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Virtual design technology for marketing real estate listings



Before virtual staging and after virtual staging. Click to enlarge.

Using virtual staging in real estate

Although a common practice in commercial real estate, virtual staging to show the potential of a property or piece of land is less common in residential real estate as some question the ethics of presenting a property in any other way than its current state. It’s tricky, but if marketed properly and clearly marked as a rendering, virtual staging for interiors and exteriors can be extremely helpful. Principal Designer Gary Robertson told us, “We’ve developed a new technology that actually improves the positives, while eliminating the cons: Virtual Property Design (VPD), a specialized virtual technology that creates amazingly realistic photos of a property showing different design and architectural concepts in place.”

Not just for vacant listings

Their software is used for more than virtually staging a vacant home and is used to depict remodels or help clients envision what a lot would look like with a home or what a home would look like with a different facade, claiming the technology allows clients to “take a serious look – or second look – at a property.”

Buyers on a budget

Given the rise in short sales and foreclosures, this is a unique tool for agents specializing in working with buyers seeking discounts- now instead of just verbally describing the potential of a listing that is less than appealing in its current state, agents can actually show some options that could motivate a buyer to get off of the fence. Some personalities have better imaginations than others, and the first impression of an ugly home could be repaired with some simple tools like virtual staging technology.

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

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  1. JBond

    August 29, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Wow, this is fascinating. I think this could be a valuable tool to those who are more visionary in their outlook and wanting to get their hands dirty.

  2. Jason fox

    August 29, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    This is just the thing that I was looking for on one of my projects. We are running a 203k class and we find propertues that have awesome potential, and would like to be able to give a visual of how it could look. I will checking this out, Thank You!

  3. Jonathan C

    August 29, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    I see how this would be useful, however, based on the images in the example, I'd say that this is "virtual remodeling" not "virtual staging"! Either way, I like it but I think it has to be very clearly labeled as a fictitious rendering and images of the actual property provided side by side.

  4. Randy Teves

    August 31, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Quite interesting! The real estate industry is really getting more technology-driven. Hope that home buyers will really see the "potential" of this innovation in their home-buying plunge.

  5. Stephen

    September 4, 2011 at 10:59 am

    As Virtual Staging professionals, we would never condone using our pioneered technology to falsely portray a room or home as something that it isn't. We do however provide a very realistic and valuable service to those wishing to accent an empty or vacant space with furniture and accessories.

  6. Cliff Stevenson

    September 6, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    A colleague of mine in our office uses this type of service, and has a bound book of before and after shots for their listing presentation. When they are interviewing for listings that are going to be vacant, my understanding is that this service has helped them obtain numerous listings.

  7. KBell

    September 7, 2011 at 9:20 am

    I agree that this is not quite virtual staging as this is more of a CAD rendering of what the exterior of a home could look like. Virtual staging is simply a new technology that takes vacant photos of a home and ONLY places furnishings and decor into the photos to help buyers better understand the layout of a home and envision themselves living in the home. Its sole purpose was developed in order to help drive buyer traffic to a vacant home and get it sold! If you want to learn more about what true virtual staging is and how it works to sell vacant homes nationwide then you can visit for more info!

  8. Roger

    September 8, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    When I first saw the picture on this post I thought it was a joke. Are you kidding me? That's not even the same house! This is not virtual staging. You should really research what you write about before you publish it. I've used virtual staging a little over 7 times, and the company I've used ( doesn't modify the structure of the home. They will add furniture to an empty room which comes out amazing.

    If you are trying to sell a home and have someone change the picture so its a completely different home I dont see what the point of that is. Choose a reputable company that only does furniture and you'll see some amazing results like I have.

  9. Gary Robertson

    September 13, 2011 at 10:58 am

    A bit of a correction on this article. What we offer would not be considered Virtual Staging. That process – as stated in earlier comments – is adding images of furniture to existing photos to "stage" empty rooms. Our service, VPD (Virtual Property Design), creates a true to scale 3d model of the room or property and is a way to enable people to visualize what can be done to improve a property – a useful tool for both buyers and sellers (and contractors). It takes a process and technology that before was only used for very expensive architectural projects, and makes it affordable enough to be a powerful tool for any real estate transaction/project. On the example shown with this article, it was the potential buyer of the property who requested a design concept for the house they were considering. The VPD concept that was created is designed on the same footprint of the existing structure – including the porch which has been converted into living space. As with all VPDs, this concept is to scale based on the measurements we received.

  10. Julie Virtual

    August 12, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Keep in mind that there are more than one type of virtual staging.  One uses CAD or digitally created images for furnishings while the other uses images taken of real furniture on HD.  The latter is far more realistic and creates a much warmer look and feel.  Take a look at for a better idea.

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Social Media

Reactions to Twitter Blue from real subscribers, p.s. its not worth it

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter’s paid subscription service, Twitter Blue, gives more control over tweets and custom UI, but subscriber reception has been lukewarm.



Twitter Blue Sign Up Page

Twitter Blue, a paid subscription service that gives users increased control over their tweets and the appearance of their interfaces, launched this summer. Subscriber reception has been lukewarm, foreshadowing some resistance to shifts away from advertising-based revenue models for social media platforms.

The allure of Twitter Blue isn’t immediately apparent; beyond a relatively low price tag and increased exclusivity on a platform that emphasizes individuality, the service doesn’t offer much to alter the Twitter experience. Twitter Blue’s main selling point – the ability to preview and alter tweets before sending them – may not be enough to convince users to shell out the requisite three dollars per month.

Other features include the option to change the theme color and icon appearances. Twitter Blue subscribers can also read some ad-supported news articles without having to view ads courtesy of Twitter’s acquisition of Scroll, a company that provides ad-free news browsing.

But even with this variety of small customization options and the promise of more to come, users are skeptical. Android Central’s Shruti Shekar is one such user, beginning her review with, “Right off the bat, this feature isn’t worth the money you’d be spending on it every month.”

Shekar posits that the majority of the features are wasted on long-term users. “I think a lot of my opinions come from a place of using Twitter for so long in a certain way that I’ve gotten used to it, and now I find it challenging to adapt to something that would theoretically make my life easier,” she explains.

One of those adaptations centers on Twitter Blue’s “Undo Tweet” feature – something that belies the notion of proofreading and using common sense before sending thoughts into the nether.

“For me, 95% of the time, I really do pay attention to my tweets before I send them out,” says Shekar.

Twitter Blue checking Tweets before sending.

Shekar does praise Twitter Blue’s “Reader Mode” feature that allows users to view threads as uninterrupted columns but argues that the feature would probably end up being underutilized despite being a cool concept.

The aforementioned color and theme customization was of little interest to Shekar. “I actually found it a bit challenging to get used to the other colors, not because they’re ugly, but again because I am just so used to the classic blue,” she says.

One problem here is that the options to change link and theme colors and put threads in reader mode seem more like accessibility features than premium content. Twitter might do well to make these available to all users, if for no other reason than to avoid criticism about locking quality of life updates behind a subscription paywall.

Shekar’s criticism hits on a crucial point for any social media company looking to emulate Twitter Blue’s subscription model: Even if the subscription price is low, companies have to be prepared to make actual meaningful changes to the user experience if they want satisfied subscribers. That includes building in options that don’t fundamentally alter the basic aspects (or appearance) of the platform.

For more on Twitter Blue, check out their blog post on it here.

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Social Media

Instagram flaunts new features, including a decked out desktop experience  

(SOCIAL MEDIA) It’s been a time of exciting product and feature announcements for Instagram with additions of Collabs, fundraisers, and desktop posts on deck



Instagram displayed on a desktop

It’s been a time of exciting product and feature announcements for Instagram on both mobile and desktop.

Collabs Feature

“Collabs” allows up to 2 accounts to co-author a post or Reel, both sharing joint ownership of what is ultimately published. The post or Reel will show up equally on both users’ feeds with the same amount of engagement numbers, but combined, including comments, view numbers, and like counts. This is initiated through the tagging screen and the invited account will have to accept the offer before the collab can be complete.

Examples of adding a co-author in Instagram Collabs feature

Fundraiser & Reel Features

Instagram was quick to jump on the short-form content trends taking the social media world by storm. With the rise of TikTok, the Insta platform that was originally focused on static photos added Reels, along the same wavelength of short 15, 30, or 60-second videos, though the competitor has now expanded with the option of 3 minutes. Even so, Instagram is taking the time to improve music-related features within the Reels section of the app, adding “Superbeat” and “Dynamic.” The first adds effects to the video matching the beat of the chosen song, while the latter offers unique and interesting ways to display the song’s lyrics on screen. In addition, they are beginning to test the option to run fundraisers on a post by clicking the + button in the top right corner of the interface.

Examples of Dynamic for Reels feature

 Desktop Feature

FINALLY! Instagram is now realizing just how many users truly enjoy the desktop experience. If one were to compare the platform on the mobile app vs. desktop, they would see the slew of differences between the two with the desktop interface looking like the 1st year Instagram was even introduced. Functionality is no comparison; they only just added the ability to DM on desktop last year. As one can see, there is an extremely limited experience on desktop, but Instagram is now rolling out the ability for users to post from their browsers. Catch us enjoying posts on the big screen!

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Social Media

Truth Social: Trump’s long-standing battle against Big Tech backfires

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Truth Social is an example of how a new platform, though necessary to keep competition alive, can prove to be fallible before it succeeds.



Man holding iPhone with Truth Social app download page up, as well as the stock market and Trump in the background on computer screens.

Former President Donald J. Trump announced a new social media platform, dubbed “Truth Social” last week. The platform has since been the recipient of cyber attacks by hacker collective Anonymous and the Software Freedom Conservancy has accused the Trump Media and Technology Group of violating the terms of their software agreement.

The circumstances plaguing Truth Social provide a small (if nuanced) look into the rigors of creating and sustaining new social media platforms in the modern-day. While expanding the number of social media platforms available creates more competition, this platform, in particular, raises some questions about the wisdom of investing in a service that creates an ideological echo chamber, as well as demonstrating that not just anyone can run a social media site.

There’s no denying that this new entry into the world of social media is off to a rocky start. Cyberattacks just hours after Truth Social’s test run left the site in disarray, with fake user accounts for Mike Pence, Steve Bannon, and Donald Trump appearing at various stages of the launch. Truth Social’s hosts eventually took it offline, and the sign-up process is halted for the time being.

Woman holding iPhone showing Truth Social's feed.

Truth Social also has some interesting rules regarding user interactions on their platform, including a non-disparagement clause and the assertion that users can be sued for the content they post, Time reports.

“In addition to terminating or suspending your account, we reserve the right to take appropriate legal action, including without limitation pursuing civil, criminal, and injunctive redress,” says one section of the Truth Social terms of use.

This clause is in stark contrast to the ethos behind Truth Social – a platform that, according to the press release, was “founded with a mission to give a voice to all” and “stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech.”

The disparity in messaging versus reality is an understandable mistake, as much of Trump’s mindset was most likely impacted by criticism levied against him on mainstream social media when he had his accounts – and anyone in the same position might reasonably make the same call. However, restricting users to agree with one set political ideology is a perilous precedent to set. Echo chambers aren’t particularly conducive to longevity.

iPhone showing Trump's suspended Twitter account.

The Trump Media and Technology Group also violated the terms of their open-source software of choice when they uploaded the pilot version of Truth Social. According to the licensing agreement associated with Mastodon – the software company TMTG used – users must have access to the source code for the product in question (in this case, Truth Social).

Since the initial users of Truth Social did not receive that access, the social media platform is at risk of permanently losing its rights to the code.

While some of these pitfalls feel proprietary to Trump insofar as his high-profile battle against social media is concerned, the truth is that any development of new social media entries will be messy and fraught with obstacles. Truth Social is just one example of how a new platform – something that is absolutely necessary to keep competition alive – can prove to be publicly fallible far before it ever succeeds.

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