Posts Tagged ‘Top 500 Franchise companies’

How to make your home more appealing to buyers (

April 2nd, 2014

If you’re planning on putting your home on the market, there are things you can do to spice up your property to attract potential buyers.

Spring is the best time to sell a home, says Ally Piccolomini, co-owner of the Philadelphia branch of the home staging company Showhomes.

philly-default-header-logo“Everyone wants a new change,” Piccolomini says. “It’s a lot easier with the [seasonal] transition and before the new school year.”

Showhomes, a national company, opened its first office in the region last month in Radnor. Piccolomini, who has worked on homes in Kennett Square, West Chester, and Glen Mills, says the company’s mission is to assist sellers with sprucing up their homes by focusing on three things: decluttering, depersonalizing, and deodorizing.

Piccolomini recommends removing excess furniture, accessories and personal items, such as family photos.

“Take away family photos so that a new buyer can come in and visualize the home with their family,” she says.

Plus, sellers should make an effort to rid the home of bad odors. Cigarette smell and pet odors can turn potential buyers away.

Other simple things that can be done to make a home more marketable include painting the front door, painting the interior a neutral color, and highlighting architectural features. For example, painting the fireplace mantel white for big impact.

“It gives a calm, peaceful feeling to the room,” Piccolomini says. “It gives it some balance.”

The outside is just as important as the inside, so don’t forget to take a look at your home’s curb appeal.

“When people drive up that’s the first thing they see. You just want to get them in the door.”


March 6th, 2014

Showhomes has staged more homes across the country than any other staging organization.  We have many great long term relationships with Realtors across the country and this has been one of the keys to our success.  There are times when we see mistakes made by Realtors that we interact with that could be avoided.  This is a great blog by Rooms in Bloom Home Staging with some information that you should consider before working with a Realtor and Home Stager.

“It’s always great when realtors and home stagers create strong partnerships. In these types of scenarios, both parties support and rely on each other to handle the important aspects of preparing and selling homes. We have seen these partnerships go wrong however and from our perspective, here are the Top 10 home staging mistakes realtors make:

1. Selecting your Stager based on price only – Selecting a stager simply because they are the cheapest is one of the best ways to sabotage your sale and cost your clients thousands of dollars in lost equity. More important than cost is the experience, talent and resources a staging professional will have – and the results they achieve! When selecting your staging professional, base your final decision on their portfolio, professionalism and expertise.

Free or Low Pricing doesn't ensure QUALITY so buyer beware!

Free or Low Pricing doesn’t ensure QUALITY so buyer beware!

2. Telling your stager what they can – or cannot – address in a home – It’s not always easy to hear what a home stager has to say but their job is about addressing  ALL the factors that buyers will object to. Agents often tell their stagers to go easy on their clients or not to address certain things. This does a disservice to your clients and can potentially cost them in poor buyer interest, price reductions and even the sale of their home. A better plan is allow your staging professional to discuss everything they need to so even if you or your clients decide not to implement the suggestions right away – if the house doesn’t sell then – there is a back up plan.  Finally, trust your staging professional to handle sensitive topics in such a way that you or your clients will understand and appreciate. If your stager can’t do this then maybe it’s time to find a new stager!

 3. Selling your listings vacant – Statistically, vacant properties take 90% longer to sell than staged properties. That can mean sitting on the market up to 7 months longer and going through countless price reductions.  Investing in home staging never costs as much as the first price reduction once a property is on the market. Not recommending your clients invest in staging can cost them on the the final sale price and extra carrying costs, resulting in a long stint on the market.

staging empty rooms

4. Not using professional photography – It’s an online real estate world and buyers are searching for their next dream home on their mobile devices. Buyers are also inherently visual so professional pictures of bright, modern spaces will get their attention and get them in the door for a visit. If your realtor doesn’t offer professional photography, find one who does. It is simply not an option anymore not to use professional photography.

5. Poor planning and time management – This is an important one!Many people fail to plan how much time it will reasonably take to prepare and stage their homes for sale. The sense of urgency prompts them to put the property on the market when it clearly isn’t market ready. Be reasonable and plan for taking anywhere between 1 – 3 weeks to get your home show-worthy. Calling in a home stager and then planning for pictures the next day is unrealistic and unreasonable – for both your clients and for your stager.

6. Staging the home yourself – Well meaning realtors often offer to help clients stage their homes – with mixed and varying results. As most realtors have not been trained on how to effectively showcase focal points or create great flow through key selling areas, these efforts are often ineffective. We recommend working with a professional who can confidently recommend the right colors, finishes and furnishings to add the WOW factor  so that the agent has a property which is a joy to market and sell. Unless a realtor owns their own staging business and inventory (we know of a few successful ones), agents are best to partner with a staging professional who can handle all aspects of a home’s preparation while the realtor does what they do best: sell the home!

7. Disrupting the Staging - Once a home has been staged, it’s important that it be kept in the same condition throughout the time it is up for sale. Most stagers have clauses in their contracts which prevent items from being moved or relocated so it’s important to be aware that the home was staged in a certain way for a reason. Moving furniture around or relocating staging decor can make the staging less effective. Additionally, if someone sits on a bed or a sofa, fix the pillows and straighten the bedding – especially for the pictures.

This room looks great except for the pillows on the sofa! Someone sat on the sofa and didn't fix them for the pictures!

This room looks great except for the pillows on the sofa! Someone sat on the sofa and didn’t fix them for the pictures!

8. Undermining Your Stager - When we get contacted by a new realtor, we always invite him or her along on a staging consultation so that they can see how we work and understand the reasoning behind our recommendations. This builds trust and confidence in both parties so that they can, in turn, support each other. Nothing is worse however, than having the agent who hired you disagree or dismiss your suggestions in front of the clients. Not only does that create confusion but it also makes the stager you chose, look like they don’t know what they are talking about. Staging is our area of expertise and that is what most realtors want – an expert – so their clients will listen and follow the recommendations. If you disagree with something your stager is saying, it’s fine to ask why they suggested it – your clients are probably wondering too – and listen to the explanation. If the stager is recommending things that you know won’t add value or are confusing, be sure to have a talk with him or her after the appointment.

9. Poor Communication with Your Stager - The best partnerships are built on great communication so we encourage realtors to disclose all necessary information to their stagers. This can be anything from relevant personal details about the client (divorce or a death in the family necessitating the move) to providing feedback on the staging services themselves. We aren’t mind readers and letting us know facts like the home owners have already bought a home and are listing the following day will greatly impact how we prioritize our recommendations. Realtorswill get a client complaint from time to time – stagers are addressing some personal topics and regardless of how good their communication skills are, there will be people who take offense. Discuss it with your stager and do your best to back them up. Remember, they are having the conversations with your clients that you don’t want to have. Some of our best realtor partnerships have come from going through these types of situations together.

10. Telling Your Clients they Don’t Need to Stage their Home - While this echos a bit of #6, this mistake deserves a mention. We often hear agents say that they don’t recommend home staging or that they have never had to use one in their ___ years in business. Great! It’s important to realize however that the way homes are sold these days has been changing and evolving for awhile. Presentation and condition are very important to today’s buyers who value quality over price and who have little time or interest in dated properties. The emerging buyer places considerable value on free time – they eat out more, travel and value time with friends and family over working in their home. They will pay MORE money for a home which is turn key and which reflects the lifestyle they aspire to have for themselves. If you aren’t staging your listings then we can tell you with confidence that you are helping to sell the staged homes in your area. Sellers are aware of these changes and are seeking out realtors who offer home staging as part of their listing services. They know they have to do more to impress this new generation of buyers. Offering staging to your clients will give you more marketable listings, better sales & more referrals plus it will give you an edge when you are competing  against other agents!

A great partnership with your stager will strengthen your business and impress your clients. Avoiding these mistakes will ensure that the relationship you have with your stager is a long and profitable one!”



Thriving in Franchising After Leaving Corporate America

April 2nd, 2013

Showhomes Franchise Profile: Fred and Lorraine Pierson of Raleigh, NC

Fred Pierson’s path to entrepreneurship was anything but linear. Before becoming a Showhomes Home Staging franchise owner in Raleigh, N.C., Fred Pierson had two different corporate careers.

In college, Pierson earned a degree in aviation management and went on to manage corporate jet facilities across the United States. Due to the nature of his work, he and his wife, Lorraine, moved frequently. After years of packing and unpacking, Fred, Lorraine and their young children settled in North Carolina and Fred left the aviation industry and his first corporate career.

Fred then joined Starwood Hotels and Resorts. He felt that “hospitality was similar in nature” to his aviation work. For the next decade, Pierson worked his way up the corporate ladder, eventually earning the title of General Manager. As the economy contracted during the Great Recession, Fred returned to work for a competitor at half the compensation of what he had been making.

“After doing corporate work for 25 years, my wife and I felt it was time to start working for ourselves,” says Pierson. “In life, opportunities present themselves occasionally, but what really made Showhomes the right opportunity for us was the timing,” he explains.

As luck would have it, a good friend of Fred’s was starting her own mortgage brokerage firm around the same time as his departure from the hospitality industry. Due to her encouragement, Fred became a national and state licensed mortgage loan officer — passing both tests on his first try.

“Old dogs can learn new tricks!” he says.

Working as a mortgage officer was very interesting to Pierson, though he soon realized it could put a strain on his relationships with friends.

“I refused to sacrifice my relationships with people to originate loans,” Pierson explains, “As such, my wife and I looked at opportunities that would provide me with a pipeline of loans without pushing me to use my personal contacts.”

A good friend led the Pierson’s to Showhomes, a business model they felt they would use as an “ancillary feeder” to his mortgage business that catered to those relocating to the Raleigh area.

“We quickly saw that the opportunities with Showhomes were far greater than within the mortgage business,” says Fred. “In a short period of time we saw impressive results that allowed us to walk away from the mortgage side of things and focus on Showhomes.”

The Pierson’s ultimately chose Showhomes over other franchise opportunities because it played to the couples’ talents. Lorraine enjoyed interior design and, as a byproduct of Fred’s aviation management days, was adept at staging houses and making them feel like homes. Fred, a self-described “turnaround specialist for companies,” easily brought in new business.

“Technically no one does what we do on a national level with the level of support and national branding that Showhomes offers,” Pierson says.

On what to expect when becoming a Showhomes franchisee Fred says, “You’re buying the right to a territory and what you do with that territory and how you manage it effectively is up to you.

As franchisees, Fred and Lorraine have learned a considerable amount about real estate and the effect staging has on the buying and selling process. The number one challenge to Showhomes as a business model, according to Fred, is demonstrating the value of a staged home to both the seller and to the realtor.  “Showhomes is here to stage, maintain, manage and protect your home. My job is to make someone fall in love with your home; it’s the Realtor’s job to find a buyer”.

With experiencing close to a 70-percent success rate of having homes sell within 90 days of being staged, the Pierson’s feel that the human elements—leaving slippers by the bed, The Wall Street Journal near the coffee maker– clearly make a difference and bring a human touch.

“To be successful it helps to be well-rounded and most people, because of their corporate careers, are specialists in a particular area, like sales, operations, or administrative. For this reason, it works best with a great team, similar to myself and my wife Lorraine.”

“I take great satisfaction in explaining Showhomes to business principals,” says Fred, “Smart people right away say, ‘That’s an amazing business model!’”

Showhomes Top Franchisees Recognized

February 6th, 2013


Franchise of the Year, Circle of Excellence, President’s Club and More

Vacant homes are hard to sell!  They lack buyer appeal, languish on the market and receive low offers.  Showhomes, a national home staging franchise, and their franchise partners have provided successful selling solutions for real estate professionals and homeowners in all economic market cycles for the past 26 years.

At the recent Showhomes Annual Conference, held at the beautiful Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville TN, Showhomes, America’s Largest Home Staging Franchise celebrated the achievements of their top franchisees.

  • Showhomes Jacksonville – Franchise of the Year, President’s Club, Circle of Excellence & Most Homes Sold.
  • Showhomes Raleigh - Rising Star Franchise of the Year, Circle of Excellence & Most Move Ins.
  • Showhomes Memphis – President’s Club, Circle of Excellence, Shooting Star & Most Homes Sold
  • Showhomes Fox Valley – Ambassador Award, President’s Club, Circle of Excellence & Most Homes Sold.
  • Showhomes South Bay – Best in Staging Design, Most Homes Sold, & Fastest Fill Time.
  • Showhomes Houston – Rising Star Best in Staging Design & President’s Club.
  • Showhomes Coral Gables – President’s Club & Circle of Excellence.
  • Showhomes Tulsa – President’s Club, Most Move Ins & Fastest Fill Times
  • Showhomes Kansas City – President’s Club, Most Move Ins & Most Homes Sold

Other award recipients were:  Denver, East Valley, Little Rock, Mobile, N. Pinellas/Pasco Co., Naperville, Nashville, North Shore-Barrington, San Diego & SE Wisconsin.

Bert Lyles, Showhomes CEO said, “We are very proud of our Showhomes family and all award winners.  Each business is built on integrity with a customer centric focus and outstanding staging design & services.  Each award is well deserved.

# # #

Since 1986, Showhomes has helped realtors and homeowners sell more than 26,000 homes worth more than $8 billion across the United States. Showhomes provides a turnkey package in home staging that includes whole-house furnishings, professional decorating, staging, a live-in home manager and marketing support services.

Showhomes Ranks High On The Franchise 500 List

January 19th, 2012

Read the rest of this entry »

Showhomes Home Staging Makes Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 List

January 6th, 2011

Home staging franchise ranked highly in all categories

With six years of double digit growth, Showhomes home staging ranked 214th in Entrepreneur Magazine’s popular list of the top 500 franchise companies for 2011.

The magazine ranked the home staging franchise in the top 50 low-investment businesses, in the top 100 fastest growing franchise systems and in the top 100 home-based businesses.

Entrepreneur magazine has been evaluating the top 500 franchise companies for 31 years and examines important criteria such as financial strength and stability, growth rate and system size to determine rankings. The list is highly competitive and dominated by large, well known franchise brands. This is Showhomes’ fist ranking on the annual list.

“We are well positioned to be a top player in real estate-related franchising, and for good reason,” said Matt Kelton, Showhomes ‘ COO. “We have low entry level costs; we are a home-based business; we are in a hot category of small business and we have a very high potential return on investment.”

Showhomes has gained national media attention for its “home staging with a twist” business model. Focusing on vacant houses, franchisees recruit and train live-in Home Managers to stage and maintain the home while it is on the market and for sale. The service is popular with home owners and Realtors because it lowers insurance costs, creates a model-home atmosphere and makes a vacant house easier to sell.

Before the house has been staged.

“I’m not surprised by Showhome’s ranking,” says Joe Mathews, franchising expert and author of the top-selling book, Street Smart Franchising. “This is a franchise that ‘gets it,’ meaning they concern themselves with the sales, profitability and relationships with their franchisees.”

After the house was staged.

Amy Cosper, VP and editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur, called the 2011 Franchise 500 “a must-see list for anyone searching for the right business.”

About Showhomes
Since its founding in 1986, Showhomes has helped Realtors and home owners sell more than 26,000 homes worth more than $8.5 billion.The Showhomes business model is based on the fact that staged and occupied homes kept in show-to-sell condition sell faster, and for higher prices, than vacant houses. For information and franchise opportunities, please visit