Virtual Staging. In Real Life.

Dhruva Rajendra
Jun 14 · 4 min read

Sup?

Our team has been hunting for a new office. One of the tricky parts about picking an office is figuring out what it will look and feel like if we move-in. When our workstations are in, will we feel cramped? Could we buy new furniture? Will our collection of Star Wars Fatheads fit on the wall? SO MANY QUESTIONS!

This gave me an idea to make the process awesomer.

Enter stage left

Staging is the process where sellers make their properties look beautiful AF. This is accomplished by removing clutter, bringing in new furniture, adding lighting, etc to make the most Instagrammable look they can. In the residential market, it’s estimated that a well-staged home can increase the property value up to 20% of a listing.

Commercial office sales don’t rely on staging as much Why? It’s just different. For instance, the layout and furniture a tech company or a law firm might want? Not the same. The spaces can be much larger, which would require more furniture. I talked to brokers that pointed out that landlords often don’t want to bother with the cost or headache (imagine hauling all that furniture up and down an elevator).

To help prospective tenants better visualize a space, commercial brokers often rely on renders.

In this vein, there are a bunch of services popped up to provide commercial brokers with 3D renders. Matterport is a leader — it allows users to 3D scan a property, then use that 3D model for sales.

Check out below — a good 3D rendering could hypothetically let someone view a property without visiting.

While pretty cool, many brokers I spoke with in commercial viewed it as a ‘nice-to-have’ feature for sales. Both commercial and home buyers preferred to be on-site with their prospective tenants vs. making the experience purely online.

Staging in AR (Pt. I)

Alright, so this one has two parts. Part one: staging a commercial offices via AR. Part two (probably more important): a crowd of ‘virtual’ stagers.

Let’s start with part one. A commercial broker, looking to stage a space, would take a scan via an app of the dimensions of their room. It’d produce a floor plan representing the space. It’d look something like this (shamelessly ripped off from an app called Planner5D).

Simple enough. Now when on a tour with a tenant, you could show them the dimensions of the space. Instead of a render or a virtual walk-through, a prospective tenant could literally walk the space to get a sense for how big it is.

(Can you tell what’s real?)

But wait… there’s more!

A swarm of designers (Pt. II)

Let’s go back a few steps. You’re the seller and have scanned your for-sale office space. You want to make a good impression on your client, and maybe you’re not the world’s best ‘virtual stager’. Never fear, the Internet is here.

After completing a scan, this app could provide an option where a user could request ‘help’. The app would ask some questions to define requirements and generate a kind of RFP. Then, a crowd of designers could respond to the broker with their ideas for a virtual staging experience(If you’ve ever seen 99Designs, it’d be similar — post a design challenge and get dozens of responses).

What’s really cool about this is that you could tap into the knowledge and expertise of designers around the world. Perhaps, you could give interior designers or furniture designers the ability to test new concepts and recognition from end clients (while getting paid for it).

What do you think?

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