As the pandemic pushes the real estate business to get creative in how homes are bought and sold online, staging services are booming. Homes that present well in videos and photographs are the first to capture the attention of buyers, and staging can make a dramatic difference in how quickly and at what price a home sells. 

But there’s more to the future of home staging than meets the eye. Virtual staging services are the next generation of interior designers, but they’re significantly less expensive, with a faster turnaround time than traditional approaches.

The results can be quite stunning and unexpected, with attention-grabbing, high-definition digital enhancements and unique indoor/outdoor furniture layouts highlighting one-of-a-kind artwork and landscaping decor.

Some studios have photographer networks covering all 50 states. Others expect the client to provide the photographs. Some are full-service companies with high-end digital enhancements and design, while others are self-service. Most will add furniture, cabinetry, flooring, paint and virtual twilight, but can also include 3D floor plans and virtual landscaping upon request.

If you have a favorite artist or gallery, some services will customize your rooms with fine or contemporary art pieces to help your property stand out from others and give your local artists some additional exposure.

To make your property look expansive, stage it completely unfurnished with strategically placed artwork and nothing else. If you prefer museum-quality art, some collections will allow royalty-free use from their digital archives.

Stage with Middle Eastern or Asian art to attract international buyers. For example, Tara Gallery in Pacific Palisades, California has an extensive collection of contemporary Iranian art. Recommended New York City galleries include, but are not limited to: Lilac Gallery, Robert Simon Fine Art, Robert Mann Gallery and Pop International Galleries.

Most agencies will provide virtual staging to residential properties as well as commercial, including multi- and single-family developments, office spaces, vacation rentals, senior living, retail stores, event venues, hotels and more. 

It’s also worth mentioning that Zillow search engines favor listings with videos, so consider stitching the photos together to create a video slideshow. Here are some of the best virtual staging software and apps — according to Hubspot — that you can recommend to your clients. 

1. PadStyler

Same-day delivery, money-back guarantee and unlimited free revisions are just some of the perks PadStyler offers. The company is a full-service option for sellers, providing virtual home staging, virtual furniture replacement, virtual remodeling, virtual landscaping and interactive 3D rendering.

A free virtual tour is included with every order. They even have a catalogue of 86 paintings that you can add to your home and are leaders in photorealistic 3D product visualization.

2. VHT Studios

VHT is a full-service agency that offers a buffet of options including drone photography and video, floor plans, video home tours and virtual staging. The company’s certified photographers carry out photography sessions, and its studio image specialists work on enhancing photos with quick turnaround. 

The company makes the promise to help sell a home “faster” and at a higher price with their staging services — whether the property’s vacant, furnished or simply in need of a cleanup.

3. VRX Staging

Its parent company, VRX Media Group, offers HDR professional real estate photography across the United States, but you can also upload your own photographs if they are under 6mb per photo.

You’ll receive one free revision per photo, and if you need more, you’ll only pay $5.00 per revision per photo after that. Want customized staging? Just tell them in the optional notes field at checkout.

4. Real Tour Vision

Real Tour Vision is a full-service agency, boasting offerings like panoramic photography, virtual reality tours for VR headsets and single-property websites.

This virtual tour software company allows you to learn how to virtually stage your home in under an hour. Then, you’ll get to do it yourself with their proprietary software, which will cost you $15 per photo. Alternatively, you can hire the professionals to do it for you, which will set you back $35 per photo.

5. Barion Design Luxury Home Staging

Helmed by celebrity home stager Ilaria Barion, this boutique firm focuses on staging luxury properties virtually. With over 50,000 virtually staged properties under its belt, the company has luxury staging experience in spades.

The experts at Barion Design — trained graphic designers and professional home stagers — produce virtual renderings that are not just ultra realistic, but also sophisticated and appealing to the luxury homebuyer. For a glimpse of what the end results look like, here are a few before-and-after examples.

6. Spotless Agency

Spotless Agency offers three packages: light, standard and professional, ranging from $79 to $199 per photo. The turnaround time is between 24-48 hours, and should the client need them, revisions are free.

Spotless Agency provides architectural visualization, life-like furniture staging, virtual landscaping and exterior staging. Sotheby’s International Realty, Douglas Elliman, Compass and Corcoran Group are among the agency’s top-billed clients.

7. BoxBrownie

Give BoxBrownie your photos, and in 48 hours, they’ll get them back to you beautifully staged (for $32 an image). You can choose from a variety of styles, including modern, Scandinavian, contemporary, Hamptons, traditional, farmhouse and urban or industrial.

For additional fees, BoxBrownie also offers image enhancement, day-to-dusk image retouching, item removal, floor plan redraws, virtual renovations and 360-degree virtual tours, among other services. 

Megan Eskey is the founder and CEO of Reloquence, a real estate digital marketing company. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn

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