Virtual Reality versus Actual Reality in Real Estate

by Jennie Norris, IAHSP Chairwoman, Owner of Sensational Home Staging – We Stage Colorado

Virtual Reality can be traced back to 1935 as a science fiction and movie tool that was not used in the real estate industry to any major effect until about 3 years ago when Matterport hit the scene. The idea of being able to tour a house “virtually” was appealing for buyers who wanted to be able to experience a house before seeing in person. Was virtual reality for real estate really meant to eliminate the need to see a property in person? Is that where we want the industry to head? Eliminate all personal experience and use robots and machines to sell and buy properties?

That would be a huge mistake.

Technology is great to make our lives easier to manage and but has also made our lives more complicated and demanding. The reality is we do live in a tech world however real estate needs to be REAL. Not fake. Not virtual. Some may disagree, however for most people, owning a property represents the largest asset they will own in their lifetime. To leave this decision up to virtual reality is a big mistake. A 3-D tour helps a buyer visualize a layout and features but statistically a very small number of properties are sold without a personal visit.

Furniture looks fake. Placement is wrong. Why would you BLOCK the selling feature of the built in and storage? A Professional Stager knows NOT to do this.
Proper placement of a REAL grouping. House sold to the FIRST BUYER who saw it after it was professional Staged!

The use of virtual technology has spilled over into Home Staging and the results are not good. Virtual staging is a cheap alternative to real, professional Staging, and it actually backfires on agents and sellers who are focused only on price. Sure, the photos may look halfway decent with a virtual photo shop addition of furniture and décor. That would be great
if home staging was only about a photograph. But it is not.

Home Staging is about the ENTIRE experience for a buyer.

From the time they preview a house online to the moment they step in the front door the Staging is pulling them in emotionally. The aesthetics with color, placement, and style of furniture and décor used are all strategically utilized to attract the target buyer and maximize the sales price for the owner.

Placement is WRONG. Furniture style is WRONG. The scale is WRONG. The virtual staging did NOT work to sell this property. It was a visual DETRACTION and a mistake
PROPER placement and furniture that shows actual SCALE AND SIZE of the room used and house SOLD to first buyer who saw it in person post Staging.

When a buyer sees a property online they expect to see the same look when they walk in the house in person. When they walk into an empty house, they feel duped by the virtual rendering online they are greatly disappointment. The buyer is going to translate that disappointment into criticism of the property. It is natural for anyone seeing a property
to start looking around and their eyes will notice flaws when there is nothing else to draw their attention. What is shown online should be the SAME as when a buyer walks in the door. It is all about expectations. NAR® has gone so far as to share virtual staging borders on deceptive marketing and has issued cautions to agents not to alter the interior of a property with virtual photo shop as it poses a risk to the seller and the listing agent for false advertising.

A listing agent or seller who believes a buyer can translate what they see in a photo into an actual real-life experience inside the house is mistaken. Statistically, less than 10% of the population is visual and a buyer is not able to picture how their furniture will fit, let alone get excited about a house that is empty and echoes with sadness.

Even though the virtual table and chairs are OK looking, when buyers went in person, the house felt cold and austere, and did not sell.
A REAL furniture grouping adds warmth and appeal, helps the house not to echo, and shows a buyer what will ACTUALLY FIT in the rooms. The sellers went under contract within 10 days of the REAL STAGING being done.

At its core, virtual staging is a deceptive marketing tool that cheapens the entire selling and buying process. Ask any experienced, professional stager, and he or she will tell you they have staged many properties that were virtually staged, did not sell, sat on the market, and then were professionally staged, and went under contract in a short time.

Jennie Norris – IAHSP Chairwoman
The furniture is NOT to scale and has been shrunk to fit the photo. This is DECEPTIVE. Furthermore where the photo shop jockey put the chairs BLOCKS visual and the access to the room. The FOCAL point is the FIREPLACE and they have completely missed that aspect that a pro-stager would make sure was featured.
Professional Staging included furniture that was the right scale and style, as well as placement that appropriately highlighted the selling features of this room.

This COSTS the seller far more than if they had professionally staged their property from the start because in the time they sat waiting for a buyer, they have had to continue paying the carrying costs of that property and possibly experienced a price reduction. A price reduction will be 5-20x the investment in real staging.

Furthermore, according to NAR®, REALTOR®s have a fiduciary responsibility to get the MOST in the sale of the house. Are those just words on paper or is this something they are actually held to as a standard?

Agents in stronger markets will share, “I have not had to stage my listings.” The fact is they DID have to stage every listing – they just didn’t because they were probably in a market where things were selling quickly. When a seller can net thousands more in the sale, and they are not being told how to accomplish that with home staging and are even being dissuaded from staging by their agent who just wants to get a house on the market as soon as possible, it is not serving the seller. Staging is not a secret. REALTOR®s know about it and need to educate their sellers about why it is important. If the seller then decides not to stage, the agent is protected because they did advise them about the service.

This room had too much hard surface, tile, and custom colors buyers did not like.
Staging helped create proper groupings of furniture, provided buyers with an idea of how to use the space and downplayed all the hard tile.

A final point is agents who include staging as a key part of their listing and marketing strategy to sell a house earn more than those who do not. When a property sells for more, the agent makes more commission, and statistically houses that are Staged sell on average for 1-17% more than the un-staged competition. This adds up to thousands more an agent will earn over the course of a year with added income as well as spending less marketing dollars on a property.

When REALTOR®s are fighting for their own viability in an industry that is trying to push towards I-Buying and I-Selling, backed by big money conglomerates who don’t care if they are harming the real estate industry, making sure a full-service REALTOR® is using every tool available to net the most for their sellers would be a no-brainer. Agents can’t have it both ways. They want to get rid of the trend towards eliminating the in person buying and selling experience, but then use virtual staging. Sellers can’t have it both ways either where their properties are not professionally staged, yet they expect to sell at the best price. Support and use REAL Reality. Real in person service. Not robots. Real Staging. Not photoshop.

Then the REALITY will be a successful sales experience that benefits everyone involved and supports the real estate industry being a reality-based service.

Join Your Colleagues to Learn to Shop at Market!

If you want to learn to shop like the pros – go to www.ShopWholesaleMarket.com and register for one of our upcoming tours! We take you around to key vendors, and because of the collective POWER of our over 4,000 members, we command discounts and incentives unavailable to other groups or to individuals.


We have set up special arrangements with some of the most popular companies who provide:

  • Art
  • Home Accents
  • Furniture – Interior
  • Furniture – Exterior
  • Rugs
  • Pillows
  • Bedding
  • Lamps
  • Greenery
  • Business Services
  • and more!

Not an IAHSP Member yet? It’s easy to join! Simply go to www.iahsp.com and select JOIN. We have association members throughout the world and official Chapters throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Latin America and coming soon – China, Israel, South Africa and Australia!


Kelli Ellis and Joseph Haecker – Broadcasting LIVE from the 2018 IAHSP Conference & EXPO

We are so excited to have Joseph HaeckerDezignTalkLive.com and DezignWall.com and Kelli Ellis, Celebrity Designer on HGTV and TDN, – KelliEllis.com joining us in Charlotte for our 2018 IAHSP Conference & EXPO!!  Get read for Candid Conversations, Insightful Interviews with our Featured Speakers and Attendees!  They will also be part of a panel discussion that will be rolling out a fabulous NEW program for our IAHSP Members!  Go to www.iahspconexpo.com to get your tickets TODAY!!  You can take advantage of a 50% now 50% later payment plan!

Joe & Kelli Promo

Home Staging Talk Show LIVE – Join us this WED at 9:30 AM MST!

Join us for our next episode of the Home Staging Talk Show LIVE!  Brought to you by IAHSP – the International Association of Home Staging Professionals!  Want to sponsor this show?  Email jennie@iahsp.com to find out how you can be part of the viral exposure and growth!

Episode 2 promo

Advanced Stager Training Workshop

Join us for the event hosted by IAHSP in collaboration with HSRA and RAVE Staging & Design.

SPACE IS LIMITED!  Join industry colleagues for an intensive, collaborative workshop where open discussions will take place intended to help move your business forward!  Tickets are on sale now.   There are qualifications for attendance that you must meet.

Advanced Stager Training promo

On the Day of Christmas Eve . . .IAHSP Gave to me . . .Did you REALLY have to wonder?

On the Day of Christmas Eve . . . the Day Before Christmas Day . . . IAHSP Gave to YOU – THE SCOTT BROTHERS!!  Of course it bears repeating that we have secured THE HOTTEST TICKET IN TOWN as KEYNOTE SPEAKERS for the 2018 IAHSP Conference & EXPO in Charlotte, NC – Oct 18-20!

Scott Brothers Conf Promo

You won’t want to miss out on all the amazing Speakers we have lined up!  Everyone sharing is an INDUSTRY LEADER AND/OR EXPERT – sharing on Marketing, Business Development, Industry Trends, and Business Growth to help YOU along your JOURNEY TO THE TOP!

Super Early Bird pricing ENDS DEC 31st and PRICES WILL GO UP!!  Get your TICKET NOW and be one of the 120 Special VIPs that will get Preferred Seating, Priority Registration, First in Line for the Meet & Greet-Book Signing and other special perks that regular ticketed attendees will not receive!  Go to www.iahspconexpo.com to register now!

On the 8th Day Before Christmas, IAHSP Gave to me . . .

On the 8th Day Before Christmas, IAHSP gave to me . . . 23 AMAZING industry Speakers coming to share with YOU at the 2018 IAHSP Conference & EXPO – Oct 18-20, 2018 in Charlotte, NC!  Here is a look at a few more!

Holmes Speaker Promo

Sandra Holmes is Accredited Staging Professional Master® (ASPM®), IAHSP Board Member, Executive Vice President with Stagedhomes.com, and the President of Home Staging Concepts, the Premiere Home Staging Company in South Florida. Sandra and her team have staged over $1 Billion dollars in real estate since she created her business in 2005. She continues her education in real estate and in the staging industry to keep current with the trends of today’s market.

Sandra currently serves Director of Fundraising for Worldwide Staging Service Week® and is the Director of Affiliate & Vendor Relations for IAHSP. She was also the Founder of the South Florida International Association of Home Staging Professionals Chapter and has held various board positions. Sandra believes that continuing education is the key to success in the staging industry. Sandra’s philosophy is that together we can do more!

Htain Speaker Promo

Recognized amongst Staging and Design aficionados for his engaging personality and his limitless devotion to the Home Staging industry, Kevin Htain– Lifetime Master Accredited Staging Professional, has become an iconic figure in the Staging industry for creating emotionally magnetizing spaces that sell. Identity Home Staging specializes in Staging Homes for Real Estate, Interior Design, as well as Home Builder’s Consultations. Identity Home Staging is recognized as the first and only LIFETIME ASPM Staging Team in Southern CA, South of San Francisco! Since 2005, Identity Home has successfully Staged over 1 Billion square feet (over $575 million dollars worth) of real estate in Southern California and Nevada. Kevin and his Team’s Staging work is also regularly featured on HGTV’s #1 rated show, “Flip Or Flop.” Staging for Tarek and Christina El Moussa has been a wonderfully enriching experience for Kevin’s entire Team. Be sure to check out their work on HGTV on Thursday’s!

In 2014 Kevin was selected amongst his peers as “West Coast Home Stager of the Year.” In 2015 Kevin was awarded “The Barb Schwarz Staging Excellence ASPM Stager of the Year.” Both honors have been received with humility and humbleness.

Lenart-Weary Speaker Promo

Face it, we are living in an immediate gratification world and clients that can go shopping in their jammies. The result is either a house filled with things they don’t know how to use or a room desperately in need of suggestions. JoAnne Lenart-Weary is the Original One Day Decorator. She has been offering the service long before HGTV turned the concept into a decorating niche. One Day Decorating blends the art of arrangement (what many call redesign) using what they already have with color, retail shopping and window treatments to create a room that rocks in hours…not weeks. This highly lucrative service can build your bottom line. JoAnne doubled her income in 1 year with the simple addition of this service. Learn how to transform a room quickly, select a color palette, shop smart and most of all, make money.

JoAnne Lenart-Weary is a Professional Interior Decorator, Color Authority and Staging Expert. As a 40+ year industry veteran, she has had the pleasure of creating beautiful rooms in 29 states and 3 countries. This experience has led to appearances on HGTV, WJET-TV ABC, Good Morning Atlanta and other regional TV stations.

On the 9th Day Before Christmas IAHSP Gave to Me . . .

On the 9th Day Before Christmas, IAHSP gave to me . . . 23 AMAZING industry Speakers coming to share with YOU at the 2018 IAHSP Conference & EXPO – Oct 18-20, 2018 in Charlotte, NC!  Here is a look at a few more!

Gehr Speaker Promo

Margaret Gehr, one of the nation’s foremost leaders in the real estate staging industry, is the founder and co-owner of Chicagoland Home Staging in Illinois. Margaret, a multiple national award winning professional, has designed and merchandised thousands of  resale properties in Chicago’s western suburbs since 2005. Her, and her partner Kathy Lobkovich and their team have been featured in national media ranging from the Wall
Street Journal to ABC News to the Chicago Tribune. She co-authored Amazon’s Best Selling book, “Home Staging: The Power that Sells Real Estate” and is a Technical Staging Editor for Aspired Home Online Magazine.
Margaret, is also a HSR Home Staging Mentor, RESA PRO, IAHSP member, and studied at
Harrington Institute of Interior Design. She was among the first members of the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA), and currently the Illinois State President.  Chicagoland Home Staging, has been involved in the sale of nearly one billion dollars worth of staged properties, and has established strong bonds and lasting relationships within the real estate community. They are actively involved with area boards of realtors and other real estate groups.

Hamaty Speaker Promo

Founded in 2006, Setting the Space has become a leading resource for staging and design in New England. CEO, Blair Hamaty, leads a team of over 25 who provide innovative and leading-edge services to realtors, developers as well as design clients.

Setting the Space prides itself on its ability to bring fresh, unique and bold designs to their clientele. With a 20,000 square foot warehouse in Plymouth, MA and six retail design centers, the Setting the Space empire is growing at an impressive rate. On average, Setting the Space has over 100 properties staged within the Boston / New England area. Additionally, the design team completes multiple projects monthly including new construction, remodels, room make-overs, model homes, apartment complex and corporate office design from New York to Florida and beyond.

Hansen Speaker Promo

Scott Hansen is a high performance coach, sought after speaker, and renowned pod-cast host. He’s helped numerous business owners increase their number of  clients, become more productive; while ultimately helping them substantially increase their overall revenues. Scotts work has been featured on: ABC, NBC, FOX,  INC,  and Six Figure Coach magazine labeled Scott as one of the top business coaches in the country . In addition, Scott is a contributing writer at Entrepreneur.com, an international Best Selling Author and creator of Success Hackers; one of the most listened to business podcasts on Itunes, downloaded in multiple countries.
Scott’s not your typical speaker.  Hi speaking style is dynamic and electric, engaging audiences to participate during his presentations.  You’ll come away empowered, informed and ready to crush it!  

On the 11th Day Before Christmas IAHSP Gave to me…

On the 11th Day Before Christmas IAHSP Gave to me – amazing SPEAKERS that have committed to share at our 2018 IAHSP Conference & EXPO! We have 23 talented industry experts coming to share with YOU!  Here is a look at a few of them!

Berns Speaker Promo

Fred Berns is among the biggest names in the business of interior design.  He’s an award-winning coach, promotional copywriter and professional speaker who trains and creates promotional materials for design professionals and real estate stagers worldwide, helping them promote themselves more effectively and dramatically increase sales and profits.

His training and coaching sessions for interior designers, stagers, window fashion professionals, kitchen and bath specialists, and other design professionals from Dallas to Dubai focus on how they can double their sales, connect with better clients, and make a maximum marketing impact for a minimal investment of time and money.

Boggs Speaker Promo

Debbie Boggs left her career as an investment broker to pursue a more creative path.  With her business background, she and Julie Young build BY Design Home Staging, which caters to luxury clientele.  Debbie has earned numerous awards for her interior design and staging work, including Top Ten Vacant Stagers, Top Ten Staging Teams, and Top Five Staging Companies.

Staging Studio, co-founded by Debbie, provides accredited staging certifications and training.  Through Staging Studio, Debbie trains stagers and Realtors, helping them build profitable businesses.

 

Camp Speaker Promo

Mary Jo Camp is currently Partner in DesignCamp, RLLP, a Kitchen and Bath Design Experience in Denver, NC, consulting with residential and industry clients.  Her kitchens are featured in the Bosch Kitchen Design Guide App and she is the author of Kitchens with Confidence, a training program designed for Lowe’s.

MaryJo is an award-winning designer who has built a career on providing expertise for clients to live and work well.  For over 30 years, she has practiced her skill in a variety of positions including Principal of Great Kitchens in Menlo Park, CA, Vice President of Marketing and Lead Designer for Standards of Excellence’s (now Monark) State of the Industry appliance showrooms and Adjunct Professor at Canada College.

The SCOTT BROTHERS – Jonathan & Drew – KEYNOTE Speakers for 2018 IAHSP Conference & Expo!

IAHSP has secured the hottest ticket in our industry to be our KEYNOTE SPEAKERS for the 2018 IAHSP Conference & EXPO – Oct 18-20, 2018 in Charlotte NC!   That’s right . . . Jonathan and Drew Scott are coming to speak to YOU on October 19th, 2018!

Register NOW to secure your VIP spot – only available to the first 120 registrants!  ALL attendees will receive one of their best-selling books for the Book Signing – Meet & Greet!  Go to www.iahspconexpo.com to purchase your ticket!    Super Early Bird pricing ends Soon!

We have amazing speakers lined up sharing topics that will help YOU continue your Journey to the Top of the Home Staging Industry!  All attendees will also earn their IAHSP-LHS – Luxury Home Staging Designation!