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Miami Real Estate:Home Managers Give Homes a “Lived-In” Look (Higher Offers/Faster Sales!)

October 13, 2009

P R O P E R T Y   S E A R C H

R E S T I V O – H E C H T M A N    T E A M

With the oversupply of high-end homes in many parts of South Florida (foreclosures and vacant properties) sellers are becoming more creative with  marketing efforts.   Across the country, companies are staging properties for a quicker sale and a higher price… Some rely on “home managers” to give the home a lived-in look.   Home managers are  actually house sitters (of sorts).  They are, for the most part,  executives (who want to get a feel for the area before buying) or people in transition (for one reason or another) who are able to furnish…   (move in… and  live in!) …  the posh, vacant properties listed for sale.  Staging the home  by using the ‘tenant’s’  (home manager’s) belongings and accessories…  arranging them to make it look like a model home  is the new face of home staging in South Florida.

One of the homes featured in the video above was staged by Marisa Salas of Show Homes in Coral Gables.  It’s in the high-end area of  High Pines … situated  between South Miami and Pinecrest.  Marisa says:  ” Staging is not interior decorating.  It’s to make the house visually appealing as one walks through the house. There’s no clutter. We place the furnishings and accessories so as to create an emotional attachment for prospective buyers.  We want them to think  ‘I want  to live like that…  the  furniture is perfect….    I want my closet to look just like that (organized!)… The house is perfect !’   She goes on to say” What we do is create an emotional attachment for the buyer.”

If the  ‘home manager/house-sitter’ has  furniture (but not enough), they can  buy (or rent from Show Homes) any additional pieces.   The main rooms of the house are always staged (living room, dining room, master suite, kitchen and breakfast room, family room, and any ‘flex’ rooms … which are difficult for buyers to understand). If the house has  6 or more bedrooms, some of the extra bedrooms will likely NOT be staged.

Show Homes works directly with the home owners, and generally situates a home manager in the property within 30-45 days.  It normally takes anywhere from  5-7 days to stage the house, and place the  home manager’s furniture.  Sellers pay an upfront fee ($2,500 on a million dollar property)  as a set-up charge.   The seller maintains insurance on the property, and the staging company covers all maintenance costs (lawn, landscaping, pool etc).  The Home Manager pays for utilities.  At the time of sale (presuming the property closes within 4 months)  the seller pays a percentage service fee to the staging company of roughly  in the vicinity of $4,900 on a million dollar property.  (That fee is separate and apart from any real estate commissions…..)  The longer the property takes to sell, the less the homeowner owes the staging company.

Show Homes of Coral Gables isn’t quite a household name (yet!) but it’s a name and a concept quickly gaining notariety in South Florida…fitting luxury vacant properties with relocating professionals in need of temporary housing … then staging those properties with the house-sitter’s furniture and accessories, to make the house more appealing to buyers. New concept in selling real estate: Staging homes by ‘fitting’ them with Home Managers.

What is a “Home Manager”?  A house-sitter in transition… who already owns  furniture, or is willing  to buy or rent elegant furnishings and accessories.

As a homeowner, having a Home Manager live in your vacant property may be the ticket to a quicker, higher priced sale!   Homeowner’s maintain their own insurance throughout the listing/sales process, but  Lloyds of London provides Show Homes with supplimental insurance.

From a  Realtor’s standpoint,  there’s a notable difference between having a vacant listing…  and an occupied, staged home!    Show Homes property values range from $1.5-$2 million on average … but they will stage and place home managers in properties valued anywhere between $600,000  and upward of $3 million.

Home managers are not your “typical tenants” … They must be ‘neat’ and ‘responsible’… be non smokers… own no pets… own (or be willing to purchase) beautiful furnishings… allow spur of the moment showings (to potential buyers)… and then be willing and able to pack up and relocate to alternative housing within 30 days of  the property ‘selling’.  Their ‘job’ (in exchange for living inexpensively in classy surroundings) is to make sure the house shows perfectly … at a moment’s notice.

This is a  new concept in staging …  tauted by  both the Florida Association of  Realtors and by the Associated Press  as a way to net tenants plush, cushy surroundings…  at a minimal or certainly fractional  ‘rental’  cost (membership fee)…. while simultaneously decreasing selling time,  and providing cost efficient savings, AND  increased seller profits.

Thinking about selling?  Please give us a call at 305 793 1365 or 632-0164 … or … send us a note here.

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