There is no doubt about it: there are a lot of homes on the market. Understanding that, how do you – as a seller – cause your home to stand out from your competition? Home staging, says Barb Schwartz, CEO of, is an oft overlooked function of real estate selling.

Home buyers need to mentally ‘move in’ to a home to see themselves living there. If you cannot accomplish that then you’ve lost them. Schwartz offers six simple tips to help sellers in a downtrodden market improve their position:

1.) Get them inside. Staging is not only inside. Curb appeal is not to be overlooked because if they don’t like what they see from the sidewalk chances are that their hearts and minds won’t be swayed by what they see inside. Cut and trim the landscaping, rake the leaves, power wash the drive and walkways. Go easy on potted plants and remove all dead plants. Put the Big Wheels back in the garage and put trash containers back immediately on trash day when emptied.
2.) Pretend you’re camping. When you go camping you only take essentials, right? So go through each room and divide everything into a ‘keep’ or ‘give up’. Those items that you keep will be used for staging, and those items that you give up should be stored elsewhere. Cluttered rooms appear smaller to buyers who have a hard time mentally removing all of your ‘stuff’.
3.) Balance hard and soft surfaces. If you have hard surface floors, whether wood or tile, make sure you have plenty of rugs to balance. Look at your furniture: if you have cushy, 7-foot long sectional sofas and then 2 or 3 La-Z Boy chairs you have too many soft surfaces. Consider getting rid of the La-Z Boy chairs and replace them with wingback chairs.