The responsibilities of being a homeowner can often feel overwhelming, especially when experiencing unexpected setbacks or situations that require expert intervention. Here is a collection of virtual services for the home that can bring much needed relief and support for a wide range of issues you may be facing as a homeowner.
Due to their inherent nature of being “virtual” all of these types of services have been designed with an innate understanding that their customers demand convenience, flexibility and competitive pricing.
10 Virtual Home Services Every Homeowner Should Know
- Virtual Assistants for the Home
- Virtual Decluttering
- Virtual Home Appliance Repairs
- Virtual Homes (AKA Digital Twins)
- Virtual Interior Design Services
- Virtual Landscaping Design Services
- Virtual Organizing
- Virtual Renovations
- Virtual Security Guards
- Virtual Staging
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- Related Topics: Proptech | Design | Home Selling | Home Security | Renovations | Home Maintenance
1. Virtual Assistants for the Home
There has been a plethora of virtual assistant services around the globe that can be used by businesses of all sizes, types and locations, for many years. Not surprising, many early-adopter corporate users have since adopted these highly flexible and convenient virtual services to their personal lives, as well.
These services typically charge by reserving a minimum number of hours per month at a set rate. The more hours you reserve, the lower the hourly rate will be. Some services, like Fancy Hands, sell packages of requests per month, with a request defined as a 20-minute task.
Here are a few examples of how virtual assistants can be used for busy households:
- Requesting & Tabulating Quotes for Home Services
- Scheduling Home Maintenance & Lawn Care Appointments
- Scheduling Recurring Activities for Large & Active Families
- Updating Family Calendars
- Researching Meal Plans, Recipes and Grocery Items
- Researching Special Purchases
- Researching Itineraries for Vacations and Special Trips
- Editing & Sorting Online Media (e.g. Photos and Videos)
- Project Managing Special Home Projects & Events
- Making Appointments & Reservations
- Sending Reminders of Important Tasks & Dates
Example companies that offer virtual assistant services for households & families include:
2. Virtual Decluttering Services
Virtual Decluttering is a service that is primarily used for removing items from images to be used for real estate listings.
Examples of virtual decluttering for real estate listings include:
- Removing all items for a given room to show it in an empty state
- Removing large furniture items for an image that are too heavy or cumbersome to remove in real life
Virtual decluttering serves as an invaluable feature of virtual staging, as it can dramatically expedite the time necessary to showcase your home online in an attractive manner.
Virtual decluttering can also be referred to as a “Virtual Moveout” to showcase your home empty, or more narrowly defined as “Furniture & Item Removal”.
Example companies that offer virtual decluttering services include:
3. Virtual Home Appliance Repairs
Virtual Home Appliance Repairs is the use of technology to enable remote on-site viewing, assessment and communication between a remote service repair person and an on-site client, typically a homeowner.
This approach to fixing home appliances is commonly referred to as a “Fix It With Me” approach to home maintenance. This collaborative approach has the added advantage of having a professional confirm that you are on the right path to resolution, based on your actual equipment and situation, unlike helpful, but unpersonalized, YouTube videos.
Virtual home appliance repair “service calls” typically involve the following steps:
- Scheduling an assessment virtual service call, while providing all of the necessary details on your appliance and situation
- Having a virtual repair service call, which provides a diagnosis of your issue and identifies any parts or tools necessary to correct the problem
- Having a follow-up virtual repair walkthrough with the same technician, if you need help installing any parts
Example companies that offer virtual home appliance repair services include:
- Streem (Note: Streem provides a platform for their clients to offer virtual repair services)
- Streem, Frontdoor & American Shield Case Study
- Virtual Appliance Repair
4. Virtual Homes (AKA Digital Twins)
Within residential real estate, a Digital Twin can be defined as an interactive digital model of a real life home that is a virtual replication, or Virtual House.
Though fully functioning digital twins of residential properties are not yet commonplace, their widespread existence is imminent, as smart technologies continue to become pervasively integrated within most contemporary households.
Any smart home appliance, with corresponding app, can be classified as a component of a Digital Twin. Basically any device that is Wi-Fi-enabled is likely able to integrate with a reporting dashboard to show usage data, running status, version information, and more.
Examples of Digital Twin “components” include:
- 3D Visual Models (e.g. Matterport)
- Smart Security Systems
- Smart Lighting
- Smart Appliances
- Smart Meters
- Smart HVAC Systems
- Smart Beds
What is currently lacking in the marketplace is a widely adopted, popular dashboard that can serve as an easy-to-use, intuitive interface hub for all underlying systems, data, products, warranties, etc. of a given home.
As “Digital Twins for the Home” evolve, they will also serve as an invaluable database of all critical information pertaining to one’s home, including:
- Product Specifications
- Product & Service Warranties
- Insurance Policies
- Maintenance & Service Records
- Paint and Color Specs
- Energy Performance Reports
5. Virtual Interior Design Services
When conducting research on how to freshen you home’s décor, keep in mind that there are several ways to benefit from the expertise of a professional designer, without signing up for a high number of hours or a large design budget.
First, there are many on-demand virtual design service companies, such as Havenly and Modsy, that offer design packages typically for a given room. These types of packages also include a shopping list of corresponding items, which is an invaluable time saver.
Second, be on the lookout for established interior designers that also offer virtual interior design services, such as Lesley Myrick. This type of innovative designer understands that many clients are looking for coaching and guidance through a given project, but they also enjoy staying actively involved, such as searching for key items and making purchases.
Below is a helpful overview of the virtual interior design services offered by Curio Design Studio, which gives context on the types of projects and clients that are a good fit for personalized virtual design services.
Virtual Interior Design Services by Curio Design Studio
Leading virtual interior design service companies include:
6. Virtual Landscaping Design Services
Similar in spirit to virtual interior design services, virtual landscaping design services can provide invaluable ideas, designs, and plans to help you figure out the full potential of your outdoor spaces. Plans typically provide detailed, personalized plans that can be implemented by a professional landscaper, or by a capable DIYer.
Below is a helpful overview that explains how Yardzen’s virtual landscaping service works, which is an approach that many reputable virtual design companies have learned is preferred by most customers.
Leading virtual landscaping design service companies include:
7. Virtual Organizing
Virtual Organizing consulting services help customers learn how to organize their homes by providing coaching and consulting services online.
The key goal of virtual organizers is to help their clients maximize the utility and enjoyment of their interior spaces by first organizing their spaces and keeping them organized.
Virtual organizing services typically involve the following activities:
- Understanding obstacles and challenges
- Identifying key goals for more efficient spaces and manageable systems
- Learning DIY plans and tactics, while sticking to schedules
- Transferring skills through virtual coaching: making decisions, planning and executing
Here is a concise overview of what virtual organizing services typically entail explained by Kait Hilton from Life in HARMONie.
Emerging applications of virtual organizing include clients that are planning to downsize or adapt their households for Aging-in-Place.
Example companies that offer virtual organizing services include:
- Clever Girl Organizing
- Life in HARMONie
- Mindful Decluttering & Organizing
- Organized Life Design
- Sacred Space Organizing
8. Virtual Renovations
Virtual Renovations are also digitally enhanced images used to help sell residential properties. In theory, a “virtual renovation” is the same thing as a “digital rendering” often provided by a home contractor to a client prior to the actual start of the renovation work.
Like virtual staging images, virtual renovation images need to be clearly labeled. The key difference between these two type of image selling tools is that virtual renovations represent “non-trivial” upgrades to a given room or area of the home. Examples of virtual renovations are:
- Adding drywall and flooring to an unfinished room
- Adding or removing windows or walls
For comparison, virtual staging images largely leave a given room as is (e.g. same flooring and wall color) and focus primarily on the furniture and home décor items, such as wall art, rugs, decorative pieces and plants.
The primary purpose of virtual renovations used in real estate listings is to show prospective buyers the potential for a given, imperfect space. Virtual renovations should especially be considered by homesellers who need to sell their home expediently. We see virtual renovations as providing a “happy efficient medium” to the marketplace, where homesellers do not need to risk time or money on perhaps the wrong renovations, while homebuyers can receive a cost-discount and the ability to upgrade their new home to their exact preferences.
9. Virtual Security Guards
Virtual Security Guards typically are an add-on service to existing home security systems. This enhanced type of service provides an additional layer of protection by using on-demand remote human surveillance with advanced, automated detection technology.
Remote security guards can be assigned to specific cameras and empowered to take some of the following actions when a security event has occurred:
- Livestream viewing based on a pre-defined motion events and camera locations
- Two-way talk systems to engage a suspected trespasser verbally
- Audio security alarms that can be enabled to deter further encroachment
- Permission to call an emergency response service if a monitored situation warrants
Advanced technology can provide the following automated security capabilities, as well:
- Smart responses based on advanced video monitoring, such as: enhanced lighting responses; audio alarm responses; and emergency response calls
- Advanced identification technology to distinguish humans from animals and objects, and family members from strangers
- Intelligent video analytics and reports
Demo Video of Ring Virtual Security Guard | Live Motion Event Monitoring by Rapid Response
Example service providers offering virtual security guard services include:
- Deep Sentinel
- Rapid Response
- Rapid Response Service for Ring Customers
- Ring Virtual Security Guard
- Alarm.com Video Monitoring
10. Virtual Staging
Virtual Staging is the process of using digitally altered photographs to showcase a home for sale. Virtual staging typically updates photos of key rooms of a house with contemporary furniture and home décor items that are indistinguishable to the untrained eye.
Besides presenting a home with an attractive design, virtual staging can also enable home sellers to provide multiple usages for a given space, which can attract the attention of a larger pool of prospective buyers. Additional benefits of virtual staging include: faster time to implement; more convenient; more flexibility; and the ability to remove items and clutter within original images.
A key responsibility is to label any virtually staged images clearly, so that there is no misrepresentation of the home’s current condition.
Leading virtual staging companies include:
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