News & Insights
Marshall White Business Development Manager Neil Harris reveals how using Virtual Furniture technology can increase your property’s chance of being rented.
In today’s highly competitive residential rental market, vacant properties are primarily marketed via online viewing platforms. So it goes without saying that images of tastefully furnished and styled rooms will attract more interest than a series of photos of bare walls and empty spaces.
Virtual Furniture or Virtual Staging is an important marketing tool regularly used by the Marshall White Property Management team to help make vacant properties appear more appealing to prospective renters. Basically, it works by skilled photography technicians digitally adding ‘real’ images of furnishings and other decorating pieces to the base image of an empty room or space, to create a complete picture of how that room or space could look.
Virtual Furniture (VF) can make flaws not appear as noticeable. For example if a property has unappealing light fittings, heaters or carpets these will be very obvious in a photo of an empty room, but if the room appears styled with complementary furnishings including wall art, rugs, bedding and even indoor plants, the negatives don’t stand out as much.
It can really change prospective renter’s perspective of a property. By using this technology we are able to attract a better quality renter and achieve the advertised rental rate without having to negotiate. We have had many situations over the past 18 months where we were struggling to rent a property, then within one week of having the VF images supplied, the property has been rented.
It’s incredibly cost effective. The supplier we use charges just $30 per image to add the VF and on average we usually do 4-6 VF images per property – so it’s definitely economically viable, considering to style and stage a home for sale with ‘real furniture’ can cost around $5,000.
The technology has improved dramatically over the past 18 months when we first began using VF. We work with our supplier to tailor the VF to the style of the property such as traditional, Scandinavian, modernist, Hamptons or contemporary. We give the owners strong suggestions on what we think would work best with their property and send the supplier examples so they know exactly what look we are after.
So that it doesn’t look too ‘perfect’ or obviously fake we mix and match the styles a bit. We can add indoor plants, ornaments, artwork, outdoor furniture, coffee-machines etc.
During the Covid lockdowns, we made sure we included study areas with desks and computers to show how the property could be used as a home office. Sometimes we might reject an image saying it doesn’t look ‘quite right’ and we will work with the supplier to make sure the image is acceptable, even if it takes a couple more days, we would rather it be right.
It really is a great tool and offers the best of both worlds. Prospective renters form an emotional attachment to the property’s VF images online – and when they physically view the vacant home, they have already visually formulated how their own furniture will look or what type of furniture will suit.
Marshall White Property Management was one of Melbourne’s first real estate agents to embrace this technology. Because of our high expectations regarding the level of detail, we have seen the results evolve and improve to the point where the VF images are so good they are sometimes hard to pick. We are looking forward to continuing to see it achieve fabulous results for our residential rental property owners.
Should you require advice on any aspect of leasing your property, contact our Marshall White Property Management Team for assistance. For more information contact us on (03) 9822 8711.