Virtual home tours and showings are increasingly popular in real estate. They allow prospective home buyers to view the property on their own time, reducing unnecessary contact and helping them to avoid homes that they aren’t really interested in. A greater focus on virtual viewings can be a double-edged sword, however; still photos and walkthrough videos don’t always capture the heart of a property the way that being there in person can.
Proper staging can go a long way toward fixing this problem. The rules of staging are a bit different when planning for virtual visitors than they would be if you were prepping for an open house or other in-person tour, though. Here are a few things to keep in mind when staging your home for a virtual tour to help ensure that online home shoppers are suitably wowed by your property.
Start at the Door
When a potential buyer comes to your property for a tour or an open house, the first thing they’ll see is the door and front of the home. Start your virtual tour the same way. Touch up the paint on your door, make sure that any flowers or other decorations are well cared for, and clean up any messes that might be in the front yard. Starting at the front provides a bit of familiarity and gives viewers the same first impression that they and their visitors will see if they do decide to buy the house.
Accent With Art
For the most part, you want to remove as many personal effects as possible when staging a home so that potential home buyers can see the potential of the space as something they can make over. With virtual tours and online showings, though, this just comes across as bare walls. You should still remove family photos and personal effects so that viewers don’t feel like they’re peeking in on someone else’s life. Replace them with pieces of art or other items that break up the monotony of bare walls or empty floors. A wall-mounted TV, modular fireplace or other accents can also work well for this purpose.
Cut the Clutter
Decluttering is important when showing a house. When viewing in person, potential buyers tend to overlook if your home is still being lived in. But because things come across differently in still photos and video tours, clutter usually makes a home look less appealing online. Even if you have to rearrange things between photos and move certain items off camera, do everything you can to provide a clean, clutter-free view of your home.
Use Positioning to Your Advantage
Angles are important when taking photos or making videos for online showings. Showcase the space available in your home by placing tables or other large pieces of furniture in one corner of the shot, letting the photo show off how open the dining room is or how much area there really is in the living room. You can also show off your favorite views from within the house by taking pictures from the same angle you’d be sitting at, letting viewers see the home in the same ways that you enjoy.
Let Viewers in on the Secret
Do you have any hidden, obscure or otherwise “secret” areas in your home? If so, be sure to include them in your virtual staging plans. You might provide just a peek at a hidden closet or a special play-space in your flower garden, or you could choose to elaborate on the secret and give viewers a great view of everything it has to offer. Regardless of how you do it, showing off the secrets in your home will help to give it more personality and get potential buyers that much more interested.
Ask for Help
Staging a home can be a big job. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.