False Advertising and Virtual Home Staging

June 30, 2013

Virtual StagingImagine this – You are super excited because you found your next home online! The search is over; you have found the right home!  Stainless steel appliances, granite counter top, beautiful hardwood floor, and the crown molding that you have been wishing for!  A great house for its asking price! So you booked a viewing, walked in with your agent and both of you get the shock of your life…

The furniture is all gone, and there are no gleaming hardwood floor but stained carpeting. There is no granite, but there is dated laminate countertop instead, leaking faucets, big cracks on the walls, and the list just goes on and on; it was a disaster, one after the other – this is a personal experience several years back when I was looking for my first house, and it wasn’t fun at all.  If it happened to me, it could happen to you too.

With all the technology available to us, it is easy to entice buyers by showcasing the perfect home through virtual staging. While the actual physical staging we know involves the use of furniture and decorative elements to hype up the home’s appeal; virtual staging, on the other hand, requires NO physical furnishings, just software and imagination. There’s no limit to the types of digital makeovers that can be made such as beautiful finishes like hardwood flooring, granite countertops, high end appliances and beautiful furnishings.

Virtual staging, can arouse interest for your home and can make buyers show up in your front door but the total disconnect in the buyers perception will definitely leave a bad taste that will send your buyers away.

Although the National Association of Realtors has not issued specific guidance on virtual staging, Bruce Aydt, past chairman of the group’s professional-standards committee and senior vice president and general counsel of the Prudential Alliance brokerage, says it’s all about “truthfulness.”

If not, he said, it’s likely they violate Article 12 of the Realtors’ code of ethics, which requires agents and brokers to “present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations.”

So before your next visit to that stunning home you found online, it won’t hurt to ask the listing agent if it is digitally altered.

For home sellers, getting the buyer’s attention is a good thing, but closing the sale is another story.  If your home has been virtually staged, your best route is to disclose such information to your buyers to stay true to your listing because nobody likes being lied to.

Red Barrinuevo | Your Toronto Home Stager

If you need assistance in merchandising your home for sale, call us today at (416) 871 3128.  We are serving Toronto, Etobicoke, Mississauga and the rest of the GTA.

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