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So far Dan Mattia has created 6 blog entries.

What is 3D Virtual Staging?

Many home listings give buyers the option to take a virtual walkthrough of a property from the comforts of their own home. Buyers can linger in a virtual room to discuss what they like or dislike and familiarize themselves with a home before meeting with an agent or realtor.

3D virtual staging takes a virtual walkthrough to the next level. It builds upon the benefits of virtual staging to allow homebuyers to better picture living in a home. Clutter is digitally removed and furniture and decor are replaced. The end result is a more complete and styled virtual walkthrough.

But what exactly is 3D virtual staging and how does it help sell a home?

How Does 3D Virtual Staging Work?

3D virtual staging requires a photographer to use a 360 camera to capture 2D panoramic photos of a property. These photos are then fed into specialized software to create a 3D model of a home.

Once the software has processed the photos, a photographer can edit and manipulate them to create a 3D virtual walkthrough. Then the walkthrough is either uploaded online for buyers to interact with or edited further to apply virtual staging techniques.

Virtual staging in 3D works much the same as it does in 2D: a professional declutters the space and replaces or places furniture and decor that matches the intended style of the home.

Where 3D virtual staging differs from its 2D counterpart is in intensity. Since buyers can look in any direction of a virtual home, a photographer needs to ensure the entire room is virtually staged.

For example, most rooms of a home will require multiple scans to properly translate the room into a virtual space. In such cases, a photographer will need to stage each individual scan, as opposed to only the area visible in a regular photograph.

How Does 3D Virtual Staging Benefit Home Sellers?

A staged home sells 73 percent faster than one that is not staged. When a home isn’t left empty or is filled with a mix-match of furniture, buyers can better visualize living there.

Virtual staging makes it possible to stage a home with less of an impact on your wallet and the environment than traditional staging. During the virtual staging process, photos are tidied up and enhanced to make your home welcoming, inviting, and warm.

3D virtual staging builds upon those senses. It creates not only a virtual walkthrough of your home, but a virtual tour that is inviting and immersive. During their virtual tour, buyers are better able to appreciate how different styles of furniture and decor compliment your home and how they can make your home feel like their own.

Buyers are also less shocked after taking a virtual walkthrough of a home that has been staged in 3D, only to discover it is empty in reality. Instead, they will still be able to envision the home as furnished and lived in.

Is 3D Virtual Staging Worth the Effort?

Virtual staging is already more economical than traditional home staging, but how does 3D virtual staging compare?

3D virtual staging costs about $300 per panoramic shot or small room. It’s more expensive than 2D virtual staging, but far more immersive.

As for physical effort? Well, there isn’t much, so put away the dolly and back brace — your furniture can stay where it is for now.

With 3D virtual staging, your real estate photographer will work with you and your agent to decide on a staging style that fits the property and market. After that, a 3D scan of your home will be created and your household items will be digitally removed and replaced with virtual counterparts.

The end result is a beautiful VR-ready 3D virtual walkthrough and floor plan that will help buyers see themselves living in your home.

By |2019-05-10T19:10:35-07:00May 10th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How Much Time Do I Leave Between Shoots?

Photographers may make magic with their cameras, but they’re still subject to the same 24-hour day as everyone else. Professional photographers must work efficiently to maximize their income.

Setting a schedule dictates what photographers do and when they do it, but doesn’t answer the question of how much time to leave between shoots. The amount of shoots a photographer can complete in a given day correlates to the amount of income he or she will earn.

Though the exact amount of time to leave between shoots varies from photographer to photographer, there is an easy process of determining that number.

Understand How Long a Shoot Takes

Before determining how much time you should leave between shoots, first determine how long an average shoot takes. For events like weddings, you can reasonably expect to invest most of an entire day to the single shoot.

What about real estate photography? If you’ve been shooting real estate for any length of time, you likely already know the average length of time you spend in properties of different sizes. If you offer portrait or headshot photography, you can dictate the length of sessions.

With the average length of time a given type of shoot takes, you can extrapolate how many of each you can feasibly fit into a single day. If you can shoot an average-sized home in an hour, you might be comfortable booking five or six homes per day, for example.

Be Efficient With Your Scheduling

After determining how many shoots you can fit into a given day, you still need to leave time for the other aspects of your business — and your life. After all, professional photography consists of more than just taking photos. You still need to run your business.

How are your shoots scheduled? Many photographers choose to allow clients to book shoots online. Others may prefer face-to-face meetings. Sometimes, you may have to schedule a consultation prior to the actual shoot.

Though this is all client interaction, it still takes time.

On top of that, you still need to run your business by handling:

  • Admin work
  • Bookkeeping
  • Marketing
  • Editing
  • And other necessities of running a photography business

And what about your normal day-to-day needs? When traveling from shoot to shoot, you need to set some time aside for food, bathroom breaks, and even a short rest.

Develop and implement a routine and scheduling system that works for you. Block out time for certain tasks. Perhaps you’ll use Thursdays to get all your boring admin and office work done, or set time aside in the morning to return phone calls or market yourself.

Once you get into the habit of following a schedule, stick with it. Try to schedule blocks of 90-minute chunks and group similar tasks together. When armed with a schedule, you’ll maximize your efficiency and make every second of your workday count.

Plan For Unforeseen Circumstances

A major time thief for real estate photographers is arriving at a property only to find it hasn’t been cleaned or staged. For the sake of your photos, you may offer help with a quick staging or decluttering prior to taking photos. After all, if you photograph a piece of property that’s not visually appealing to buyers, an agent or seller may (unfairly) blame you for a lack of offers.

Unfortunately, your assistance in tidying up a location before shooting isn’t without its cost. You’re trading your time for the sake of taking a more visually-pleasing photo. That investment of your time eats into the rest of your day.

Reduce the impact of unforeseen circumstances by allowing yourself enough time between one appointment and the next. If your second appointment is 30 minutes away from the first, give yourself 45 minutes to an hour in between, just in case.

Best-case scenario, you arrive a few minutes early and can have a coffee or make sure the client is prepared. In a worst-case scenario, you’re still on time. Win-win.

Check-In With Clients Before Departing

Travel time can take up much of a photographer’s schedule, but it’s a huge component of the job. Your time can be wasted in a heartbeat, however, with a last-minute cancellation.

A last-minute cancellation can leave you in an unfamiliar area with nothing productive to do to pass the time. It throws a huge wrench into your well-planned schedule.

Minimize the impact of client cancellations by calling in advance to confirm your appointment. Cancellations are never fun, but finding out about them before you’re on the road gives you opportunities to maintain your productivity.

Perhaps you can swing by a local landmark to take some photos of its unique architecture to beef up your portfolio. Maybe you can canvass the area to do some face-to-face marketing. Or maybe a later client will be interested in bumping up their appointment.

How Much Time to Leave Between Shoots

The time you spend between shoots depends on your preferred workload and photography speciality. Scheduling your workdays — and sticking to your schedule — protects the time it takes for you to finish one shoot and move on to another.

Determining the amount of time to leave between shoots does more than protect your time, too: it helps you maintain your professionalism. Ensuring you have enough time to finish one appointment and arrive at the next on-time is what’s expected of you as a professional photographer.

But perhaps the biggest benefit lies in making the most of your workday. Once you learn how much time to leave between shoots, you can book your schedule as much as it makes sense to. And for a photographer, more shoots means more money.

By |2019-04-26T19:39:27-07:00April 26th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Why You Should Hire a US-Based Virtual Staging Agency

Virtual staging is a digital process. Because it’s digital, it can be performed by just about any professional, independent of location. You can choose to hire a local Washington-based virtual staging expert or an agency across the country — or globe.

But should you hire a US agency to virtually stage your home, or are you okay with hiring a foreign professional?

There is nothing inherently wrong with outsourcing work to an expert thousands of miles away from your native country. However, there are significant downsides to doing so — and benefits to hiring a US-based virtual staging professional.

Let’s discuss why you should hire a US agency to virtually stage your home.

There Are Few Language and Cultural Barriers

Communication is key when hiring an agency or independent professional to virtually stage your home. Though a non-US-based stager may be capable of phenomenal work, they still need to be able to understand exactly what you’re asking for.

If a significant language barrier exists, what you articulate and expect may not be what you end up receiving. This is especially apparent if you use any local slang or regional idioms that are unfamiliar to the stager.

Before hiring a virtual stager, communicate your desires and expectations. Even local stagers may not be totally familiar with phrases you never think twice about using in your day-to-day life. If a language barrier exists, work to make sure your stager fully understands what you want and that nothing is lost in translation.

You Have Better Legal Protection

Many US-based virtual stagers guarantee their services in one way or another. If you’re unhappy with their work or it falls short of the mark, you may be entitled to a refund or another type of compensation.

You also have the right to file a claim in court if you’re left high and dry or a US-based stager fails to fulfill the terms of your contract.

This legal protection isn’t always possible — or feasible — if your stager lives and works in another country. The costs of trying to collect compensation from someone outside of the US may not be worth it for how little compensation you’d receive.

They Understand Local Trends

America is a vast country and home to a number of architectural styles and interior designs. A local virtual stager not only understands this, but knows which style of virtual staging fits which type of home.

After all, styles of homes and the type of furniture that compliments them differ depending on the country. Homes in the UK, India, or Estonia are different than those in the US. Likewise, the styles of furniture and decor that fit in one country’s homes likely don’t fit perfectly in an American home.

A stager based in the US is (or should be) familiar with local styles and market trends. This means they’ll stage your home in ways that make the most sense — and according to your preferences.

Should You Hire a Local Virtual Staging Agency?

Who you choose as your virtual stager is entirely up to your preferences and needs. Still, it’s important to weigh the benefits of a local stager to those of a foreign-based professional. Compare portfolios, prices, and testimonials during your search.

Remember, though, that a local virtual staging agency is often strongly familiar with your region. They may have extensive experience staging homes similar to yours and are well-acquainted with the local market and its demands.

Once you’ve found an agency you like, contact them to inquire about their services and determine if they’re a good fit for you.

By |2019-04-19T17:51:18-07:00April 19th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How Virtual Staging Helps the Planet

How Virtual Staging Helps the Planet

Home staging has significant benefits to selling a home faster and for more money. According to the National Association of Realtors, 83 percent of buyers’ agents claim staging a home makes it easier for a buyer to envision it as their future home.

But traditional staging — physically staging a home with furniture and decor — isn’t always economical. The national average for the cost of traditional home staging is between $2,300 and $3,200. In addition, traditional home staging isn’t the most environmentally friendly staging solution.

Why Is Traditional Staging So Expensive?

Despite the average cost of traditional home staging, prices vary depending on your location and the size of your home. The cost of traditional staging includes:

  • A consultation fee
  • Number of rooms to stage
  • A monthly rental fee for the staged furniture and decor

The staging fee pays for movers and to stage the furniture in your home. But where does the furniture come from?

It’s important that the staging furniture matches the style of your home and market. Unless your existing furniture already does so, a stager will draw items from a stored collection. Once your home’s been cleaned and decluttered and the staged items moved in, the stager will arrange a layout that works.

Virtual Staging is an Eco-Friendly Home Staging Solution

The younger generations are increasingly eco-friendly and cognizant of the impact of waste upon the environment. When compared to traditional home staging, virtual staging is:

  • More affordable
  • Consumes less physical resources (gas for transportation, the necessity of physical furniture)
  • Less wasteful (furniture doesn’t sit unused in storage)
  • Less time spent in the property and overseeing the process

Virtual staging provides all the benefits of traditional staging with none of the requisite waste. Unused furniture isn’t pulled out from storage and transported across towns in gas-guzzling trucks, only to be stored away again after a home is sold.

Instead, a vacant home is virtually edited to look lived in and welcoming. Or, if it’s still lived in, a virtual stager cuts out undesired furniture and decor to replace it with a virtual counterpart.

All of this translates to a lower cost, too. Compared to the high upfront and rental costs of traditional staging, virtual staging can cost as little as a one-time fee of $100 per photo.

Other Environmentally Friendly Benefits of Virtual Staging

Using traditional staging to stage a home you’re still living in can put a kink in the normal conveniences of your life. Perhaps the most inconvenient change is packing up and storing away all your existing furniture and belongings.

While you’re living in a staged home, it may very well not feel as if it’s yours any longer. A stranger’s furniture will adorn the staged rooms, transforming your home into a showcase — while your furniture languishes in storage, unused.

You will also consume fuel to transport your furniture to storage. On top of that, storage units take up land that could otherwise be used for more productive and environmentally conscious purposes.

With virtual staging, there’s little physical impact on your home and the environment itself. Short of tidying up your space and some minor repairs or painting (though those can be fixed virtually, too), fewer resources are consumed with virtual staging than traditional home staging.

Not only will you be saving money, but you’ll also limit the impact of staging on the environment. It’s a small victory, but a victory nonetheless.

Choose Virtual Home Staging Over Traditional Staging

In most cases, virtual home staging works just as well — if not better — than traditional home staging. The impact of virtual staging on your life is significantly less than that of traditional staging. Virtual staging is also more environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

Depending on your market, you may not have to stage at all. In hot markets, homes may fly off the figurative shelf. For others, weigh the pros and cons of virtual and traditional staging to decide which is right for you and your views on the world we share together.

No matter the route you choose, hire a photographer to work in conjunction with your agent and stager to sell your home faster and for more money.

By |2019-04-05T15:47:16-07:00April 5th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How to Photograph Real Estate With Pets and Children Around

A home is often still lived in by a family prior to its listing on the market, even if it has already been staged. Of those families, 37 percent include children under the age of 18 still living under the roof.

Real estate photographers must take professional, quality photos of homes even when families — some with pets, children, or both — are still occupying them.

But pets and children don’t always care — or understand — that a home must be kept neat and clean during the selling process. They (rightfully!) want to play, but that means photographers must learn how to shoot a home even when pets and children are around.

Thankfully, real estate photographers can make use of a few tips and tricks to make things a little easier for everyone.

Give Your Client a Prep Cheat Sheet

When you schedule an appointment to shoot a client’s home, provide them with a pre-shoot prep cheat sheet. The cheat sheet should list:

  • General tips for how to clean the home
  • Advice to use the same type of lighting across fixtures
  • Instructions to remove personal belongings, like toiletries and photos
  • The need to clear away clutter, including toys and sports equipment
  • Booster chairs, dog beds, and other non-necessary children/pet furniture is out of sight
  • Children’s bedrooms are cleared of personalization, including decals and photos
  • Pets are crated, brought outside, or kept somewhere off-site
  • And other recommendations and suggestions you feel are warranted

A pre-shoot cheat sheet will give your clients an easy-to-follow guideline to prepare for your arrival. Not only will it mean the home is ready for you to start shooting, but it will also provide suggestions for how to minimize the impact of pets and kids during your appointment.

Call Ahead

The best-laid plans sometimes fall apart. A child or pet might be ill, prompting a homeowner to schedule a doctor visit — and throwing a wrench into your appointment to photograph the home.

Thankfully, all but the most last-minute cancellations and reschedules can be avoided by calling ahead to confirm you’re still expected and that all is well with your client.

Confirming an appointment is a great way to protect your time and remind some of the more forgetful clients that you’ll soon be on your way. If something unexpected has come up beforehand, you’ll know ahead of time and can adjust your schedule.

Walk Through the Property

Upon arrival, ask the homeowner or agent to take you for a brief tour through the property. Not only is this a great time to visually scope out aspects of the home to feature in your photos, but a walkthrough will give you an idea as to the cleanliness and presentation of the property.

After all, kids and pets aren’t known for picking up after themselves. Request that any toys and other items are put away prior to the shoot. If children or pets are present, respectfully suggest letting them play in a room you won’t be shooting in, or that you’ll shoot in first or last, so that they’re kept entertained and out of the way for the rest of the shoot.

Show Up Prepared

Selling a home is hectic and stressful. No matter how hard your client tries, it’s totally possible for them to overlook or forget something.

You can help them out — and clean up a shot — by coming prepared with lint rollers and bins.

If a pet has recently laid on a piece of furniture and left some hair behind, pass a lint roller over it prior to taking your photos. And if you come upon a veritable treasure trove of action figures, collect them into a bin to clear them from your shot.

Be Patient and Professional

Children and pets don’t often understand what’s going on when their home is up for sale. “Strangers” (agents, possible homebuyers, and photographers like you) may be visiting with increased frequency. Furniture may have been moved or temporarily replaced. And many of their belongings may have been sold or boxed up already.

It can be stressful, to say the least.

While their presence during a shoot might be stressful for you, you’re the professional in the situation. Speak with kindness and be patient if the home isn’t 100 percent ready for you to start snapping photos immediately upon arrival.

Try to understand that, despite your client’s best efforts, a pet or kid may very well run across the scene while you’re shooting. Laugh it off while your client gets them situated again, then continue taking photos. No harm, no foul!

After the Shoot

With proper preparation and a professional demeanor, shooting a piece of real estate in which pets and kids are present doesn’t have to be unduly stressful. Clients and agents alike will appreciate your patience.

By acting professional and respectful, you may even earn repeated business through referrals or the chance to recommend your other services.

By |2019-03-29T19:23:39-07:00March 29th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How To Decide Which Style To Use In Virtual Staging

How To Decide Which Style To Use In Virtual Staging

Staging a home is an effective means of increasing its listing price and visibility to would-be homebuyers. According to a report by the National Association of Realtors:

  • 40 percent of buyers’ agents cited that home staging had an effect on most buyers’ view of the home, and
  • 83 percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home

In general, a staged home is likely to sell 73 percent faster than one that isn’t staged.

Staging a home has become faster and more affordable with the popularity of virtual staging. Virtual staging trades the purchase, moving, and storage of furniture for digital counterparts, leading to more choice in how to style a staged home.

But what exactly is a virtual staging style, and how do you choose which style to use with virtual staging?

Types of Virtual Staging Styles

Some homes lend themselves to certain styles and themes of furniture and decor. For instance, if you’re browsing for a rustic-style home, you wouldn’t expect its interior design to look more suited to a New York City penthouse.

The same is true for virtual staging. Real estate photographers and virtual staging experts will use virtual staging in a way to enhance the look and feel of a home that’s for sale.

In most cases, that means virtual staging will make use of a style that matches and fits the home and market.

Virtual staging styles sometimes vary depending on the photographer you’re working with. Some photographers may present styles based on a color theme, while others may mimic styles more akin to those found in interior design.

Contemporary

A contemporary virtual staging style is similar to the modern style, but not quite the same. Contemporary styles match the trend of the moment and may vary from project to project. When you think of a contemporary style of staging, think “fad.” Contemporary styles change depending on what’s “in” at the moment — what trendy homebuyers are looking for in a home they’re considering purchasing.

Traditional

A traditional style of virtual staging is likely a familiar sight to most homebuyers. Traditional-style staging involves a calm, orderly, and predictable layout with unsurprising choices of furniture — even furniture that may feel out-of-date or old-fashioned. Colors are consistent and nothing truly “pops,” but that’s the point of a traditional style.

Modern

In contrast to contemporary styles, a modern virtual staging style makes heavy use of simple, clean lines. It very often borders a minimalist approach, avoiding unnecessary clutter for simple designs and layouts instead. Modern styles use plenty of natural materials and monochromatic colors and work well in homes with exposed structural elements.

Mid-Century Modern

A mid-century modern virtual staging style is similar in many ways to the modern style. The style uses the least amount of materials as is necessary to create well-lit and open spaces. It’s a style that employs the “less is more” philosophy, but doesn’t forsake a bright, well-organized layout.

Transitional

The transitional virtual staging style is a mixture of modern and traditional designs. It includes simple and sophisticated lines, but less traditional types of furniture. Colors aren’t too bright, and wood finishes are prominent. Transitional virtual staging is less formal than traditional, and less cold and rigid than the modern style.

Scandinavian

You’re likely familiar with elements of the Scandinavian style thanks to companies like IKEA. When it comes to virtual staging, however, the Scandinavian style is a little more involved. It makes use of a minimalist design with white walls and floors. The color scheme of furniture is often soft, and there’s plenty of wood visible throughout the design.

Farmhouse

The farmhouse virtual staging style includes plenty of elements you’d expect from a rustic theme. Pastels and vintage colors can be found throughout a farmhouse style. Plenty of furniture, fixtures, and decor make use of reclaimed wood, and artwork often depicts animals and wildlife.

Nautical

A nautical virtual staging style works well for waterfront properties. Nautical themes involve elements of living by the water — anchors, ships, and sea-like art. Furniture colors may include grays, whites, and blues to invoke the feeling of living by the water.

Industrial

The industrial style uses elements one would find in a factory or manufacturing setting, such as concrete and exposed beams. Colors include grays and blacks, and any “popping” colors are used sparingly — if at all. Furniture is often made of metals and glass for a sharper aesthetic.

Bohemian

The Bohemian virtual staging style is one that’s casual and relaxed. Furniture that may otherwise seem out of place is incorporated into the style, and elements of the traditional style are all but ignored. There’s a heavy focus on furniture with patterns, and bright colors are often interspersed throughout the design alongside more earthy counterparts.

Shabby Chic

The shabby chic virtual staging style fuses elements from the 18th-century Swedish neoclassical decor and American rustic style. Furniture is often painted and distressed, with light, pale colors. Vintage furniture and decor can be found throughout, and floral patterns and looks are not out of place in such a style. In essence, shabby chic is a feminine take on the traditional rustic style.

Which Virtual Staging Style Should You Choose?

The perfect virtual staging style for your home depends largely on what type of home it is and the market in which you live. Since virtual staging doesn’t require the purchase, storage, and transport of tons (or any) furniture, your photographer has free reign to work with a style that makes the most sense for your home.

Consult with both your agent and photographer to determine which style you should use when virtually staging your home. Together, they’ll have the knowledge and expertise to guide you toward making the best choice.

By |2019-04-05T15:43:52-07:00March 22nd, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments