March 13th Marketplace: Parkites make home staging easy and affordable
That's why they and friends Drew and Katja Cain started Showhomes Park City. Showhomes is a national franchise that allows families with beautiful furnishings to live in vacant homes for sale. Statistically, the homes sell faster and for more because they're furnished, they're safer while occupied and the family pays a small fee to inhabit it that's much less than rent for a similar property.
Showhomes makes money, homeowners and occupants save money and the house is much better for it.
"How many businesses can truly say that everyone wins?" said Drew Cain, who handles the marketing of the properties.
Home staging is nothing new. Many companies offer to make a house look more desirable for Realtor walk-throughs and open houses. But with Showhomes, it isn't staged, it's authentic and homey.
"Otherwise buyers don't picture it as a home, but something they're trying to get for as cheap as possible," Drew said.
The people who live in the homes are "hired" as staging managers. They must have high-end furniture and décor, pass thorough background checks, be willing to have a house ready for viewing within 30 minutes and be ready to move out as soon as the home sells (although six months is average), explained Angie who uses her design skills to place the furnishings in the home.
"They're trained to live in the home very gently," added Katja, who oversees operations. "They're paying 70 to 75 percent less it's advantageous for someone looking for a place temporarily."
It's also ideal for someone thinking of buying a second home in Park City so they can give the community a try, she said.
Homeowners pay a set-up fee and then one-half of one percent of the sale price after closing. All together, the owner pays several thousand dollars, but the savings to them are so significant they're actually making money in the deal, Drew explained.
Other staging companies charge for time; Showhomes charges the same whether the home sells in two months or two years. Drew's photography and Internet marketing for the property are a $1,000 value alone, he said. Then there's the security from break-ins and vandalism. The staging managers cover utilities, so owners aren't paying for heating and air in an empty building. Also, homeowners insurance usually goes up often significantly when a house is vacant. There's no need to contract with cleaning companies to ready the house for walk-throughs. A vacant home's tax rate can go up as well, Drew explained.
In the 25 years the company has been in business, it has found homes sell for 10- to 20-percent more and 60 to 90 days faster.
"It's kind of a no-brainer when they wrap their brain around it," he added.
The Sapps and Cains are the only franchise-holders in Utah and can service homeowners in Wasatch, Summit and even some in Salt Lake County (east of I-15).
They're a Realtor's best friend, Angie said.
Showhomes Park City
To stage: 435-513-5454