings.
- Kris says, the agents that have used to product are very pleased and some even think it makes a difference in making the sale faster. Although he doesn't have any statistics to measure it's effect.
- He says he is very careful to not virtually stage Viking Stoves or change light fixtures or do anything different than a standard staging person would do so chances of misrepresentation are minimized.
- Kris says that when he makes a sales presentation to an office full of agents, a product like virtual staging adds to the professional image of his company. Agents are impressed by the capability.
In summary Kris believes virtual staging has a big potential but doesn't see that it is currently a viable product by itself.
I think as agents, buyers and sellers become more familiar with virtual staging, it will become more accepted and popular. Some believe there is an element of deception involved because when the buyer physically gets to the home it will be vacant. But in fact, this frequently happens with conventionally staged homes because when market times are long home sellers frequently don't want to continue to pay monthly charges for furniture rental so they cancel the staging and the home is vacant but the listing photos are staged. We've had this happen many times with our listings.