There are common laments from the owners, managers and brokers of commercial office space, multiunit apartments or resort properties.
“Vacant properties can be a challenge to sell. It’s difficult for a prospect to envision how his or her team will create productive, efficient and inviting spaces.” If the rooms in your online listing are calling out for new paint, wallpaper or other features, chances are future tenants will ignore your listing. Let’s face it, you can’t sell or rent a unit unless prospects see it, but they won’t come see it unless they first see beautiful photographs that showcase the property’s true potential.
Fortunately, photography advances now include a variety of virtual staging tools that attract tenants’ attention by enabling them to envision the space and shorten time on market.
Virtual staging is gaining popularity as a cost-effective solution to broaden a property’s appeal online, where the majority of tenants begin their search. Tools such as virtual staging, virtual paint, and virtual redecorating present how a vacant complex could look. They address a number of headaches for commercial owners.
1. No furniture? No problem: With virtual staging, the spaces are photographed from many different angles to capture the variety of room sizes and lighting conditions. The images are then enhanced digitally by a specialist who inserts virtual desks, conference tables, cafe seating, cabinetry, multimedia consoles, lighting, artwork and partitions.
2. Market more cost-efficiently: The costs of traditionally staging an office, including furniture, wall and floor coverings can be staggering. Property managers and commercial developers can pay from $3,000 to $12,000 a month to rent furnishings for a single unit. Virtual staging slashes that expense by at least 90 percent. It is also a convenience for those who don’t have the time or money to invest in updates.
3. Sell and lease more quickly: Without furnishings, a property can sit on the market for months. On the flip side, a furnished office might be a turnoff if the lobby or waiting room is in need of new furniture or a remodel.
The only thing better than showing how spaces look today is showing how they could look tomorrow. Your next tenant isn’t buying the existing furniture and décor.
The buyer wants to see the decorating possibilities to make it their office space, and virtual staging helps them build that vision.
For example, the latest photography imaging tools can virtually repaint the appearance of any flat surface. Bright-colored walls can be transformed into neutral colors.
With many virtual redecorating options, commercial brokers can provide listing photos that appeal to a variety of tenants — from the start up seeking an industrial vibe to the conservative dental office seeking neutral décor.
A room is photographed in its existing condition, and then its furniture, paint, carpeting and décor are virtually stripped down to bare walls and flooring. Owners can virtually redecorate their properties in styles that fit potential buyers’ profiles.
Another virtual tool can declutter a space, sweeping away fears of building managers about a tenant’s cluttered surfaces. Listing photographs are virtually decluttered of tenants’ distracting personal effects such as family photos and refrigerator artwork.
4. Be upfront: When marketing virtually staged units, avoid embarrassing surprises by mentioning in marketing materials that the space is virtually staged. All professional photography should include a virtually staged watermark. Before the visit, inform visiting prospects that the property is virtually staged, to avoid disappointment. Print out photographs of the virtually staged rooms to improve that first impression.
In today’s competitive market, virtual staging is an affordable and convenient marketing tool for presenting the true potential of a property, while shortening the time on the market.
Sarah Anderson is vice president marketing at VHT Studios, based in Rosemont. Contact her at email@example.com.