Showhomes Home Staging Featured on National Public Radio News
Showhomes’ Extreme Home Staging Spotlights Human Props
National Public Radio featured Showhomes Home Staging on its Morning Edition radio show, August 18th, 2010.
NPR reporter Carolyn Beeler interviewed Jonathan and Carla Chiefetz, franchise owners of Showhomes Home Staging in Princeton, NJ, and interview Showhomes Home Manager Bill Worthington.
Here’s a link to the full NPR story which talks about new forms of Home Staging including Showhomes’ highly successful use of ‘human props’ to occupy and help sell vacant homes:
As a side note, there ARE statistics about how much more effective occupied staged homes are than vacant homes! Our staged homes are often selling in less than half the typical time on market and often for a full 15% higher sales price than comparable vacant homes.
Here’s some photos of Carla’s work:
Interested in opening a Showhomes Home Staging Franchise? We’re recruiting!
Fill out a request form to join a weekly webinar and learn more.
Here’s a transcript of the story:
Extreme Home Staging Spotlights Human Props
Filed by KOSU News in US News.
August 18, 2010
Bill Worthington calls himself a human prop. He seems more like an enthusiastic tour guide. Worthington is walking around his $1.5 million Princeton, N.J., home, like a proud owner.
“Look around the kitchen here,” Worthington says. “It’s essentially a brand-new kitchen, with high-end appliances, brand-new cabinetry…”
But he doesn’t own the place, or even know the owner. He was hired as a “house manager” to live in the property. He moved in with his own furniture, and bought some new items to fill out the expansive white brick colonial. He pays a monthly fee of $1,500 to live in the house, a fraction of what the mortgage or rent on the property would be.
“I’m living high on the hog for not a lot of money,” he says.
The catch: He has to keep it immaculate. The house must be ready to show prospective buyers at a moment’s notice. He can’t leave any toothbrushes out in the bathroom, shoes in the entryway, or dishes waiting to be washed in the sink.
Worthington was hired by the Princeton, N.J., branch of Showhomes, a national home staging company. “Home staging” — or furnishing and decorating a home to help sell it — has been around for decades. But with home sellers facing a dismal housing market, they’re going the extra mile to make their homes stand out in the crowd. That includes hiring house managers like Worthington to give homes a lived-in feel.
A New Routine
Every morning as soon as Worthington wakes up, he makes his bed so it looks like it belongs in a hotel. He tucks the sheets in nice and tight, straightens the off-white comforter, and replaces the decorative throw pillows he tossed on a chair the night before.
“I’m not a real good Suzy Homekeeper,” Worthington says, “so it takes me maybe 10 minutes of staggering around here half awake.”
In addition to keeping the place clean, Worthington must decorate the house to help other people visualize how they could live there. That means he can’t hang any political or religious artwork, and can’t have many personal photos. And if a buyer wants the house, Worthington has to pack up his things and move out.
The owner of the house approached Carla and Jon Cheifetz, the husband and wife duo who run the Princeton franchise of Showhomes, after the home had been sitting on the market for three years. The company operates under the assumption that lived-in houses sell for more than empty ones. Even if a house is nicely staged, Carla Cheifetz says, buyers can tell no one lives there, and that hurts the sellers.
“The prospective buyer will know that the house is vacant, because there is no food in the refrigerator,” Cheifetz says. “There’s no clothes in the closet, so therefore what happens is they will lowball offers because they feel that the owner might be struggling because they may have two mortgages.”
Staging On The Rise
Nationally, Showhomes says it has about a third more homes in the system than this time last year. It is generally accepted by real estate agents that traditionally staging a house — adding furniture and decorations — does help move a property faster.
Koki Adasi-Efuya, a Realtor in Washington, D.C., says he saw home staging increase among his clients when the housing market hit the skids.
“I saw the big jump probably around 2007, 2008,” Adasi-Efuya says. “Inventory, you know, kept increasing and people saw that it was getting harder to sell the house, so they started to think of other creative ways to make the property sell.”