A thin line exists in property marketing between virtual staging and misrepresentation that has become a serious topic of conversation among leading multiple listing service providers. This was discussed in detail during a presentation at the Clareity Workshop earlier this year. The concern among MLSs is ensuring compliance with MLS policy while providing Realtors® with the highest degree of flexibility in property marketing.
Staging a home for sale is a popular practice. A new form of staging is called Virtual Staging: real estate agents invite graphic artists to insert furniture, art, and other decorations to make a room look more attractive. The danger is the possibility of misrepresentation if the virtual staging is unrealistic due to lack of accurate scaling. For example, putting a 7-seater couch in a room that could never handle that size of furniture, or the removal of something like a wall plug that is required by building codes.
One of the leaders in Virtual Staging is BoxBrownie. After winning the 2018 National Association of REALTORS® iOi competition, BoxBrownie has moved to the front of this emerging category for property marketing. This technology company has been campaigning its best practices to educate MLSs on their efforts to maintain strict regulations on scale.
WAV Group believes that bridgeMLS’ partnership with BoxBrownie is the first of its kind in America, making bridgeMLS the first MLS in the nation to provide access to BoxBrownie as a member benefit along with discounts on the premium BoxBrownie virtual staging services. “With staged homes selling on average 73% faster than a non-staged home, the Virtual Staging tool was one of the highlights of BoxBrownie, that I felt would allow our Participants/Subscribers to present their property in a more efficient and professional manner while in compliance with MLS Rules,” said DaVina Lara, bridgeMLS CEO. “It is of great benefit to be able to increase buyer interest with a click of a mouse.”
“We’ve all been online visiting an MLS and had a chuckle at the current standards of imagery, so it is exciting for us at BoxBrownie.com to partner with bridgeMLS to provide a service that lifts the standards of photographic advertising for their members. Quality imagery is proven to sell a home faster and for a higher price, and here we have an MLS who has made a selfless decision on behalf of its members to assist them in providing a tool that makes their jobs easier.” – Peter Schravemade, Strategic Relationship Manager at BoxBrownie
Specializing in image enhancement, virtual staging, CGI renders, floor plans, and now virtual renovation, BoxBrownie.com are continually providing key marketing solutions for minimal cost to the agent.
This partnership means an exclusive on-boarding offer to all current bridgeMLS members who are not currently using BoxBrownie.com. An initiative developed to continue providing innovative technology in an ever-changing industry.
bridgeMLS is a leading MLS source in the Northern California/Bay Area region providing customer support and training including access to a multitude of MLS’ covering more than 80% of the Californian state. Continuing to be a one stop shop to support all training and support needs to the bridgeMLS.
“Moving forward in the MLS industry happens when you clearly understand the past and have a passion for the future” said DaVina Lara, bridgeMLS CEO, “Success is achieved by knowing where to place the next stone in the complexity of this industry – and we, at bridgeMLS are committed to the success of our Participants/Subscribers by bringing the best tools, and BoxBrownie.com most definitely fits the mold”
With sales being the highest in the Californian region since April 2015 (source: CAR Housing Market Update July 2019), it is more crucial than ever to stand out in a highly competitive field. Marketing a listing not only to catch the buyer’s attention but present the property as best as you can to get optimal results.
As an Australian owned and operated company with a heavy influence in the American property market for photo editing, BoxBrownie.com saw the opportunity to partner with a successful and developing MLS to providing a high level of support and coaching across the Californian state as a key decision.
We are excited to see this partnership continue to develop, aiming to assist more realtors by improving their marketing and ultimately increase their sales.
Not so sure I’m a fan of Virtual Staging, but I’ll reserve judgement and watch what transpires. I can’t help but think of the “magic clouds” that are taking over exterior photos in the MLSs. Apparently listing agents and/or their photographers don’t look very widely. I’ve seen identical cloud formations in MLS images in $million-plus properties in New England, and trailer parks in south-central Pennsylvania. Perhaps marketers and MLSs should familiarize themselves with the Ted Williams rule — to be the best, never swing at balls outside of the batters box. Someone needs to draw a line — aellers haven’t (yet) caught on to the fact that seeing the same cloud formations across the WWW doesn’t enhance their images.
You are so right. It is a very thin line. Although I do not think that using beautiful cloud formations is a concern for misrepresentation, your point is very valid. One of the top tactics for luxury property in California is to water down the driveway to make it glisten, and shoot the exterior at the “magic hour” before sunset with the house lights on. I have seen faux landscape lighting added to set the temperature of the image – which is totally not cool. HDR is another consideration – where photographers are layering multiple images together to manipulate things like the view outside of a window. All very interesting. bridgeMLS will give us some nice data on how this partnership has impacted compliance issues in the East Bay of San Francisco.