Most buyers form an opinion about a home within the first 7-10 seconds of arriving. Over 90% of buyers look at homes they've found on the Internet. It is critical that your home makes a strong first impression online.

Staging will help you do just that.

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 Sellers who spent $500 on staging recovered over 343% of the cost when they sold their home. In controlled tests selling identical homes, professionally staged vs. those not staged, the non-staged houses sold in 102 days, while the staged houses sold in 45 days. (Real Estate Staging Association).

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 It is estimated that only 10% of home buyers can visualize the potential of a home. That means 90% are not going to be able to look past dirt, clutter, and imperfections.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average staging investment is between 1 and 3% of the home's asking price, which generates a return of 8 to 10%. That's a pretty good investment.

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In a 2009 Home Gain Survey of over 2,000 Realtors, it was discovered that home staging typically provides a 586% return on investment.

According to a 2011 study by HomeGain.com, these are some top updates you can make to prepare your home for sale that will result in the greatest return on your investment: Staged homes spent 83% less time on the market than non-staged homes. (HomeGain.com)

Clean and declutter: 872%

Lighten & brighten: 572%

Landscaping (both front and back): 473%

Paint interior: 250%

Update kitchen: 237%

Update bathroom: 172%                                    

FFtRemove personal items

Use rooms for intended purposes

 Remove evidence of pets

 Turn on all the lights during showings

 Show homes furnished (as opposed to empty)

 Remove personal photographs

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Because home staging has only grown in popularity over the last several years, there have not been a large number of actual studies and surveys done. However, the ones that have been done clearly show how important staging is.

But in reality, many Realtors have been practicing these techniques for years. The term for what they were doing, home staging, just hadn't yet gained popularity. The Internet, no doubt, has also helped popularize the concept. It has also changed the way we buy and sell homes.

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 Regardless of whether you use an agent or sell your own home, staging is critical to selling success.