With historically strong demand, it doesn’t take much to successfully sell a home. But, there’s no need to let the market do all the work. There are steps home sellers can take right now to increase their bottom line.

Staging, a common practice in real estate, can increase offers from would-be buyers. A survey by the National Association of Realtors concluded that over 80% of buyers preferred a staged home because they could better see themselves living there. Staging also sways how much buyers are willing to offer. In some instances, the homes sold 1% to 5% higher than other similar homes that went unstaged.

For further evidence of the effectiveness of staging a home, the survey also asked the buyers’ representatives to provide their perspectives. They said that their clients were willing to make offers that were 1% to 5% higher than other comparable homes, which mirrors a related survey noted above. No one reported that staging had a negative effect.

No matter how you slice the numbers, the fact is that a well-staged home brings the potential buyer entirely inside. A staged home is inviting and exposes the buyer to all the possibilities of what it would be like to own the home. Given the power of that sentiment, it’s no wonder why home staging is one of the most effective ways to boost the final home price.

Here are some general staging guidelines to follow if you are ready to get your home on the market.

First, think about home staging as an investment and not interior design. Interior design is more about your own style, whereas staging puts the focus on the home and current market.

Remember, the end goal is to make the home as desirable as possible, even in a hot market, so it can sell for top dollar.

First impressions matter. From the moment the potential buyers set eyes on the property, they should be blown away. Enhancing your curb appeal, like sprucing up the front yard, cleaning windows, gutters, garage door, front door and other outdoor features sets the tone for what’s inside.

When staging the interior, remember to clean, declutter and depersonalize. A tidy room with a foundation of the basics —– like a living room’s couch, loveseat, TV stand, side tables and lamps — allows buyers to envision themselves at home. Keeping up old photos, displaying knickknacks and not thoroughly cleaning creates noise and static that can be distracting to the buyer.

Focus on the main attractions like the living room, kitchen and master bedroom. Evaluate how the space inside your home is being used and objectively make changes that create more open space, flow and that spice up the layout aesthetics.

Fresh paint can also do wonders, just do not get overzealous on how much you paint and the colors you use. Then, work with what you have and keep the look generally uniform and complementary of the home’s current style for maximum effect.