The Evolution Of Virtual Staging

Elliot Sherbelis, COO, Apply Design Elliot Sherbelis, COO
Imagine the following situation - you are a real estate agent who gets an exciting listing with a fantastic commission. You come to the property and see that it’s empty, understanding that it will be difficult to convey its true potential to buyers.

Now, what would you do at this point? Would you call a professional stager? Call a photographer? Maybe you capture the images on your own and stage them yourself? Well, I guess it depends on which year you’re living in, doesn’t it?

Up until a few years ago, real estate agents used to go through the traditional home staging process, which first appeared in the U.S. back in the ‘70s. Using traditional staging, people had to work with a home designer throughout the process, who would have to come to see the property, decide which furniture would fit, contact the furniture rental company, make sure the furniture was being brought in on time, and pay for insurance for the rented furniture. By now, I'm tired of even writing the whole process, so we all understand how tiring, frustrating, and full of friction it was to go through all of it, right? With that being said, we haven't even talked about how expensive it was.

As you probably know, that process would cost thousands of dollars - all that money and time just to see the property’s potential? Well, that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

Fast forward to a few years ago, at the beginning of the 2000s, technology had advanced and taken a much more prominent place in our lives. Computers and cameras were no longer products reserved for the tech-savvy and had become easier and more approachable. One thing led to another, and after years of traditional staging, a new era began - the virtual staging era.

Using Photoshop and different editing software, one could virtually stage the property and show its potential in a faster, easier, and most importantly - much cheaper way. All these made virtual staging much more approachable to anyone who needed it, so it seemed like everything was optimal, but was that the case?

Although the future appeared to be bright, there were still a few issues to tackle. First of all, the real estate agent who wanted the property to be virtually staged still needed a professional’s help, accessing the necessary knowledge for the process, making it more expensive and full of friction. Secondly, the industry hadn’t yet moved to a fully digital process, meaning real estate marketing was done through agencies and not automatically on the internet. So we reached a point where there was a solution, but the market wasn’t ready yet; real estate marketplaces didn’t yet exist, and a potential buyer would have to physically be present to check out the different properties.
  • The market is not only ready for virtual staging, but it almost became a must for a listing.


What could be done? Luckily, it didn’t take long until the whole market changed, and while 90% of real estate deals begin on the digital marketplaces, the market is not only ready for virtual staging, but it almost became a must for a listing.

There was only one little thing missing - why couldn’t I do it on my own, and why did it have to cost me over $20 per image? Moreover, why do I need to wait for days until I get the results, or even longer when revisions are needed? This was when Apply Design came to life to provide the opportunity to easily, quickly, and most importantly, cheaply, virtually stage the property’s images with the new tech-based solution.

Now that everything seems so easy, there’s only one missing thing. I guess I’ll have to wait for the next chapter when virtual staging is fully automated, and anyone could do it without the previous knowledge of designing a room.