Showhomes home staging featured on Park Family Insurance & Financial Services blog
By: Aaron Park
January 18, 2011
Do you have a Vacant Home? Take a look at this idea…
What’s at risk when your vacant home is for sale?
It’s not a matter of selling your house, packing up your stuff and moving on. Now there’s the issue of your vacant, unfurnished house that remains on the market. Worse, your homeowners’ insurance rates just went through the roof because of the extreme risks of a vacant dwelling.
Picture this: A Realtor’s lockbox hangs off your home’s front door, announcing that no one lives at this address any more. The heat was turned off long ago, and potential buyers shiver as they hurry through, trying to imagine what some rooms were used or even designed for. It’s not unusual for a vacant home to stay on the market for a year or longer these days, making it a target for thieves looking for appliances, copper and more that they can haul out back windows in the dead of night.
Many insurance policies have exclusions that start as quickly as 30 days after the house is vacant. Insurance companies are so concerned about the added risks of a vacant home that they often will cancel a policy during the middle of its term!
While it’s true that ‘staging’ a home is a step in the right direction, it doesn’t address the idea that no one is there.
Recently, I came across a company new to the Sacramento area that may help solve the issues associated with a vacant properties. Showhomes, a nationally known home staging company, is one better. A resident manager moves in and completely furnishes the place with the help of a professional stager. This ‘home manager’ takes care of the premises, paying utilities and keeping the home neat for a Realtor showing.
It is widely accepted that prospective buyers tend to pay more for a home for a home that is occupied and nicely furnished. They also tend to make quicker buying decisions on homes that don’t look ‘desperate.’ These resident managers pay Showhomes a monthly fee, about a third of the market rent, creating a trade-off for their expert house-sitting services.
Features of the company’s contract include insurance obligations, such as general liability for injuries and property damage to the public, special perils liability coverage for damage to the home itself, and worker’s compensation. The homeowner agrees to continue the insurance on the home.
The benefits to the owner, is that the home is no longer vacant or unoccupied, so there would be no exclusions, no risk for immediate cancellation and the home is now occupied by a ‘tenant’ of sorts, even though the owner is not collecting a rental income from this person.
The home should also become eligible for a “regular” insurance policy, in addition to the benefits mentioned above. If you’re an absentee owner, this kind of arrangement transfers the maintenance and responsibility for utilities to the resident manager.
For more information on how Showhomes works as well the local contact information, go to www.Showhomes.com. The costs are usually compensated for by the higher sales price reaped from having this arrangement instead of leaving a house vacant, looking like a distressed property. The company generally will not consider homes below $400,000 sale price.
Showhomes is the only nationwide provider we know of for this perfect solution to the risks associated with a vacant home.