Table of Contents
Virtual Staging House Media is the next virtual staging company that we feel deserved an in-depth review. The company has a good reputation and seems to be a serious competitor in the world of online real estate marketing.
Let’s take a look under the hood and see how well they perform in today’s review.
|2021 Ranking||5 of 7||1 of 7|
|Cost per Image||$29.00 per image||$25.00 per image|
|Turnaround Time||30 hours||24-48 hours|
|Interior Design Style Count||12 or more design styles||9 or more design styles|
|Room Type Count||12 or more room types||12 or more room types|
|Cost per Image||$29.00 per image||$25.00 per image|
|Cost of Revision||$2.00 per revision||free revisions|
|Turnaround Time||30 hours||24-48 hours|
|Interface||yes and easy to learn||yes and easy to learn|
|Response Time||6 hours||5 minutes|
VSH Media Virtual Staging Overview
VSH Media (Virtual Staging House) is a virtual staging provider that caters to the residential and commercial real estate business with a variety of offerings.
The company was founded by Marc Avila in Chicago eight years ago. As a Real Estate Broker for over 15 years, Marc saw the need to efficiently furnish his listings while not breaking the bank. That was the initial impulse for VSH Media which has since expanded into offerings such as advertising, brochures, property websites, flyers, and more for professionals in the real estate industry.
Ordering From VSH Media
1. Account Sign Up
Signing up for a VSH Media account involves filling out a basic form that sends a confirmation email to the address you have provided. You click a Verify Email button and it takes you back to the Home page. So far, so good.
2. Ordering & Selecting Furniture
Ordering your virtual staging image is done through the Shop tab. Click the Buy button after selecting the product you’d like to purchase.
Next, you are presented with three options to choose from:
1. Pay As You Go! – $0/month
• $29/image for virtual staging
• No same day delivery
2. Gold Plan – $39/month
• $18/image for 30 hour delivery
• $24/image for same day delivery
• $10 monthly credit
3. Silver Plan – $29/month
• $22/image for 30 hour delivery
• $27/image for same day delivery
• $6 monthly credit
Uploading photos is a 3 step process; Upload Images, Add Notes & Select Furniture, Review & Pay. The layout is clean, user-friendly, and functions well.
One really nice feature is that you can click on a part of your image and leave some instructions about what you want which is really handy and quite specific. (The red dot indicates where I’ve asked for a special rug to cover some marks on the floor.)
There are 12 room types to choose from and 12 furniture styles, as well as one that lets the VSH Media team choose for you. I chose Hamptons for this particular set of photos. You can also add in names of particular furniture pieces you would like them to add to the room.
It’s a little tedious having to do each of your rooms separately with all the selections. I personally prefer it when all of these choices are on the same page.
The payment process begins with reviewing the order that you just created, which is helpful.
Another step comes in where you can add in a tip for the ‘design elves’ and review your order once again. That’s a nice touch but it’s pre-loaded with a $5 tip for the “elves”, which I found annoying. (Is it just me that finds the name design elves a little condescending?) I clicked through to Paypal then had to go back when I saw the extra $5 charge.
The payments page is quite sophisticated and it’s good to see an option to pay with either Paypal or credit card. Many other virtual staging companies don’t offer both payment options.
After I corrected the preloaded $5 tip for the “elves”, the actual payment worked smoothly.
4. Reviewing Order/Proofs
The first thing to say about the reviewing process is that it took a lot longer than I had anticipated. I have gotten used to other services far exceeding the times they suggested, but VSH delivery took almost exactly 30 hours. It is what they said it would be, but I was hoping that was a conservative estimate.
The next thing that happened was that the email notification telling me my order was ready somehow was diverted to the Promotions tab in my Gmail, which meant I didn’t see it there for some time. I’m not sure why that is, but it also slowed the process down. Something to keep in mind when ordering from VSH Media…
Clicking on the View Details button takes you back to a login screen and then you’re redirected to the Home Page. From there, you have to figure out where to go to see your images. It’s not hard, but those are more steps than necessary, in my opinion.
I made it to the My Projects page, where I discovered that I seem to have two projects on the go. It looks like the one may be where I decided I didn’t want to pay the $5 tip and backpedaled. That’s a little bit concerning and I hope I don’t get charged twice (luckily I was not).
The final image proofs show up as small thumbnails with an option to zoom in and take a closer look. You can also download a Zip file for the full resolution images. That all worked nicely.
Virtual Staging Examples
I uploaded three empty rooms (a master bedroom, living room, dining /kitchen) to VSH Media and asked them to apply a Hamptons style to each image.
Let’s take a look at their work!
Overall, I found the artistic quality of the work to be tasteful and pleasing. The Hamptons look really worked for the rooms and they had chosen tasteful pieces with some nice touches that were very realistic, e.g. the pillows and shadows on the bed were excellent and the furniture chosen for the living room was great.
However, I didn’t like the Welcome mat placed in the living room and in both the living and kitchen areas, the flowers placed on tables were clearly fake.
Here’s a close up so you can see for yourself:
There was a bit of inconsistency between the rooms. The kitchen and bedroom were really quite good, but the living room felt rather average.
I ended up asking for revisions on the living room.
Sending Back Revisions
It took me some time to figure out how to request a revision and submit my comments. I clicked around unsuccessfully for a while until I discovered where you are supposed to enter your comments and then you have to click Submit at the top, then request a revision at the bottom. This felt a bit counterintuitive and the UX here could definitely be improved.
Another odd thing is that after my revision request, it showed up on the My Projects screen but it seemed to indicate that I had asked for the request in a different room. This felt a little odd.
(Plot twist: The revisions request didn’t seem to work for them either. A few hours later, I got an email asking what the revisions were and to rather put them down in an email. Clearly, they were having some technical difficulties with their system.)
Turns out the Revisions process was a real disappointment. After 48 hours, there was still no update, then I got an email apologizing and saying my request had landed in spam. Then, after the revision was finally complete, I received no notification that the revision was done.
Based on my experiences with other virtual staging providers, VSH Media has got a lot of work to do in streamlining their revisions process.
I was also hoping that they would try to fix the flowers on the table, not just remove them. As you can see in the revised image above, the flowers have been replaced with an empty vase. Not quite what I was hoping for…
Unlike PhotoUp there is no furniture library for you to select pieces from. Your role is to simply select the style that you want and then leave it in the hands of the designers to implement. They do a fine job but I really like the fact that PhotoUp gave me the option of choosing the furniture sets that I wanted for my rooms. It felt like much more of a collaborative experience.
Virtual Staging Quality
In a nutshell, VSH Media is a decent option for real estate professionals who are not in a rush to get things done. Their service is well-intentioned, all the interactions with their team were very polite, but it took a lot longer than many of the other services I’ve reviewed. For the price they are charging, they could certainly do a better job on their revision systems and revision quality. Artistically, they can compete with the best VS companies and their UX framework is nice and functional, for the most part. I feel like if they put a little more effort into their system we would definitely see them rise up in the rankings for 2022.
Layout and positioning were great in the photos I received. The sense of realism with the furniture was really good, although the plants and flowers left a lot to be desired. The 2D nature of the plants needs to really be fixed if they are going to compete with the likes of PhotoUp and BoxBrownie going forward.
VSH Media Support
In my opinion, the support is where VSH Media really tripped up, and could do much better. The revisions that I asked for took a long time, some sections (e.g. Revisions) didn’t work properly, and occasional messages seemed to get lost along the way.
They did get the job done eventually, but it was a slow process and not a great overall experience from my end. At the end of the day, the issues I ran into spoiled what had been an otherwise satisfactory experience.
VSH Media is a decent option for your virtual staging needs if you are not in a hurry to get results, and do not mind paying a little more for your final product. They produce very tasteful images and the ordering and payment is on a par with the other services. With a few tweaks to their backend and customer service, I suspect they could become one of the bigger players in the growing VS industry.