Chicago North Shore Home Staging Franchise Best in Nation

Former Lake Forest Realtor uses staging to drive home sales

Nashville – Showhomes, a national home staging franchise, awarded its Chicago North Shore – Barrington location its coveted Franchise of the Year Award for 2010.

Showhomes recognized the North Shore – Barrington location because “it excels in home staging, maintains the highest standard of quality, has shown steady growth several years in a row, and has produced outstanding home sales results for its customers,” said Bert Lyles, Showhomes CEO.

The home staging franchise has a twist that is producing results in today’s real estate market: it uses live-in home stagers to help sell vacant houses. The company helps home owners and their Realtors in the Chicago market sell homes substantially faster than comparable vacant homes and often for a much higher price.

The Chicago North Shore – Barrington franchise is owned by Barbara Bliss, a former Lake Forest Realtor. “It’s thrilling to be a part of so many success stories,” said Bliss. “My franchise has flourished during the boom and the bust. We have roared through the recession; we’ve seen double digit growth every year since 2005.”

“I have a passion to help Realtors, home owners and buyers visualize the very best possibilities for presenting a house,” Bliss said. “A beautifully staged home with a live-in home stager makes all the difference in a market that’s overflowing with inventory.”

It is also the most economical way for a home owner to stage a large home: the live-in home stager pays the monthly staging fee so the home owner doesn’t have to, saving thousands.

Houses staged by Showhomes are often the first to sell in the northern suburbs of Chicago, where Bliss’ franchise has its blueprint. Case in point: recently, she staged a $3 million home that had been on the market for 806 days before staging and it sold in 78 days once the live-in stager moved in. In addition to selling faster, the home sold for very near the asking price.

Bliss’ current listings top $40 million. She has six employees and a bustling storefront in downtown Lake Forest. She credits much of her success to a boundless passion for home staging and her willingness to educate Realtors about the benefits of Showhomes.

“This is tough market for home owners,” Bliss said. “I’m happy that our hard work makes it possible for many homes to sell that would otherwise sit. In many ways, we are helping the housing market recover one home at time.”

About Showhomes Home Staging

Showhomes is a home staging business with a twist: the company uses live-in home stagers to manage vacant houses while they are on the market for sale and offset a home owner’s expense to stage the home. The innovative marketing strategy has been producing results since 1986 and the company has helped over 25,000 home owners sell vacant houses valued at over $8 billion. For franchise opportunities and more information, please visit

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