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No "naked" models, WHY??

Home Stager with Egan Design Group Inc.

The market is tough, money is tight, you need sales and you have a model home. You think, I've got to cut costs somewhere so why not leave the model unfurnished "naked"? You think, this will save me thousands of dollars.

But consider these scenarios:

Say buyers are starting to creep back into the market, going out to look at some model homes, dipping their toes in to test the waters. They drive up to your model, outside looks great, they start to get excited, hey maybe this is the time to think about building. Then they walk inside, all they see are blank spaces and white walls, their excitement begins to dwindle and they don't have anything to create an emotional attachment to your home. They don't feel any warm fuzzies and they can't visualize what life would be like if they took the plunge... They are in the model less than 5 minutes then they are back in the car and starting to think, maybe now isn't the time, maybe later.

Next stop, this model looks great on the outside, excitement starts to build. They enter the home to see a warm an inviting space furnished with items that they could actually afford. They see the kitchen and it looks like a barBQ is about to start. The boy's room showcases the local high school soccer team and they begin to think, yeah they do have great schools in this area and a great sports program, hummm... Dad walks into the study and sees the photos of the local golf course and says, wow that course is less than a mile from here! All the family members start to form an emotional attachment to an area in the home and they linger... their imagination starts to help them visualize what life would be like in this home. They linger some more... They start to think, how much would it cost to live here? Maybe we should get some information from the Sales Staff???

Surveys show that less than 10% of the population have the ability to visualize what an empty space would look like furnished. That is why history shows that the floor plan of the model home always greatly outsells all other floor plans offered.

True times are tough, and maybe you can't spend what you used to on model merchandising, but to leave your models "naked" may not be the answer.

Denise Allen
Resh Realty Group - Chesapeake, VA
Realtor@ Chesapeake, Hampton Roads

I sell new homes and have the same problem.  They need to be staged for me to see them properly.

Jul 18, 2008 01:54 PM
Kate Bourland
Marketing with Kate - Redding, CA
Onlilne Marketing Mobile Marketing

Patti, this is an ongoing dilemma.  I remember way back when - I started my career in New Home Marketing and convincing builders to properly model has always been tough.  That and landscaping...the same goes for getting home buyers to stage homes.  If they only understood how much faster things move when they are all dressed up!!

Jul 18, 2008 07:12 PM
Deborah Fisher
Fisher & Company, P.A., Marketing & Creative Strategists - Fort Worth, TX

Marketing dollars are often the first budgets that get cut and are often cut the deepest.  It really is a shame that marketing is treated as an unimportant afterthought.  Staging makes all the difference.  We went to work for a home builder who had dozens of vacant homes, many had been on their books for over a year.  We went into their three mini-storage rooms that they had marked for clearance and cleaned out things that were decent (and some that weren't) and staged the homes, oldest first.  Several sold within one day, 1/3 within a week, and the rest within a month.  Can you imagine that we put the furniture in and the houses sold the next day?  We didn't complain about having to move it again so quickly.  They were even able to sell off some of the furniture with the homes.  I firmly believe in staging.

Good luck with your efforts.   Many marketing pros believe in you and know the value of your work!  You are a small price to pay to get inventory off the books.  

Jul 21, 2008 07:31 AM
Michelle Pimentel
Empire Home Staging Solutions - Upland, CA
ASP, IAHSP Empire Home Staging


Great post and so true!  As a professional home stager, I have seen this time and time again!  Today, a lot of builders who are cutting back on their budgets and are turning to home stagers as opposed to interior design firms to decorate their models.  It certainly is more cost effective, allows the potential buyers to place themselves living in the home, and builders will lose a lot less than having to take a price reduction on multiple homes! Professional Home Staging definitely SELLS more homes than Vacant ones!









 A vacant, empty room is hard to visualize living in!


                                                                                                                        A staged room transforms the space so that potential buyers can visualize themselves living in the space!

Jul 22, 2008 10:54 AM
Jim Fischetti
The Fischetti Group/Keller Williams - Wake Forest, NC

They do show better "staged".


Jim Fischetti


Jul 24, 2008 06:36 AM
Jan Whitlow, ASPM
Coastal Properties Group International - Indian Rocks Beach, FL

Hey Patti,

I just joined this group - glad to be here!!  Michelle could not have said or shown better what the proper ASP Home Staging can do for Model Homes.

Home Staging Professionals can do a multitude of things at many different price points.  We suggest always Staging the Living Areas and the Master Bed & Bath.  The latter is most important as that will be the place any potential Buyers will lay their heads at night!

In this trying economic time ASP Home Stagers use more of their Creativity and less of your dollars to create emotion in Buyers which will promote the greatest interest in your property!

Jul 30, 2008 03:03 AM
Rob Wagoner
Referral Builder LLC dba URBaCS - Noblesville, IN



I worked recently for a builder that had adopted the notion that "His homes would sell themselves". Oh how wrong he was. Proper decorating can enhance a great floor plan and greatly enhance an average floor plan. People buy the sizzle, not the steak.

Oct 20, 2008 03:42 AM
Mark Duncan
Olympia, WA

I absolutely agree.  I am one of those 90% that cannot visualize what an empty space would look like furnished.  On the other hand, advertising "Naked Models" would almost surely generate some traffic. :)

Oct 21, 2008 06:11 AM
Ryan Shaughnessy
PREA Signature Realty - www.preasignaturerealty.com - Saint Louis, MO
Broker/Attorney - Your Lafayette Square Real Estate Partner

Builders do drink the kool aid that our homes are so great they should sell themselves.  In reality, it takes staging, good signage, good collateral marketing pieces, etc.

Oct 21, 2008 06:51 AM
Lara O'Keefe
North Texas Home Finders - McKinney, TX

Patti, I agree. Staging and decorating the model is a really good way to create lifestyle and start some casual conversation about the decor. I am going to take some of your advice and integrate some pictures of the golf course that surrounds my community into my model decor.


Oct 24, 2008 01:37 PM