The Newest Staging Strategy: Live-In Home Staging

Showhomes Featured in Zillow

Renting Model Homes

Is the solution to selling a home quickly renting it out? Showhomes Home Staging in Tampa, FL isn’t your typical home staging company: one strategy they use to get homes off the market faster is enlisting a resident to live in and take care of the home while it’s on the market. By matching vacant properties with residents, they add energy to a home that can’t be achieved in atraditionally staged home.

“The home will sell faster, create buyer appeal, receive more response, and allow buyers to emotionally connect with a home. A home that’s occupied has energy in it that rooms full of furniture don’t have,” explained Linda Saavedra, franchise owner of Showhomes Tampa.

While Showhome’s staging strategy is a cost-effective alternative for homeowners, it’s also beneficial to the home managers, who can live in these nice homes for the price of an apartment rental. Home managers essentially rent the home, act as caretakers, and vacate the property once the home is sold — usually within 4 to 6 months. They also must live neatly and accommodate showing times, leaving the home during scheduled showings.

“When the buyer comes in and sees that the home is meticulous, has beautiful furnishing, and includes food in the pantry, they think the homeowner still lives there. Having a resident in the home creates the natural perception that the home has more value. After all, a home that is furnished, well cared for, and occupied exudes a sense of energy that an empty, vacant house just doesn’t,” Linda elaborated.

A home manager differs from a traditional renter in that they are considered sub-contractors, similar to a professional caretaker. Renting a home is governed under different real estate laws, where renters legally have tenant rights. Neither applies in Showhome’s case, since the company stages homes instead of renting them out.

Showhomes advertises online and carefully screens candidates. To qualify, potential home managers must have have beautiful upscale furniture, good credit, and clear a background check. Getting in the door as a home manager is no easy task — approximately 1 out of every 50 applicants is approved for the home manager program. The biggest difficulty Linda’s team has is finding home managers as fast as the homeowners want them.

“If the homeowner gives us the contract today, they want us to move someone in tomorrow — but it takes time to find a good fit and match for a home,” explained Linda.

Recruiting a home manager helps both the homeowner and the renter. A home that’s staged, occupied and taken care of will bring top dollar, while also giving the owner and home manager financial relief while the home is on the market. Showhomes finds home managers by marketing on major rental websites, as well as receiving referrals from home managers and real estate agents. For example, an agent who sells a home that’s still under construction might refer his buyers to be home managers while their home is being built. Professionals in transition, such as a banking professional relocating to Tampa and shopping for a home, are also a good fit for the program.

While not every client Showhomes takes on is a candidate for live-in staging, Linda feels that an occupied home has the life and energy an empty home just doesn’t. “Hands down, this is the best way to do it.


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