The real estate industry has been abuzz with talk about virtual staging and how easy it is to use. But the more important question should be, is it worth using?

Virtual staging of homes, apartments, and offices is taking off globally as a new and powerful marketing tool for realtors. By marketing with beautiful hi-res photographs of furnished rooms realtors can highlight the potential of a space and tap into a buyer’s imagination and their hopes and dreams for their new home.

That’s why more and more photographers are partnering with virtual stagers and realtors in order to create and deliver next-level real estate images. A photo-realistic image of tastefully furnished homes with great lighting, plants, family photographs brings an empty room to life and makes it much easier to sell.

Take a look at PhotoUp’s Virtual Staging Catalog to see what is possible for your properties right now.

Different Types of Virtual Staging

There are two different approaches that you can take when it comes to virtual staging. You can download a virtual staging app and do the work yourself, or you could sign up for a cloud-based, global service provider who can do the work for you, while you’re out there making more sales.

There are pros and cons to both approaches.

Virtual Staging App

Downloading a virtual staging app is a quick and easy way to go. You can probably get a result with your smartphone while you’re standing in the property. But the one-size-fits-all nature of these cheap or free virtual staging apps usually gives your image a fairly generic, fake, and cheap look & feel. At the end of the day, you’ll get what you pay for (or don’t pay for…).

Still, if you have a quick sale opportunity, it might be worth it. There’s very little support on the backend if things with the app don’t work perfectly, and costs could rack up fast as you mix-and-match while battling to make your room look just right.

Be warned as well. Some virtual starting apps simply won’t have a big enough library of virtual furniture for you to choose from, making it hard to find the perfect piece for each room or style of home.

On top of that, if you don’t know what you’re doing design-wise when it comes to virtually staging a room, then you can get bogged down and end up spending a lot of time trying to save a few dollars.

Virtual Staging Company

Virtual staging services offer a very different way of thinking about your online images. For photographers to work with a visual stager is similar to a movie star working with a hair and makeup artist. Sure, they can probably do it themselves, but is it worth their time and effort, or will it look better if they just let the professionals handle it?

As the photographer you submit clean, professional photographs of empty rooms, set the vision of what you think the room should look like, and the virtual staging service works to make that vision become a reality. Well, more of virtual reality.

For realtors, receiving virtually staged photographs from their photographers is a valuable service because it takes a huge responsibility out of their hands while at the same time delivering valuable marketing images for their listing and their clients. Not to mention, helping them drive more traffic to their listing.

When you start using a virtual staging company, you are making a choice to produce better quality work. You are committing to offering a service that is becoming more and more mainstream in real estate marketing, making yourself a one-stop shop as a real estate photographer.

The costs of using a virtual staging company are likely higher than doing it yourself, but the results speak for themselves.

Cost of Virtual Staging

There is no comparison when it comes to cost between real home staging and virtual staging. Home staging is exponentially more expensive, typically between $500-1000 per home. But when it comes to virtual staging, you do need to make choices between using a virtual staging service or doing it alone via an app.

There are many options on the market today and pricing can vary from as little as $5 per month all the way up to $129 per photo for luxury listings. There’s a market niche for everyone, but if you want quality, collaboration, and 24-hour service and support at an affordable price, then a virtual staging service like PhotoUp is your best bet.

With PhotoUp’s virtual staging service, you’re charged 25 credits per virtual staging image. Credits start at just $1 (see PhotoUp pricing), which makes it affordable to stage a whole house for around $100. You’ll select furniture sets that come with 5-7 pieces of furniture and PhotoUp will do the rest. They’ll stage the room with a certain look, adjust the lighting and shadows to add realism, digitally enhance the image, and then return it to you ready for download.

Working with a virtual staging service instead of an app is slightly more expensive, but you’ll work with design professionals and digital experts who do the hard work for you, as opposed to having to do it all yourself.

Not all of us are interior designers, especially in the digital realm!

Is Virtual Staging Worth It?

When you weigh all the pros and cons of virtual staging, it seems almost certain that it’s worth it for someone who wants to expand their real estate marketing services to their clients. Regardless of whether you decide to use a virtual staging app or one of the best virtual staging companies out there, you’ll be able to add an additional service to your business and provide more value to your clients.

There are certainly cost benefits as well as aesthetic benefits when using virtual staging. Spending a few hundred dollars on a set of images that will last forever versus spending thousands of dollars doing in-home staging makes the decision seem like an easy one.

If real estate is your main business, then sooner or later you’re going to have to embrace virtual staging if you want to be taken seriously as a real estate photographer. For photographers who choose to work with a professional virtual staging company, you’ll add value, add revenue, and hopefully add a few more agents to your client list.

Did you know that PhotoUp offers free revisions on virtual staging if you’re not happy with the initial result? Try PhotoUp’s virtual staging today so we can show you what our incredible team is capable of!