Is Virtual Staging the Solution to Your Home Sale?

staging is an important task for preparing a home for sale

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Whether you’re looking for a safer way to sell your home during the coronavirus pandemic, selling property from out of state, or selling a vacant home, virtual staging can help you show off your home’s best side. Not only that, but virtual staging can be much more affordable than traditional home staging. Want to learn more? Read on to learn all about virtually staging your home to sell.

How Virtual Staging Works

Virtual staging eliminates the need for expensive rental furniture by using digital applications to insert furniture, artwork, and other staging elements into real estate photographs. Virtual staging apps let agents choose from a gallery of furniture and décor options in order to decorate a home to appeal to a specific set of buyers.

While virtual staging is simpler and cheaper than traditional home staging, it’s not a DIY solution. Designing a space that appeals to buyers takes skill. That’s why agents use apps and software that let them upload photos and receive professionally staged rooms in return. Luckily, the costs are much lower than traditional home staging: Even the most high-end staging apps are only around $120 per photo.

Virtual Staging and Your Selling Strategy

Staging is just one part of your home-selling strategy. If you’re opting for virtual staging due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, you also need to consider how you’ll show your home safely.

Live video chat tours have exploded in popularity during COVID-19. With a live agent leading a virtual tour, buyers get all the benefits of an in-person walkthrough minus any health risk.

Video tours are beneficial outside the current climate as well. Out-of-state buyers in particular may opt for a live video tour rather than traveling to view a property in person. 3D walkthroughs are also popular with both local and out-of-state buyers. By including a 3D walkthrough on their listing, sellers ensure only serious buyers schedule tours. In some cases, a 3D tour can eliminate the need for an open house.

Whether sellers opt for a 3D walkthrough or not, they shouldn’t skimp on real estate photos. Professional photography is the curb appeal of modern home buying, and without it, you’ll have trouble getting buyers to take a closer look at your listing.

Preparing Your Home for Virtual Staging

Virtual staging works best on vacant homes. With rooms already bare, it’s easy for staging professionals to add furniture and décor.

That doesn’t mean you can’t virtually stage your home while living in it, however. It’s possible to virtually stage furnished homes by first editing out furniture, clutter, and cosmetic flaws. Keep in mind, however, that this adds to the cost of virtual staging. Sellers who occupy their home while selling still need to spend time preparing the property in order to avoid overpaying for virtual staging.

Take these steps to prepare for virtual home staging:

1. Declutter

The less in your home, the better. Sellers should eliminate any and all clutter as well as move bulky furniture into storage. While storing items in closets and cupboards can work for virtual staging, keep in mind that buyers will see inside these areas during a home tour.

2. Depersonalize

Don’t forget family photos, unique artwork, and other personal decor when decluttering your home for virtual staging. If you plan on offering in-person home tours, be sure to secure personal items, too.

3. Repaint

Virtual staging is all about creating a clean look. However, that’s hard to do when a home’s interior is painted in unusual colors. Create a neutral backdrop by repainting rooms with shades of white, beige, or another popular paint color.

4. Rethink window treatments

Dirty or dated window treatments can also get in the way of virtual staging. If your window treatments have seen better days, consider removing them for your real estate photography session.

5. Make repairs

Don’t think you can hide problems through virtual staging. Whether they’re viewing virtually staged photos or taking a 3D walkthrough, buyers notice little problems like missing outlet covers, water stains, and cabinets that don’t close. Take care of minor repairs like these before investing in staging.

6. Deep clean

Finally, ensure your home is spotlessly clean before virtual staging. Many buyers opt to hire a professional cleaning crew to handle this step rather than deep clean themselves. If you do opt to DIY a deep clean, use a checklist to ensure you don’t miss anything important.

Virtual staging is an easy and cost-effective way to get your home market-ready. However, it’s not a free pass for sellers. Even with virtual staging, home sellers should expect to spend time and money getting their house ready to sell. By transforming their homes into a blank slate, sellers can get the best results possible from their virtual staging experience.

Smart Organizational Tips for Downsizing to an Apartment

Smart Organizational Tips for Downsizing to an Apartment

Downsizing to a smaller apartment can be overwhelming. But, if you plan ahead and take it one step at a time, you’ll find the entire experience not only enjoyable, but also cathartic as you begin the organizational process to simplify your life.  

Renting a smaller apartment comes with plenty of benefits, from lower utility bills and rent to less space to clean and keep organized. A smaller space can even be a simpler way of living, while also allowing you more time and money for yourself. 

But, before you get started, check out the tips below that will relieve some of the stress associated with downsizing and keep you on track for a smooth transition. 

Preparing Your Belongings

Downsizing is always about boxes, packing them and then unpacking them. Pack by room is the best.Start preparing for your move in advance, perhaps even months ahead of time. If you know you want to downsize, begin working on the following now. Doing so will help you tremendously when the time comes to start packing.

  • Keep Track of How Often You Use Things

You probably notice these things every day, but don’t give them much thought. When you’re deciding what to wear, what plate to eat on, what glasses to drink from, and other small decisions like these, you always lean toward certain things. So, start keeping track of the items you use every day and those that you only use once a week, once a month or not at all. Then, track these habits on a piece of paper to visualize the usefulness of your items. This will make it easier to discard some of them when it’s time to pack for a new place. 

  • Find a Use for it

Sometimes, you keep things just because. Although it’s important to have personal trinkets and items you treasure — even if they’re not particularly useful — be careful about becoming an emotional hoarder. That means being unable to get rid of things with which you are emotionally connected. In time, they’ll pile up and you’ll have boxes upon boxes of memories that you just can’t give up. If you have a hard time letting go, ask for help from professionals and check out our guides for coping with hoarding.

So, while it might be tough, try to find the purpose in all of your things. Does that picture make you feel something or is it filled with emotion? If so, then it’s probably something you want to keep. On the other hand, if it’s just something you’ve had forever that doesn’t really speak to you, then it’s probably time to let go

  • Discard Unused Items Regularly

Sometimes, we buy stuff we think we’ll use, but then we never do. These items often include kitchen tools that are too complicated or a hassle, or spur-of-the-moment purchases for that new hobby that we never actually begin. If it’s something you’re keeping just in case you’ll want to pick it up some day, you should probably discard it.

Preparing for the New Apartment

Now that you have a basis for your organization, you can start to prepare for your move.

  • Measure the Space 

Once you’ve decided on the apartment you want to rent, go for a visit before you begin packing. Check everything out, measure the space and write down the dimensions of all of your rooms. As you wander around the apartment, visualize your things in each room and how you will interact with them. You might even want to write down the main items you want in each room. At the very least, have a mental image before you start bringing in boxes. That way, you’ll know what to put where and unpacking will be much easier.

  • Pack by Room, not Item Type

Making lists for downsizing is highly recommended, particularly for boomers.Group your items by room, not by type. For instance, if you’ve visualized a small library in your living room, but you also have some books you like to keep close to your bed, then don’t be afraid to separate those. The same goes for everything else — from pillows to artwork. 

Note that you don’t have to keep the design from your previous home. This is crucial if you downsize. With fewer rooms in your new apartment, an exact transition might be difficult. So, when you pack, think of the new apartment, not of the old one. Having the list from the previous section will make the transition simpler. Additionally, remember to label your boxes and drop them off in the appropriate room.

  • Adapt for Your Lifestyle

Finally, know that there’s no such thing as the perfect recipe for downsizing. It all depends on your lifestyle and choices. Although guidance is sometimes necessary and welcome, no one can tell you exactly what to throw away, what to donate or what to sell, because you’re the only one who knows that. Try to detach for a bit and imagine your life with or without certain things. Then, see how that affects the way you live every day. It’s a process you have to be ready for, so make sure to prepare mentally, as well. 

Downsizing is not a burden. It’s a purge and a path to liberation. Embrace this change and remember that it’s not permanent. The choice will always be yours.

About the author: Mihaela Buzec is a passionate reader and writer with an affinity for language and linguistics, as well as the latest technological developments. She discovered her passion for real estate at RENTCafé, and you can read more of her articles on their blog.

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