Virtual staging is becoming an increasingly popular tool for real estate photographers and agents to help market a listing and especially if it’s a vacant property. By adding digital furniture and décor, it can make a listing stand out from the competition and attract more potential buyers.
However, virtual staging must be done ethically in order to ensure that it doesn’t mislead or deceive potential buyers.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to ethically market your listing with virtual staging. We’ll also provide some best practices to ensure your virtual staging is MLS-compliant.
What Is Virtual Staging?
Virtual staging is a tool used by real estate photographers, agents, and sellers to help market a property.
It involves digitally adding furniture, décor, and other elements into photos of an empty or outdated space in order to make it more attractive and appealing to potential buyers.
This powerful marketing tool can be an effective way to showcase the potential of a space without having to physically stage the property with actual furnishings or decorations.
In fact, the digital form of staging can save sellers up to 97% when compared to traditional home staging.
By using virtual staging, you can give prospective buyers a better idea of how they could use the space in their own homes while still ensuring that your listing is presented honestly and accurately.
Why Use Virtual Staging to Market Your Listing?
Firstly, virtual staging is a great way to market your property listing and make it stand out from the competition.
Second, this technology can help give prospective buyers a realistic picture of what the home could look like with furniture and décor without having to physically stage the property, which can be very costly.
Not only does this help potential buyers envision their own lives in the space, but it also ensures that your listing is presented honestly and accurately.
You can use this powerful marketing tool to:
- Furniture empty rooms and make them look more inviting
- Declutter or redecorate real estate photos
- Help the buyer imagine repairs and remodeling options
- Enhance the lawn and curb appeal of a home
- Present the buyer with design and decorating possibilities
Additionally, digital staging can be an effective way to showcase any special features of the home such as:
- High ceilings
- Large windows
- A calming fireplace
- Or beautiful floorings that may otherwise be covered by old, big rugs
This can help you draw attention to these elements while still giving potential buyers a realistic idea of what the space could look like once it’s furnished and decorated.
For more details, you can visit our blog post on 10 benefits of virtual staging for real estate agents.
How to Ensure Your Virtual Staging Is Done Ethically
When using digital staging to market a listing, it’s important to ensure that all images and visuals are in compliance with the MLS and other relevant laws.
To ensure this, real estate photographers and agents should be familiar with the local MLS rules regarding virtual staging, including any limitations or restrictions on what can or cannot be digitally added.
For instance, any virtually staged photo added to the MLS or used for any other marketing purposes should be clearly labeled as “virtually staged.”
Keep in mind, that while most multiple listing services allow agents to add property photos with marks on them, some do not.
So prior to posting labeled photos, check with your local MLS to ensure doing so is in compliance with its policies. If you can’t mark the photos, you can try:
- Disclosing that the photos used are digitally staged somewhere in your marketing copy
- Checking to see if your MLS has captioning ability beneath each photo
- Mentioning your use of virtual staging in all your marketing materials
Here’s an example of a disclaimer you can add to your listing description:
“Some images have been virtually staged to better showcase the true potential of rooms and spaces in the home.”
Overall, disclosing the use of digital staging is the most honest and transparent way to present your photos and to keep you compliant with MLS rules.
In addition, it’s a good practice to avoid making exaggerated claims about the property or its features when using any form of real estate marketing.
All images should accurately represent the property as it actually exists and not show features that are not present in reality.
Be careful to not manipulate the photos by creating views from the property that do not exist, such as lakes, skylines, and other landmarks, or removing certain items or neighboring property structures.
Furthermore, obtaining written permission from the homeowner before proceeding is recommended in order to ensure that no ethical boundaries are crossed during the process.
Taking these steps will help ensure that your listing is presented ethically and legally so that potential buyers have an accurate impression of what they are viewing.
Best Virtual Staging Practices
To give you a better overview, here are some best practices when it comes to having your images virtually staged and ethically marketing your listing:
- Always familiarize yourself with all MLS rules and regulations related to virtual staging
- Clearly mark each photo as “virtually staged”
- Also, disclose virtual renovations and updates
- Include before and after photos in the listing and marketing materials
- Avoid making exaggerated claims about the property or its features
- Make sure all images accurately represent the property as is and avoid marketing features that are not present in reality
- Obtain written permission from the homeowner before proceeding with digital staging
- Use realistic furniture, décor, and other elements that don’t misrepresent the actual space
- Don’t alter photos of existing furnishings or decorations in a way that would be deceptive to potential buyers
- Be aware of any local laws or regulations regarding digital advertising and marketing practices
To recap, digital staging is a great tool to help market your property listing and make it stand out from the competition, as long as it’s done ethically so that potential buyers aren’t misled or deceived.
This could potentially lead to some uncomfortable situations.
With these best practices in mind, you should have no problem to ethically marketing your listing with virtual staging.
Use the #1 Virtual Staging Service – PhotoUp
PhotoUp has emerged as one of the most exciting and cutting-edge virtual staging providers of the last few years.
At PhotoUp, we’ve made great strides in streamlining our services with a user-friendly website and image uploader, extensive furniture library with 11 design styles, and 1000s of accessories, including:
- Mid-Century Modern
- And Commercial
We offer an affordable service, starting at $20 to $30 per image, and a quick turnaround of 24 to 48 hours.
Our full range of virtual staging services includes:
- Virtually staging for vacant or furnished rooms
- Home redesigns and full makeovers
- Dozens of furnishing and decor style options
- Color changes for walls, furnishings, and flooring
- Digital decluttering and repairs and updates
- Sky replacements and lawn enhancements
- And much, much more!
Additionally, PhotoUp is a full-service online real estate marketing business with additional services such as:
- Real estate photo editing
- Virtual house tours
- Single property websites
- Real estate photographer websites
- Real estate flyers
- Floor plans
- Video editing
- Virtual assistants
- House portraits
- And more!
And unlike some of our competitors, our services are extremely easy to use. In just 3 simple steps, you’ll get stunning, digitally staged rooms:
1. Sign up for a PhotoUp account and upload your photos
2. Select from our large library of design styles and furnishings
3. In under 48 hours, we’ll send you proofs for approval and download
PhotoUp Virtual Staging Demo
Check out our image uploader tutorial to see how easy it is to get started:
It’s really as simple as 1-2-3!
So, sign up for a free PhotoUp account, and let our expert real estate photo editors ensure your virtual staging is done ethically, and at the same time, make your images stand out from the competition!
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