Today’s home buyers have high expectations of how a home “shows.” Gone are the days of looking past the home’s current décor; home staging is now an expected part of the selling process. (Photo: Pexels).

Who sells a home these days without staging? One look at photos of homes for sale, and the apparent answer to that question is “almost no one.”

Today’s home buyers have high expectations of how a home “shows.” Gone are the days of looking past the home’s current décor; home staging is now an expected part of the selling process.

And for good reason – it works.

Home sellers report that home staging increases selling price and shortens time on market, according to a 2021 survey report by National Association of Realtors® (NAR). In the Boulder area, where prices are on the rise, home staging can help a buyer accept the price tag of a home.

The practice of furnishing and decluttering a home to present well began in the 1970s and has evolved into a growing industry. Staging experts use furnishings to accentuate a home’s positive features and hide flaws. Perhaps most importantly, well done staging creates a mood while encouraging prospects to imagine themselves in the home.

With the prominent practice of online home research – which the COVID-19 pandemic made even more important – visual merchandising commands attention. One of the “musts” in home staging is to make the home look better in photos.

Most home buyers – 95 percent according to a recent NAR report – use the Internet in their home search. In fact, 38 percent of buyers were more willing to walk through a home on site after they saw it online, so your home needs to show really well in pictures. Great photos that pique the buyer’s interest are essential to marketing your house.

But is home staging really necessary, especially in the Boulder area where housing demand is still high?

Statistics suggest it makes a difference. 82 percent of buyers’ agents say a staged home helps the buyer visualize the residence as their future home, according to NAR.

Staged homes sell faster and for more money. 23 percent of sellers’ agents report a 1 to 5 percent increase in the offer price and 18 percent report a 6 to 10 percent increase. Thirty-one percent say time on market was decreased greatly.

And with more and more homes being staged, many of the other homes your prospective buyers are viewing are likely to have been professionally staged.

Realtors® vary in their approach to staging. Thirty-one percent of sellers’ agents stage all homes prior to listing, while 13 percent only stage homes that are difficult to sell.

Agents say they most often recommend the following home improvements:
• Decluttering – 95%
• Entire home cleaning – 89%
• Removing pets during showings – 83%
• Carpet cleaning – 78%

Most commonly staged are the living room, kitchen, master bedroom and dining room, reports NAR. As many workers were forced to work from home due to the pandemic, 39% staged a home office or office space.

Today, it’s possible to virtually stage your home. Virtual staging means adding furniture and accessories in rooms using photo manipulation and photo editing. Not as expensive as actual staging, virtual staging enhances the all-important online photos. Experts recommend showing both the before and after staged photos to convince buyers the property is worth a visit, while not setting false expectations of how the home is currently furnished.

Read the full 2021 report on home staging at

By Tom Kalinski. Tom is the broker/owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, the local residential real estate company he established in 1977. He was inducted into Boulder County’s Business Hall of Fame in 2016 and has a 40-year background in commercial and residential real estate. For questions, e-mail Tom at [email protected], call 303.441.5620 or visit