The evolution of virtual staging: How AI has made life easy for agents

Just as life progresses, so do the technological advances that equal efficiency and convenience in the workplace.

One such industry is real estate marketing and advertising, which has witnessed a significant jump forward when it comes to visual production, particularly virtual staging of listings.

Read on to learn about the three-staged evolution of virtual staging and its merits for real estate agents.

Virtual staging and real estate

The idea was simple: Take photos of vacant or unfurnished rooms and stage them virtually.

For more than two decades now, virtual staging has been around as a low-cost marketing strategy in the real estate industry.

Compared to traditional home staging, which involves actual, physical activities, virtual staging takes much less time to prepare.

What used to take days, maybe sometimes weeks, and cost several hundreds to several thousands, can now be done in 24 hours for a few dollars per photo.

Big change for an era in which computers have always been commonplace!

Advances in technology, especially 3D rendering, have constantly improved the quality and realism of virtually-staged spaces.

Today what we now know – and sometimes take for granted – as virtual staging is a far cry from the original concept, as improvements beyond our expectations have been made in recent years.

Continue to read through the transformations of virtual staging itself and its vital benefits that real estate agents should seriously consider.

Three types of virtual staging

Virtual staging began to emerge as an element of real estate visual advertising following the birth of more advanced photo editing software.

However, in its rather short life so far, it has undergone immense changes that make its early versions a distant memory.

Manual virtual staging

Originally, virtual staging used to be done manually, and for that matter, by experts only.

The thing is that, to virtually stage a room, a 3D model of the given space is always required.

Professionals working with 3D tools such as 3Ds Max, Blender, or Adobe Photoshop need to spend hours creating those models.

Then, they would start staging the place, adding one piece of furniture at a time.

To do so, a graphic editor was also required to spend one to two hours to stage a single room.

Although manual virtual staging is the oldest type of virtual staging, it is still a common practice around the world.

There are dozens of virtual staging companies across the globe that take orders from real estate agents and deliver the results in a day or so.

Semi-manual virtual staging

Though manual virtual staging offers certain benefits, such as pixel-perfect accuracy, it leaves little room for the agents or homeowners to decide how the space should be staged.

In the best case scenario, these customers of manual virtual staging services could just sound their preferences and hope for the best.

However, when it comes to highlighting the selling points, homeowners know best!

As a real estate agent or homeowner who wants to list a property, you only need a tool that can render a 3D model of your space.

Currently, there are many such tools that can make 3D modelling a walk in the park.

Then, you’ll be able to choose what type of TV, sofa, bed, etc. can be placed in the space while having all the freedom to decide on the size and colour of the furniture as well.

Beware, though, your first few attempts might not be satisfactory, as getting to know how to work with 3D tools can be quite a challenge at first, and down this road, where many have walked, twice more have given up!

AI virtual staging

In a market sharpened by rivalry, every second counts.

That’s why spending 24 hours on rendering a few photos, which was a great gain once, is a waste of time today.

Now, with artificial intelligence in your hands, you can stage those spaces in a matter of seconds.

There are now a variety of AI tools and websites that receive photos of vacant spaces and furnish them in less than a minute.

It sounds quite magical, but that’s the reality of AI, isn’t it?

For AI virtual staging, all the user needs to do is to upload the photo, and then choose the room type and design style with a few mouse clicks.

In a few seconds, AI produces a staged copy of the same room with the chosen design style, sometimes down to the finest details, if the AI behind the app or platform has been fine-tuned.

Keep in mind, though, that not all AI virtual staging tools work the same way.

While some tools are very restricted in terms of the rooms they can stage and the design styles they can handle, others are not bound by such limitations.

Most of the criticism directed at AI virtual staging is the result of customers using the wrong tools.

It all boils down to asking the right questions!

Keep in mind that some companies, such as, offer both manual virtual staging and AI virtual staging at the same time.

Top merits of virtual staging for agents

Now that you are familiar with the three stages of the virtual staging evolution, let’s review the main merits of this technology that’s making life easy for real estate agents.


As mentioned earlier, virtual staging is a truly low-cost marketing tactic.

Recent statistics on home staging tell us that physical home staging costs something between $1500 to $4000, with an additional $150 to $1200 for every month that the house lingers on the market.

With virtual staging, this cost could come down to a measly 10-30 cents per photo, provided that you choose the right platform.

Even the most expensive virtual staging companies don’t charge more than $20 per photo, regardless of how long the property remains on the market!

Geographical independence

What if your property is located somewhere far from the city where there are no staging companies in the vicinity?

In the past, this meant that you had to pay dearly to the nearest staging company, which brought about painfully higher marketing costs.

But now, virtual staging allows you to list your property and showcase its full potential regardless of where on the entire planet it is located!

No insurance concerns

With traditional home staging, you have to worry about the furniture you rent all the time. If any item is stolen or damaged, you’ll be responsible for it.

The same is true for the house itself, and moving furniture in, out of, and around a house can cause wear and tear even before it is sold!

Virtual staging doesn’t involve such concerns as there is no actual furniture in the place!

All it takes is a few uploads and downloads from the comfort of your home, and you don’t even have to get up!

Increased buyer interest

Virtually staged properties can look more appealing than physically staged spaces on online listings since you can let your creative side run wild and offer many different styles and layouts.

Consequently, you attract more attention among the competition.

When house hunters see the full potential of such properties, they are more willing to visit the place and have a closer look.

One argument against virtual staging is that it misrepresents the space by manipulating certain aspects of the home such as lighting, scale, and texture, potentially creating unrealistic expectations for buyers and tenants, leading to their disappointment upon visiting the property in person.

While this can happen, it doesn’t have to.

Not all virtual staging tools and companies work the same way, and there are various platforms and apps that yield photo-realistic results.

As mentioned earlier, it’s all about finding the right tool.

Certainly, there are virtual staging tools that generate poor results, but they pale in comparison with the entire spectrum of virtual staging tools available.

It’s time to embrace tested and trusted AI virtual staging services, as the countless competitive advantages they bring along far outweigh any concern one might have about the slim off-chance of a tiny bump along the way.

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