Steven talks about the real estate trend of staging homes with people.
It’s no secret that staging your home can result in an increased purchase price. And I think, when we consider staging, we think of the placement of furniture, furnishings and art inside a usually vacant home. But the staging industry has taken it one step further and has been staging with people.
These people, who agree to live in the home, now are professionally trained. They go to training programs, they’re called house managers, home managers, and many of them agree to live in these homes and showcase them for sale because they are in-between jobs or in-between homes, or need something temporary. Others actually do this professionally and they will live in the home from anywhere between 30 days to 10 years.
But they have to adjust quite a bit. In some cases, it’s entire families where the children also have to adjust to living almost seamlessly, invisibly in often much wealthier people’s homes, disappearing for a showing at a moment’s notice, arranging their home in such a way so as to depersonalize. No religious artifacts, no personal photos. Everything, from the fold of the towel to the color-coding of the sweaters in the closet, to the positioning of one’s toothbrush is set up to make sure that you, as the resident home manager, are invisible and actually seamless.
And of course in California they take these things one step further and their home managers are often present on the showing. Billy is doing his homework and mom is baking cookies, and everybody knows they don’t really live there or are the owners of the home but, somehow that’s all ok with them. It’s this suspended disbelief Truman Show moment. So although we’re staging with sofas and colorful pieces of art here, on the East Coast, we can look to the West Coast for the kinds of strategies that home staging might soon involve. I just think that’s kind of interesting.