Strategy producing home sales despite sluggish market
A national home staging company is having success in today`s tough real estate market using people as props to help stage and sell large vacant homes. The innovative alternative to traditional staging is dramatically shortening the time to sell and increasing the sales price.
Showhomes contracts with homeowners to place people it calls `Home Managers` in vacant homes for sale. Home Managers help stage the home and keep it in show-to-sell condition inside and out so it shows well and sells faster. These human `props` add life to the home and make it far easier to sell.
In a recent case study for 2008, luxury homes in Chicago staged by Showhomes with Home Managers sold for 93% of the original list price when using Home Managers to stage. Comparable homes left vacant for sale sold for 75-85% of the original list price. Homes staged with Home Managers sold in 4-5 months and vacant homes took well over a year to sell. That`s at least a 10% higher sales price and a sale in less than half the time of vacant homes.
Home Managers get to live in high-end luxury homes for a small fraction of what it would normally cost to rent or buy. The huge costs savings comes with a catch: the must have beautiful furniture, must keep the home is spotless show condition at all times and must be ready to move on short notice when the home sells. These human `props` make a home looked lived, warm and comfortable.
"There is good news in today`s market: mortgage rates are amazingly low and a buyer with decent credit and a down payment can get a loan," says Thomas Scott, Showhomes VP of Operations. "The problem is that for every qualified buyer in today`s market there are 20-30 homes for sale. This means that for a home to sell it needs every advantage it can get or it will most certainly languish on the market."
"Vacant homes are cold and sterile. Buyers have a hard time remembering vacant homes. Adding a live-in Home Manager to a home makes it warm and appealing. It looks great. It`s perfectly clean. It smells great and there are clothes in the closet and food in the fridge. It might be the one home that a buyer remembers and can easily connect with and in today`s market, that`s the secret to a successful sale," said Scott.