Why virtual staging is NOT going to help you sell your house.

I was reading this  blog article about  Virtual Staging and couldn’t agree more  with their conclusion: 

“In conclusion … when it comes to ROI (return on investment) real staging is hands down the best option if it’s within the seller’s budget. Like I always say, staging is less expensive than your first price reduction!”

read the full article: https://mynestisthebest.com/2019/05/10/why-virtual-staging-is-not-going-to-help-sell-your-house/

After seven plus years staging properties for sale in Port Macquarie and throughout the mid-north coast NSW our statistics confirm over and over again, from hundreds of staged properties – professionally staging a home for sale – on average – sells faster and for more than a poorly presented or virtually staged property.  Agents tell us. Sale prices tell us.  Staged properties sell for the higher end of a price estimate range and often sell more more than expected .  There is very rarely a price reduction in a staged property if the vendor has chosen an agent who knows the market and sets a realistic price range.  

So is virtually staging a house better than showing a property empty?  

The verdict is out on this one.  From the agencies we deal with some also (reluctantly) virtually stage, especially new builds, when they can’t convince their client of the benefits of investing in physically staging. Other agents would prefer to show a property empty rather than virtually staging – and price accordingly (knowing they could ask for more in a home physically staged). Why do they think virtual staging is detrimental? The disappointment when potential buyers visits a home, attracted to it through online photography showing furnished rooms, then open the front door to an empty space. 

Some agencies don’t even mark the photos they upload online as ‘virtually staged’. I am not sure if it is illegal but it could be seen as misleading – see below to read what Fair Trading NSW say on agent advertising.   The disappointment of a potential buyer visiting the property not captioned as “virtually stged’ is even greater than if they had known the property was empty.  It’s like getting a beautiful bottle of champagne in a gift box and when you open the box (front door) you discover it is empty.  Already the agent is on the back foot in trying to convince the buyer that this could be their next perfect home.

“I’ve noticed virtual staging on a couple of homes I’ve looked at the last couple of weeks. Only realised when we turned up to the house and it was empty. Actual staging would be much better.” frustrated potential buyer 

Preparing a home for sale is a critical step in the marketing. A professional home stager invariably means a better presented home that appeals to a range of buyers. Experienced home stagers ensure the physical styling is sympathetic with the property’s location, style and architecture.  As Michelle Burton. founder of DESiGNiNG Divas says “The best house feels like a home.”

Home staging – mid-north coast NSW – www.designingdivas.com.au

Is virtually staging a home misleading? 

It can be. Extract from the boxbrownie.com website:

Disclose that the photos have been virtually staged

Honesty is always the policy when using virtual staging. The first and most important ethical consideration when marketing real estate with virtual staging is to disclose that the photos have been virtually staged. This information should be provided to potential buyers upfront so that they are aware that the photos may not accurately depict the property’s current condition. Virtual staging should be used to enhance the property’s appeal and show its potential, not to mislead buyers.  

This is an interesting read from Fair Trading NSW.

“Agents must ensure when using photographs in a real estate advertising campaign that the message is not misleading.This information has been developed to assist agents in publishing acceptable photographic advertisements of property that convey accurate information for the property buyer and leave the buyer with the ‘right impression’. Consumers usually rely on the internet and printed advertising for information, including the photographs agents use to advertise property sales. Photographs in advertisements can leave consumers uncertain about the actual state of the property, unless there is sufficient information for the customer to understand the content of the photograph.

For example, where an agent uses a photograph featuring a magnificent beach view, it may be unclear to consumers whether this view can be seen from the property for sale or if the beach is simply nearby. Without any labelling on the photographs, consumers may be misled about the image they see.

virtual staging – property mid-north coast NSW

… Agents must not:

modify or allow photographs of properties to be modified so that the images no longer truthfully and fairly represent that property

change the appearance of a property by digitally removing or adding features

property advertisements should use photographs that are accurately labelled to prevent consumer doubt.

Agents cannot avoid liability simply by claiming that the buyer or consumer should have made reasonable enquiries and checked the information provided. It is important to note that agents are responsible for any representations they make in dealing with their clients.


“Experts believe that staging a house may enhance the selling price by an average of 5% to 10%.” [Agents who engage Designing Divas to stage homes for sale in Port Macquarie and the mid-north coast wholeheartedly agree.]

Another blog well worth reading  is from Smart Property Investment. extract :

Staging can boost your sale price. 

Some experts estimate that staging a property before selling can add an extra 5 to 10 per cent to the total sale price. 

In terms of local data, Brisbane-based agency Cape Cod Residential and the Interior Design Association conducted a six-year study which revealed that the average price premium increase across the properties that were staged was $69,017, with a range of 3 per cent to 10 per cent. 

Further analysis showed that 30 per cent of homes in the study achieved a price premium of over $100,000. 

Another study conducted by LJ Hooker discovered that styling a property could boost the final sale price by between 7.5 per cent and 12.5 per cent. 

Overall, these figures are nothing to sneeze at, as these numbers could mean the difference between breaking even and turning a profit. 

 Styling your home can help it sell faster. 

 Any property investor knows that the time a property spends on the market can make or break an investment.

 Generally, if the number of days between the listing and the sale is few, it could be considered a high-demand market or the property was underpriced and was sold at a good value. 

On one hand, the more days properties for sale spend on the market, the more likely it is that the property is considered high risk, overpriced, or otherwise not as desirable to home buyers.

When looking at the overseas data, a survey of the US-based National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that staged homes spend an average of 73 per cent less time on the market.

In Australia, it’s generally estimated that properties stay on the market between 66 and 77 days on average before selling. However, staging a home can speed up a house sale.

[DESiGNiNG Divas keeps an up-to-date ‘days on market’ analysis – Divas 100. Our last 100 stages and the average time on market for all types of residential homes in the mid north coast NSW — from 5 bedroomed beach mansions, rural properties, apartments and villas .  Average time on market 39 days. On average, physically staged homes sell faster.]

The general manager of Brisbane and Sydney-based Furnish & Finish Property Styling David McLean stands by this claim, explaining: “What we found is that styled properties are selling four weeks faster than properties on average.”  


Finally, for this blog – DESiGNING Divas physically staged a property in North Haven, 2443. Previously the  property was virtually staged and was on the market for many months, without selling.  The physically staged property sold in 29 days  for $1.1m – a price the vendor and agent were delighted with. Post script: we recently physically staged a property in Thrumster (Port Macquarie) which had been on the market for some time (virtually staged)… on the first showing with real furniture and furnishings the vendor had a real offer which was accepted ,,, and settled within 2 weeks.  Coincidence? Or the power of professional staging?