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Offbeat Occupation : Staging company turns a house into a Showhome

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By Heather Posey, Staff Writer

After several years of success, real estate markets all across the country have slowed to a trickle of what they had been in previous years. Homes have become much harder to sell, there are more homes on the market than at any time in history and home staging company Showhomes aims to be a “ray of light in the otherwise gloomy market.”
Showhomes–known as America’s largest home staging company–began its operations in 1986 and started franchising in 1994. Local owner Beth George has been a part of the Showhomes franchise over the last 12 years and has showcased homes in various cities across Los Angeles and Orange County, including locally in the Belmont Shore and Virginia Country Club areas.
According to George, Showhomes helps home owners sell high-end vacant homes and has experienced record sales increase as a result.
“Showhomes’ unique strategy of staging and helping realtors market vacant luxury homes produces real results,” said George. “The company experienced a 45-percent revenue growth last year and in the last three years, the company has been experiencing rapid success, almost tripling its same store revenue. In addition, the Showhomes franchise system is growing rapidly as we add new units.”
Recently listed as one of the hot franchising trends for 2008, George has also won the award for Top Revenue Producer for 2007.
A collaboration between the company and realtors or sellers, Showhomes takes a vacant house and assigns a home manager, a person recruited by Showhomes who temporarily moves into the property for the length of the selling period. Representatives do make arrangements and agreements with the property owners, so that the owner is involved with the staging process.
George states that sometimes making the home “lived in” plays an important role in selling the property.
“Vacant homes sell much slower and for less money especially in today market. Homes that are lived in and beautifully appointed are going to bring a higher price, more quickly,” she said. “Prospective buyers have a hard time envisioning themselves living in the home when it’s vacant. Also the size of rooms is very misleading when they are unfurnished.”
Showhomes has dramatically beaten market conditions, with staged Showhomes selling as much as 50 percent faster than comparable vacant ones. According to George, the company’s service is high in demand because there are more houses for sale today than at any point in U.S. history, and there are more vacant homes for sale now than ever before.
A company that has done very well in Orange County, Showhomes has begun turning their attention back to Los Angeles County, with a location at 9595 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.
Showhomes charges 0.5 percent of the list price of the house at the time of contract. The fee is due at the close of escrow or termination of contract. For more information about Showhomes of Newport Beach, contact Beth George at (949) 851-8566.

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Offbeat Occupation : Staging company turns a house into a Showhome