The Best Virtual Staging Software & Tips (DIY & Pro)
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#369 – Mail-Right Show: The Best Virtual Staging Software & Tips (DIY & Pro)
The Best Virtual Staging Software & Tips (DIY & Pro)
If you haven’t shopped for virtual staging software lately, you might be in for a bit of a shock. Many apps that used to offer Realtors an easy-to-use DIY virtual staging platform now just sell done-for-you professional virtual staging—usually with a higher price tag. While that’s great for teams and brokerages with big budgets, many agents still want to get their hands dirty and DIY their virtual staging.
DIY virtual staging:
You take photos or videos and then use your phone or tablet to edit them yourself. You can drop in 3D furniture or use filters to remove items, boost color and contrast, or even change the time of day. DIY virtual staging puts the power in your hands to stage the properties, but it means you need to learn the software yourself.
You take photos or videos and then upload them to the company’s platform. You tell them what you want to be done with it, and they return it to you, usually within 24 to 48 hours. The advantage of such a service is that you don’t have to do anything; just send it in and forget about it.
#1 – Apply Design From $7 to $10 DIY Service Static Images and 3D 360 Tours
#2 – Spotless Agency $79, $99 &199 per image options Static Images Only
#3 – roOomy – $49 per image or virtual tours from $400 to $1,700 Static Images and 3D 360 Tours
#4 – BoxBrownie – $32 Static Images and 3D 360 Tours
#5 – Square Foot Productions – $29 Static Images Only
#6 – Hasten – (Call for Pricing) High-end service for the luxury properties Static Images and 3D 360 Tours
#7 – Cedar Architect Subscription-based service. For $59 a month DIY Static Images Only.
Full Show Notes
[00:00:10.970] – Robert Newman
Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen. Today we are doing episode number 369 of the Mail Right podcast. And today, we’re talking about virtual staging tools. I’m going to talk more about where these tools are positioned. And John, who’s had a chance to create list and research the list, is going to talk more, maybe about the specifics. Still, I’m going to try my best to add value to the conversation by explaining the few real-life situations where I know people are using these services and how they’re leveraging them and what I was overall thinking. So, John, without any further ado, why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself to people who may not know who you are and then take us away into this subject that you selected for the podcast today?
[00:01:02.790] -Jonathan Denwood
Thanks, Rob. I’m Jonathan Denwood. I’m the joint founder of Mailhyphenwright.com. We build beautiful semi or full-custom websites and WordPress for real estate agents. And we’ve also got a CRM and a plateau of digital marketing apps and tools to help you get more leads in 2023.
[00:01:26.300] – Robert Newman
[00:01:26.570] -Jonathan Denwood
Over to you, Rob.
[00:01:28.250] – Robert Newman
Well, no, we’re serving it up to you, so actually, never mind. You know what? I’ll tee it up for you. Number one on a list today is Spotless Agency. Now, here’s the description of Spotless agency. It’s a new virtual staging service where you can do one staged photo at $29. Okay? But what they’re doing is they’re basically doing virtual or AI design work, sending the photo back to you, and you’re taking a picture of a space, and then they’re going ahead and staging that photo for you. They’re Photoshopping it so it looks, however, like the design instructions that you might want them to do. So, John, now take it away.
[00:02:11.450] -Jonathan Denwood
Yeah, sorry about that, Rob. Yeah, it seems like a pretty good service. It starts at 79. They’ve got a kind of token-based system. You buy tokens and one token for one static image. They only do static images, and depending on how quickly you want the image back, the more it will cost you. I think it will take about three to four days; it’s 79 per image, 2040. 8 hours, it’s 99. And if you want the next day, it’s 199. Seem pretty good. I think the elephant I like about the opportunity is there seem to be three levels of services that these providers provide. Basically, they are static images. Staging. In static images, you got the image it’s a bear room, and you want, as you know, to show bare rooms on your website or send them to a prospective buyer isn’t the greatest idea because it’s better to stage them. But to stage a room or property physically is expensive and time-consuming. Doing static images is much cheaper. And there are three levels. The static images, there are 3D images that are more realistic, but the person that’s viewing them has to have glasses and Goggles to view the 3D image. And then there are 360 Tours, which it’s like a virtual tour of a property; you need special camera technology to take the actual images.
[00:04:15.640] -Jonathan Denwood
But I think now there are apps for your iPhone and your Android that can assist you in doing that. So I think that’s moved on to a certain level. But for those that make the 360 Tour offering, I think you have to get individual advice from them about which technology, what cameras, and what setups they require if they are going to process those virtual tools for you.
[00:04:46.170] – Robert Newman
Sure. So when you start talking about high-volume providers for images or clever digital presentations on the site, my pros and cons remain almost the same. Generally speaking, doing virtual stage photos if you’re doing condos model homes, if there’s a certain design style or a standard that’s prevalent throughout a large volume or a large amount of the same spaces, I think that these kinds of services can be extremely useful in creating case studies for how many different ways the same shape space can look in the same building, which makes an investment like this a no brainer for creating a unique and special website experience. When you start talking about somebody that’s in the luxury space, like a very nice size home, anything middle to the upper end of the market, you’re never going to consider any of these services. They’re just not going to deliver the customized value that your clients are expecting. The designers on the other end of the spectrum are usually not going to deliver the kind of unique finishing touches that people on the middle to upper levels of luxury expect. Like, I’m looking at these designs, and they’re all good enough, I suppose, but nothing really eye-popping.
[00:06:18.240] – Robert Newman
Even though some of these designs seem to be presented in $5 million plus New York apartments, I don’t know anybody who will design their homes this way. So that’s what I’m talking about. Specifically, I’ve had opinions from Top Realtors that have kind of echoed what I’m saying to you. But if you’re in certain markets, these services can be neat, is how I’m going to go with it. There are people that will figure out how to leverage this. In the meantime, specialized customer requests. It is good that everybody on the show, John, knows that these services exist. If you’re listening to the show and didn’t know that you could do virtual staging photos, guess what? You can. And for some clients who may have a very extra high level of service requirements expected of you, this is a line item that you can put in your listing contract that’s going to really add sizzle to a listing contract presentation but be something that you rarely have to execute on. And so saying that you’re familiar with the entire 3D photo arena so that you can give somebody a whole bunch of designs, ideas, maybe sit them down with the design consultant.
[00:07:39.830] – Robert Newman
And right now, John, I’m speaking to literally 1% of our audience, but that 1% you know exactly what I’m talking about. You’re sitting in front of somebody, you’re talking to them about selling a $10 million unit, which means that your commission on it is going to be 300,000 plus dollars. They have $300,000 worth of like listing expectations of you. They’re going to tell you there’s no way in the world that you’re worth as much money unless you’re going to spend hard dollars to advertise our property. And at which point you can pull out little pieces of sizzle like this and say, we’re completely adept at talking to the right buyer about how they’re going to design, develop and appreciate this home. And in those very rare cases, that’s when services like this become actual, have value, list value. And then for those of you who are ultra luxury, as you also well know, this is the kind of thing that you assign to your personal assistant, your real estate assistant, your transaction coordinator. You don’t do this yourself. You go on your review spotless agency and you send them there because you listen to the podcast and you send your assistant there and they go do the research for you.
[00:08:52.890] – Robert Newman
And now you can add it on to your line item for your contract.
[00:08:56.580] -Jonathan Denwood
Yeah, the only thing that was going through your mind and I just wanted to see what you thought about it because what it looks like, what the market is going to be like in 2023 and to some extent in 2024, I think there’s going to be more empty properties out there. And because of COVID and people to some extent they’re going back to the office or being made to go to back to the office, but I don’t think the market is ever going to go back to what it was precluded. I think the acceptance of people moving away from where they are based to another state and I think people’s acceptance to look at property before they get a short list of properties that they’re going to look at physically. I think the markets changed a bit and people viewing property and going further along the sales process online has moved on to some extent where these possible services have more relevance than maybe they did before pre covert. But I’m really interested in your view of what I’ve just outlined. I might totally off track there.
[00:10:24.100] – Robert Newman
I think that eventually everybody in real estate is going to be dealing with an almost completely digital toolkit, the same way every other industry has been changed. So yes, at a very high level and yes, I think this is part of the digital revolution. I think this is along a lot more people’s radars. Major metro market people like Houston, Dallas, California, most of Florida, most of any place where you’re driving 30 or 40 minutes to show home. Ladies and gentlemen, any tool that makes that unnecessary, such as the old idea of staging a home physically, everybody knows how much effort goes into that. You got to call the person, have a vendor on hand, get the homeowner to let you in the house. Do that staging. unstage it at some point. It’s a very extensive process, whereas these virtual tools allow you to stage and unstage a home in a matter of days with no coordination with the homeowner. So do I think that there’s a place for this? Oh, hell yeah. Just depends on where you are and what kind of business that you’re building for yourself. I strongly recommend that people be building a digital business, but I’ve been saying that forever.
[00:11:33.800] – Robert Newman
And only now after COVID, are people starting to listen. They’re seeing the days and the time in which all people want to essentially it’s going to be a ten step process, and the last step is going to be to walk through the home. You’re going to have schedule the person, come out to appraise the home. You’re going to walk the home, see the home, but everything else would have been done by that time. You’re not going to go back to the same home and show the same home 3456 separate times, which really happens, John. People like Realtors get forced to drive out to the same property many different times so that a buyer can keep walking that home over and over again. At a minimum, digital tools like this prevent you needing to do that. No longer does it like, hey, what happens if I put a couch in the corner there? Remember that one room? I don’t remember it. Can we go back in and get just like, let me look at that room or measure that room? No, here we’ll do it virtually.
[00:12:31.230] -Jonathan Denwood
Yeah, obviously state in the office, but also if you’re in one of the coastal cities or areas that’s on the radar for international buyers, I would imagine these tools become much more relevant to you.
[00:12:53.110] – Robert Newman
Yes, I do have clients that are already doing complete virtual. Okay. One of the things that’s made that popular second home market is a big market for doing completely virtual transactions. So they’re leading the way in these tools because people can’t travel as easily to a second home destination like Cabo San Lucas, Big Bear, Lake, Arrowhead, the list goes on. They want to do that. They’re going to do all of that or as much of that as possible virtually. So yeah, I think there’s a huge market for this, but let’s move on. Let’s go to the next one. The next one on the list is Hasten is what it’s called. It’s a 3D interior visualization tool. So talk to me about this a little bit, John.
[00:13:37.720] -Jonathan Denwood
Which one was it?
[00:13:38.650] – Robert Newman
Sorry, it sends you to Hasten.
[00:13:42.170] -Jonathan Denwood
Yeah, Hasten. Well, the research I did, it looked like they were aiming for the higher market side of it, the luxury market. The reason why I say that is some of the reviews that I read, they all said that’s what they were pitching at the luxury side. And to get a price, you got to call them. So that always suggests that they’re going to be in the higher end. They do all 3D, all three main services, static image, three D, and three hundred and sixty tools for you. But you got to get a price by bringing them up.
[00:14:19.800] – Robert Newman
Basically cool guys, boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, even though it’s run by some crazy freaking Swiss folk, three D and Matterport, which ultimately is CubiCasa and a number of other ancillary products, they still own the 3D space, ultimately. Do I think 3D can be useful? I just saw a $4 million property that was done in Venice, John, and I was looking at it legitimately. Like, I’m looking at it as the consumer because I was idly considering like a really high end work slash living space and splitting the space with somebody and like like upgrading my my work living game. Right. So I’m looking at it for reals, and I found that I was incredibly frustrated with the 3D walkthrough, which I think was a matter for a 3D walkthrough. I just wanted somebody to take the darn phone and just do a video walk through. It’s so frustrating for me. So I don’t think that I speak for everybody, by the way. I’m sure that I don’t. And I’m sure there’s process things that are problematic for real estate agents. Like maybe it’s easier to do these 3D things. I don’t know. But John, am I really all that impressed with this 3D?
[00:15:36.410] – Robert Newman
No, I’m afraid of that. I’m not.
[00:15:39.470] -Jonathan Denwood
I think it maybe just utilizes a marking initial, have it on the website to get them to call, and then if they can’t come, they’re too far away. You would arrange to do a walk through with them, or you probably have to walk through already as part. Well, if it’s that type of property, you think you would do a video walk through, but if you’re technically not up to it, I think maybe getting one of these services or getting somebody to do it for you and then uploading it to one of these companies, it’s better than nothing, isn’t it? I think it varies.
[00:16:21.610] – Robert Newman
It does vary. It’s better than nothing. I don’t disagree with those things. Everybody that’s listening to show you a gimbal and your cell phone ten times better in my opinion. Ten times better in terms of how you market it. Ten times better about where you post it. But if you’re really stuck virtual staging, 3D, virtual, it can be okay. I’m not a big fan. That’s just the truth, John. Sorry.
[00:16:52.550] -Jonathan Denwood
No. Shall we go for a break?
[00:16:55.830] – Robert Newman
Sure, let’s do that. So, ladies and gentlemen, my name has been Robert Newman. I’m the founder of Inbound REM. You can find out lots of information about me on Inboundrem.com. We are pretty much the leader, maybe the only inbound marketing company out there doing real estate, SEO and stuff like that at a very high level. But I appreciate you turning into the show. So does John. If you could do us a favor, wherever you’ve seen us, heard us, leave us a comment, do us a thumbs up. It all matters. We do this show out of mostly goodwill. Little bit of like, hey, we’re really good at what we do. Pay attention to us. But a lot out of, how can we be of service to you? So thank you for tuning in. We’ll be right back.
[00:17:41.730] – Speaker 3
Do you want quality leads from homeowners and buyers right in your own neighborhood? Then you need mail, right? It is a powerful but easy to use online marketing system that uses Facebook to generate real estate leads at a fraction of the cost you’d pay from our competition. We stand behind our work with a no question asked, 30 day money back guarantee. So don’t delay. Get started today. Go to mailwrite.com.
[00:18:06.570] – Robert Newman
Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, to episode number 368. Is it eight or nine, John?
[00:18:12.770] -Jonathan Denwood
It’s 69. Three, six, nine. You’ve already got another thought yet before your sentence is finished, Robert?
[00:18:20.860] – Robert Newman
Okay, 369. It’s a really lucky number. Three, six and nine. So if you’re into numerology, today’s show is lucky. And we’re going to talk about we’ve been talking about virtual staging. We’re moving on to another company that John has selected for us called Square Foot Productions. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about this, John?
[00:18:39.990] -Jonathan Denwood
Yes, good price, static image only. Don’t offer a DIY. Some of these companies, not many of them also offer a DIY app or service, but they don’t. But of those that you got to get them to do it, it’s not a bad price, but it’s only static images, and it’s $29 for image. I don’t know what the time, how much time they require, because I looked at the website and I couldn’t find it that particular. I’m sure it’s probably there, but the price seems pretty good.
[00:19:22.770] – Robert Newman
Okay, assuming that this so I have a surprise here, John. Assuming that they can do what they say that they do at a high level of quality, I’m a huge fan of Square Foot Productions, okay? The simple video editing of taking a cluttered room and uncluttering it without you having to clean it up from your client means that you can walk through your assistant can walk through a home, take all the same series of pictures inside your home selling process, hand it over to Square Foot Productions for visual editing. They will declutter, basically create a perfect environment so you don’t have to have the client professionally clean their house, professionally stage the house. They do aerial, spotlight, photos. They do all sorts of really cool things. Now, I want to emphasize that neither John nor I have actually used this company, picked it out of a hat. So the reviews are good. What we can see looks good. The service is what we’re talking about, the idea of the service. And we’re not promoting these guys. We don’t know them. We’re just saying that the service they provide, if it’s provided as advertised, it’s pretty damn cool for very reasonable price.
[00:20:39.530] – Robert Newman
Like turning a daytime to nighttime photo. Your photographer takes a kind of weird shot of it with a house that has a lot of shadows in it. These guys edit the shadows out and make a nice sunset photo for you. It’s really your house. They used your core image. It’s a beautiful service. Doesn’t break any copyright laws, just alters the edit existing thing. Makes the photos far more appealing. It’s such a low cost that it’s easy for most agents to work it into like a cost versus sales structure. I like it. That’s my overall input.
[00:21:13.510] -Jonathan Denwood
Okay. Box Brownie yeah, like what they got to offer. They do static images, three D, three hundred and sixty. They do the whole spectrum. And it starts at the static images at $32. The free D tours, I think that started at around $600, and depending on what kind of tour you got or need, it goes up from there. But they had some nice training tutorials on their YouTube channel. I did watch a couple of them and they seem to know the initial impression I got. They seem to know in the price for the static image isn’t outrageous.
[00:22:02.790] – Robert Newman
So once again, this is just a clever photo editing like tool, things like that. And it can be cool. These guys that are doing a very specific thing where they’re essentially doing a very pricey thing for a reasonable cost. 360 renders are cool. Interior renders are cool. Exterior renders are kind of cool. The interior renders are going to be the thing that you really want to pay attention to. They can help move the needle. Do I really think that this is worth the $280 or $400 an image? Not usually, but then again, they’re very cleverly doing these renders for commercial spaces. Commercial spaces which commercial real estate, while John and I don’t talk about it very much, is definitely something where these services retain extra value because professional business people have higher degrees of expectation about how they can perceive a space can be altered. And you’re only signing a lease. Like oftentimes a building which is leasing a space might not have to lease it except once every ten years, which means that there’s a very high level of cost associated with it. But there’s also a high level of reward, which means that customizing the space using these virtual tools, in my opinion, for commercial at the prices that we’re talking about with Box Brownie makes a lot more sense than residential.
[00:23:35.510] – Robert Newman
You’d have to have pretty gosh darn nice property that you’re representing to make it worth it. John.
[00:23:47.370] -Jonathan Denwood
Yeah, I agree. On to the next one.
[00:23:51.390] – Robert Newman
Roomie.com. Hit me with it.
[00:23:53.710] -Jonathan Denwood
Love the name. $49 does the full spectrum static images. Three D, three sixty for the free. The virtual tours. It’s from 400 to 1700. Okay, so to give with Brownie, they only have a starter price, which is around 600. They start for 400, but they give you from 400 to 1700. Because I’m not a photographer expert, I can only give you my initial impression of the website, the verbiage, the offering. I just went with Box Brownie a bit little more. But you just got to do a dive, talk to them and find one of these players that has the Pacific offering at the Pacific price that’s attractive to you.
[00:24:55.790] – Robert Newman
True. So Rumi does a little bit of a better job in simplifying the idea than Box Brownie. But I agree with John. The actual demos on Box Brownie appear to be much more robust. Rumi seems to be focused on a more sparse presentation style on their website. That’s all that John and I at least that’s all I am basing my opinions on.
[00:25:23.500] -Jonathan Denwood
Just the sign.
[00:25:25.770] – Robert Newman
So there’s some interesting visualizations with roomy that are a little bit more complete than the ones I saw with Box Brownie. Gives you an understanding of how these 3D room like visualization and staging products would really work. We had a friend of mine on a long time ago Robert, that does this kind of work. John this kind of 3D. So I believe in it as the future of the business, as I said then. But I do think that in terms of what power you served right now, currently, we’re served very well with video. There’s one feature that Rumi has that I am now going to retract, which is called a measurement feature, which allows you to measure between elements in a room, which you don’t even get to do when you’re physical, when we catch up with functionality like this. Ladies and gentlemen, when digital can do this, measure a space, give us inches and square feet, and then allow you to replace furniture inside this virtual space that you’re building. That’s the day that people are going to prefer to do digital walk throughs than personal walk throughs. And we’re approaching that day. John are we there yet with any of these tools that we’re looking at?
[00:26:41.230] – Robert Newman
No. Are we getting there? Yes.
[00:26:43.940] -Jonathan Denwood
We’ve sky in there and AI. We’re all going to be replaced. Robert.
[00:26:48.620] – Robert Newman
Oh, God. John, stop. All right, we’re going to go on to the next one. Aptly design IO. I have enough of those kinds of AI conspiracy here inside my circle of friends. I don’t need you to start up on it.
[00:27:09.370] -Jonathan Denwood
Was it applied Design that we’re talking about?
[00:27:12.240] – Robert Newman
[00:27:12.960] -Jonathan Denwood
Yeah. Well, they’re one of the few that’s got a DIY product, and I watched some of their videos and I was quite impressed. It’s a token system. You buy a token one tokens for a static image. They provide all three services static free D 360. I don’t know if their DIY product can do all three or it’s just static images. I didn’t do a deep enough dive on that particular subject, but I did look at some of their own videos and other people’s review and the interface, the library of objects. It was quite impressive. If you’re just looking, there’s a real need. You’ve got a really nice property or a reasonable property, and it’s bare and you just want to do a couple of the rooms and you want to do it yourself or get your assistant to have a guy that’s it and not cost a lot of money. Have a look at what they’re offering. I was recently impressed. Robert?
[00:28:23.370] – Robert Newman
Sounds good. All right, ladies and gentlemen, we are on to our last wait. That was our last well, I’ve got.
[00:28:30.850] -Jonathan Denwood
One more that I added after I sent the list to you, and that’s a company called Cedar Architect. And they only do static images. They do have a DIY product, but the interesting thing is it’s a subscription model. It’s the only one. All the others, you pay by the image or whatever you want. This Cedar Architect, they do a subscription and it’s $59 a month. And I’ve got the impression you can do as many static images as you like.
[00:29:08.750] – Robert Newman
Seems more like a design CAD software, right?
[00:29:17.730] -Jonathan Denwood
Well, they seem to do the static images as well. Yeah.
[00:29:22.850] – Robert Newman
[00:29:25.590] -Jonathan Denwood
I was just interested in the subscription model.
[00:29:28.790] – Robert Newman
I think this kind of software is going to be for people that have some type of preexisting design experience coming out of school, in which case this is going to be really exciting. If anything else, I’m on the site. It is overwhelmingly complex, so just keep that in mind, everybody. It’s very similar to it’s like an AutoCAD for those of you who are familiar with it. Okay. It’s chief architect interior design. Like, we’ve occasionally looked at coral, coral, kad, CAD. I’ve looked at some of these things as I’ve tried to design wireframes for websites. So 3D modeling on websites and basically wireframes is just as relevant as it is for normal blueprints. Like, it’s the same thing. People don’t understand how well, like, traditional design concepts play into web concepts. Really the same thing. So you use some of the same programs like you can theoretically, I’ve tried oftentimes. It doesn’t work. Usually you need people dumbing down the technology. Because I am not an architect. I didn’t go to school for years or spend any time using all the tools that architects use. Having said that, this is a very unique tool. I would agree with John’s assessment.
[00:30:50.260] – Robert Newman
It’s unique in this space. And if some of you are looking for both a different payment model and a different level of tool, maybe one with a slightly higher end like conceptual application, I would agree with you.
[00:31:06.150] -Jonathan Denwood
[00:31:09.030] – Robert Newman
Well, John, ladies and gentlemen, we are right there. At the time limit. And today I have a missing animal, unfortunately, in my house and I have to rejoin the search ASAP. I took all the time to make sure I was still present, but I’m like, I’ve been checking my phone, looking for messages. Got six people in the neighborhood right now, all looking around. Thank you so much for tuning in. I’m going to ask John in a second here how you may find him, if you’d like to. John is a wealth, a whole deep well of knowledge on various ideas about how to market your real estate business. Plus his agency builds really cool real estate websites that you can check out and should check out. So, John, without any further ado, how would people check you out if they indeed wanted to?
[00:31:55.740] -Jonathan Denwood
Yeah, thanks for that, Rob. We’re looking for some regional and city champions, real estate agents that want to be a male right champion. And if that’s enough interest, what do you get? You’ll get your website for a year for free and all the digital tools for a year for free, and we host your website. And after a year, if you’re not happy with us, we will move your website to another hosting provider. But hopefully that gives you the confidence to try out the system and then become a Mail right champion in your area. If that sounds interesting, go over to the Mail Hyphen right website and book a chat with either me and Adam and we love you to consider being a male right champion.
[00:32:48.780] – Robert Newman
[00:32:49.110] -Jonathan Denwood
Over to you, Robert.
[00:32:50.690] – Robert Newman
Beautiful. That’s a hell of an offer. And if anybody wants to learn more about me, you can go to inboundrem.com and I would love to have conversations with people inbound marketing about SEO, things like that. And if you don’t know what those things are, just look up the acronyms and the acronyms interest you. I’m the only guy that does these things in the US at the level that I do them. So if you haven’t heard of them, I’m not surprised. Thank you so much for tuning into the show. I think that’s John appreciates this. I sure as hell know that I do. I appreciate every second, every minute that you guys spend with me and John. We do not take it for granted and we do hope that you’ll come back. Bye.