Consider Live-In Stagers for Vacant Homes

Showhomes, a Nashville, Tenn.-based home-management and staging company with eight offices in Florida, provides live-in stagers for vacant homes that are up for sale.

Live-in stagers reduce the chances that the property will be vandalized, and they ensure that the listing is kept in show condition and ready for buyers to tour with just 30 minutes’ notice. They also must vacate the home when it sells; but in return, they pay dramatically reduced rents. Don Vanderhoef, who owns Showhomes’ Fort Lauderdale franchise, says, “A big part of it is psychology. Buyers see food in the refrigerator, clothes in the closet. They see all the signs of life of a regular home.”

While some real estate agents worry that live-in stagers will not keep the home clean or cause problems when asked to move out, Vanderhoef says in-home managers sign contracts and submit to background checks.

In the company’s 24-year history, he says it has worked with only one problem manager. The program’s properties generally spend less time on the market and fetch more money than other vacant listings. The company collects a “success” fee of 1 percent of the list price when a sale is completed and only the upfront money if the home is not sold.

Source: Charlotte Observer, Paul Owers (01/17/2010)

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