The explosion of buyer demand isn’t the only thing fueling home prices.

Properly staged homes are commanding higher bids than those with little presentation effort. Looks matter. And while you will undoubtedly exceed your own expectations on the sales price in this market, why not compete at the next level with a thoughtfully staged home?

A recent survey by the National Association of Realtors reveals an unsurprising truth. Sellers who invest time and money in home staging showed a high rate of success in selling their home and earning higher profits. Furthermore, a well-staged home creates a world in which buyers see themselves living inside. This kind of visualization increases the willingness of buyers to make larger offers, the survey found.

Done correctly, home staging displays the home’s full potential. Not quite a blank slate, a staged home allows the buyer to get an impression for what it’s like to live inside. Proper lighting, furniture placement and other staging tactics are small things for the seller to do. But when they are packaged, they can have an impressive culminating effect, including a bigger bottom line.

While in-person viewings aren’t always immediately possible, staging is more vital than ever as consumers rely on video and photo tours. Since the start of the pandemic, research shows that photos and videos have become more important selling tools.

The survey also ranks the areas of the home that had a greater impact staged. Living rooms, kitchens, master bedrooms and dining areas should be the focal points. And as more people adapt to a working-from-home lifestyle, office spaces remain a top priority for many homebuyers.

Finally, the as seen on TV method isn’t always the most effective. Only about 10% of buyers enter the market with expectations that homes look like the outcome of an HGTV makeover. At the same time, about 65% of sellers asked their agents to help them make their homes as flashy as possible. The truth is, major home transformations are not a cake walk or practical. So, homebuyers should focus on staging that’s both easy on their wallet and schedule.