If you like interior design and you have marketing and business skills, then a home-staging business is just right for you. And now is the right time to start, with more homes being put on the market and sold as the housing industry climbs out of the recession.

According to the National Association of Realtors, approximately 5,160,000 homes sold in 2013 compared to 4,660,000 in 2012, an almost 20 percent increase in numbers. So turning your eye for design into a lucrative profession can only help.

One great thing about starting a home-staging business is that it can be a low-cost startup opportunity and can be carried on as a part-time job or a home business. This flexibility is a great comfort for creative people who are bound by other constraints and miss out on full-time opportunities.

With many professional programs that offer training and guidance on both staging and business management, starting off can be easy. Demands for this profession will only rise with the booming real estate market.

Studies conducted by The Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) show that a home will sell 87 percent faster when staged as opposed to selling them as is. One study had 89 unoccupied homes before staging spend almost 166 days on the market. But when these same homes when through a professional staging process, they spent just about 32 days on the market, a marked 73 percent decrease in time.

So what do you need to start a home-staging business? Here are some easy tips:

1. Research — If you are interested in home staging as a career, then you have to start with research and learning more about the local real estate market. Understanding the real estate trends will also give you an insight into the buyer's mind. It is also important to know more about the home-staging industry so that potential and competition can both be determined.

2. Certifications — Many realtors or homeowners who hire designers for staging the home may not bother about qualifications. But having one is always an added edge in this rising and competitive market and can definitely add to your credibility.

3. Training — While you're at it, it is a good idea to get into one of the advanced training programs that help enhance your latent staging and designing skills, and also teach you how to read and play the market.

4. Portfolio — You have start by building a portfolio of your work, which could be personal projects as well as initial work that you do for free or for a lower fee. Once you build up your portfolio, your previous jobs will provide a solid demonstration of your capability, success and performance. Add active references to add more weight to your reputation.

5. Communication — Enhancing one's communication and people skills is important since a lot of the work will be with demanding clients who will want to have their say even if they have no idea of design. Open and clear lines of communication are important here and should include all areas like design, budget, available resources, ideas and expectations.

6. Marketing — Just having talent and a portfolio is not enough, one has to work on active marketing ideas. One way to begin would be with local or online ads or getting in touch with the leading real estate agents in the area. Build a strong network with realtors because most of your business will come from them. Network with both realtors and also industry professionals with whom you may have to work.

7. Business skills — You may be an excellent creative person but have zero business skills. This is one of the reasons why 90 percent of home stagers go out of business within just six months of starting their own companies. Marketing and business skills go hand in hand to thrive and grow in this business, like others. But remember, this is a process that has to be continuous and evolving, even when you are up and running well.

Home staging will be a business in demand because its uses and benefits pan across all kinds of markets. In a slow market, it perfectly showcases a house to stand out. In a fast market, it makes a house jump ahead of competition.

Home staging enables prospective buyers to see the potential of the property and makes it look inviting to them. It minimizes negatives and highlights the positives of every property.

About 35 million Americans sold their houses in 2013, which showed the immense potential and demand for the home-staging business. With home values and remodeling both on the rise, it is not surprising therefore that home staging was listed among the "Best Jobs for 2013 and Beyond," an option you can start exploring today.