Realtor Digest: Is Digital Staging Ethical?

Virtual staging is the process of adding digital enhancements to an otherwise empty room. These enhancements can be in the form of furniture, décor, and even electronics. In other words, digital staging is editing a photo of a room. To understand it better, take a look at so you can see how the process works.

It is beneficial and, in some cases, necessary in order for a homeowner to sell their property. For one, it makes a location look more desirable than it really is. Additionally, staging allows the potential buyer to envision that empty space into something they can live in. Just a little touch up here and there and your home is ready for display.

However, some would argue that it is unethical. They claim it’s deceptive in a way that isn’t really illegal. Think of it as marketing a product and falsely advertising it as something that it is not. But is it really unethical? Here we tackle and dive into the common misconceptions about digital staging.

The Benefits of Digital Staging

Before you answer that question, try to understand why people seek help for their homes. First and foremost, it really does increase the chances of the property being sold faster for a higher price. Statistics show that staged homes (virtual or other) sell faster and higher compared to those that are not.

When you stage your property you are putting it on display for the world to see. If you want to do it the traditional way you would have to create a display at the physical location of the property. But it’s now easier for sellers to show their products via the internet.

This is where digital staging comes in. If a seller wishes to display their home to buyers online, digitally staged properties will certainly fetch a better price. As for the buyer, it will help them make a decision from the comfort of their own home. They can imagine themselves living in the property to their heart’s content without actually being physically present.

So How Do You Stay Ethical?

Digital Staging
Digital Staging

As you may know by now, digital staging is merely a way for you to display your property. Remember that you are not out to deceive anyone or falsely advertise your home. That is why it’s your responsibility to make sure that the digitally altered photo still resembles the original property. It’s a good idea to seek help from professionals.

One way you can avoid any legal problems is by simply disclosing that what you’re showing them is a digitally staged home. There’s no harm in letting people know, chances are they won’t even mind because it’s the norm. Do keep in mind though that you should discuss any issues within or around the property you’re selling.

Lastly, do not overdo it. When people first find out about virtual staging, their first thought is how to make their property look better. While that’s beneficial, your main goal should be to let your buyer see the potential of the empty space. Let the viewer appreciate the display you have created for them. 

Stay Ahead of the Competition

In any business, you will find that competition between sellers is alive and well. Likewise, the world of reality is also filled with agents, brokers, and realtors. As a buyer, you want to get the most value out of your hard-earned money. And it doesn’t help that this market is full of gimmicks and trends. Digital staging allows you to stay ahead of the competition.

With a solid design and layout for your property, you won’t have any trouble going against other properties on the market. Check out known virtual staging websites as they have the experience as well as skilled graphic artists.

Your competition will surely have its own virtual stage set. With the help of social media, it’s now easier than ever to spread a photo. A digital version of your property can also be included in brochures, magazines, and web pages. Simply put, there are plenty of opportunities if you ever decide to get one done for your home.

Have an Actual and Current Picture Ready

A smart buyer will know that a staged property is different from the actual thing. What they will do is they will ask for current pictures of the location. You should be able to give it to a buyer should they ask for it.

This is another way to generate trust and avoid any problems in the long run. Make sure you have sufficient lighting for the actual photo. Moreover, an actual picture can help the graphic designer visualize the space and create a great piece for you.

Look for tips on YouTube on how to take the perfect photo of your room. There are techniques you can use to avoid any unflattering angles. In addition to angles, as stated earlier the lighting of the room is also a big factor. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Use Digital Staging

Digital Staging
Digital Staging

If you’re confident that you have got a decent place to sell then don’t hesitate to stage it. Just make sure that all the measurements and dimensions of the location are accurate. Transparency is key otherwise you risk credibility, not to mention you might run into legal problems. There is a happy medium where both buyers and sellers are on the same page.

Digital staging also helps keep the cost at a minimum. A digital representation of the room will eliminate the need for you to rent actual furniture for the property. And since you don’t need real furniture, you also won’t need moving vans/transport for it. The cost-saving list goes on.

Parting Words

To recap, disclosure is necessary if you want to remain ethical in terms of staging. As long as viewers know that what they’re looking at is a digitally altered photo, you should be fine. Lastly, answer all inquiries with the utmost accuracy and transparency, including actual photos if need be. So take your time, and 

Read More: Your House for Selling