Instant Home Design, Staging Help
Several technology tools help you call up ideas to quickly reenvision a home’s look inside and out.
January 6, 2022
What if you could redesign or stage a home with a few clicks? More and more technology options allow you to gather instant price quotes and design inspiration from interior designers or home stagers. The tools can be used to upgrade and modernize your listings before selling them. These hybrid solutions allow you to initiate the design process before you jump all-in and commit to costly renovations or services. Here are a few emerging high-tech home design solutions.
Staging on demand: Guest House aims to simplify the home staging process by allowing real estate professionals to fill out online forms requesting services, virtually swap staging ideas for a specific home, and have designers provide the mutually agreed in-person staging services and listing photography, all within a week.
“There are tons of opportunities to reinvent the staging experience with technology from the moment you get a quote to the process of sharing what goes in a home to project management and more,” says Alex Ryden, founder and CEO of Guest House. “Staging can help real estate agents transact and sell homes with beautiful design. But the experience hasn’t changed in years. Using technology, we can make staging accessible to more people . . . and at more price points, as well as offer a quick experience.” Guest House has been attracting Wall Street funding as it plans to expand into new markets; it’s currently offered in Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs, Colo., and San Diego and San Clemente, Calif.
The company also combines home staging with retail services. Guest House stages homes using furnishings and accessories from popular brands such as Crate and Barrel, Joybird, and Burrow, and from local vendors. “Everything inside the home can be purchased by buyers,” Ryden says. Visitors can scan QR codes while touring properties to purchase a piece. “We’re also using technology to make it easier for home buyers to not have to move into an empty home,” he says. “They don’t have to wait 10 weeks for a sofa to arrive. It can be there from day one.”
Virtual exterior updates: Just as virtual staging can help buyers reimagine interiors, it can also perk up the possibilities for exteriors. After all, dated home exteriors may turn off some potential home buyers. Also, new-home construction buyers may be overwhelmed with the choices when designing the exterior from scratch. The startup Dzinly offers virtual exterior renderings within two business days, so current and new homeowners can view different colors and materials before committing.
Users upload a picture of their home, or the one they plan to build, to gather designer input on specific colors for the siding, trim, roof, stone, or brick, or even for adding architectural details. The virtual renderings include specific colors and products to use and can be provided to a local contractor. Dzinly costs $99 if users already know which three colors or materials they want to see rendered; it costs $199 to have three different designers complete virtual renderings.
Depending on the user’s budget, designers may show low-cost ideas, like adding window boxes or a portal detail, or changing the home’s shutter colors. For larger budgets, they may suggest adding architectural items, such as a front porch or dormers, to add more dimension to a home, says Matt Mosher, founder of Dzinly. “You don’t want to risk a huge amount of money and then it ends up not looking good,” Mosher says. “You’ll get to see a virtual rendering of what it will look like first. Real estate professionals know that sometimes if people can just see what a house could look like, that may be motivating enough to close a deal.”
Subscribe for furniture: High-end furniture can set a listing apart. Feather, a 2021 National Association of REALTORS® REACH tech accelerator company, is a furniture rental company that allows homeowners, real estate professionals, and stagers to rent high-end decor and furniture from companies such as West Elm, including its high-end Floyd brand. Users can subscribe from month to month or choose a longer-term plan. For about $150 per month, a subscriber could outfit an entire one-bedroom apartment. Also, each monthly payment can go toward eventually owning a piece. The service is currently available in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Orange County, Calif.
“Since we launched Feather for Staging this past March, we’ve seen immediate traction among staging professionals in all our markets,” says Jay Reno, founder and CEO of Feather. Feather was the winner of a “Shark Tank”–like pitch battle at NAR’s 2021 Innovation, Opportunity & Investment Summit in August. “Many real estate professionals don’t want to own the furniture they use for staging,” Reno adds.
Feather offers stylist-curated packages for living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, and home offices that can be used by real estate professionals who may be new to staging or need help outfitting spaces. “This is a way to access high-quality, stylish furniture,” Reno says. “It is a digitally native staging solution for real estate professionals who are looking for a simple solution to staging a home in the current, fast-moving housing market.”