Over the past decade, Showhomes, America’s leader in home staging and design, has done its legwork to establish itself as what has been referenced as a “recession-proof” business.
“Our original model was based around our Home Manager service,” said Showhomes COO Matt Kelton. “The recession between 2008 and 2011 was actually a great time for us because this service was in high demand.”
Showhomes’ Home Manager Service places a person with high end furniture and accessories in a home for the time it’s on the market. The home manager’s belongings serve as material for home staging, and the home manager is not only responsible to have the home “show-ready” at all times, but also to alert the realtor and/or homeowner if something requires maintenance or repair. During a time when homes were staying on the market longer, this was the silver bullet for homeowners, making all the difference during the sale process.
Today, however, the real estate market is telling a different story. With real estate at its highest peak since 2008, and the building applications for single-family projects at their highest rate since December of 2007, Showhomes is predicting another year of strong sales growth—this time with another branch of its business in the high demand.
“The nice thing about our area of expertise is that we’ve been able to adapt our business model over the years to serve homeowners and realtors in the areas they most need assistance when a home is on the market,” Kelton said. “When homes were sitting for a long time, our franchisees couldn’t arrange home managers fast enough, now, when homes are moving faster and new construction has picked up, it’s getting the house itself in shape to beat out the competition that people need help with.”
In addition to perfecting professional home staging and redesign over the years,, in 2015 Showhomes launched its Home Updating Service, complete with the company’s own custom line of paint colors and flooring. Each Showhomes franchisee is knowledgeable in the latest housing trends, and they’re able to come in, recommend and complete the necessary updates that will make a home stand out among similar competitors.
Franchisees Chris and Lisa Gulliver recently completed home updates to a home in Rancho Santa Fe, California. Prior to enlisting the help of Showhomes, the home had been on the market for three months and received one offer. The Gulliver’s installed new carpet, painted, did a home makeover with the owner’s existing furniture and brought in some supplemental pieces for staging. The total investment cost of these updates was roughly $14,000, and within weeks of project completion, the homeowner received an offer on the home $50,000 higher than that of the previous offer.
“This is exactly the type of service homeowners need when the market is hot like it is today,” said Kelton. “Competition is steep and your home needs to standout in order to get offers you’re satisfied with.”
Kelton went on to add that in today’s market, 96 percent of the time the first impression of a home from potential buyers comes from photographs they see online. In order to make the best impression in those photos, homeowners really benefit from a one-stop-shop service like Showhomes to make sure their home is represented at its very best. In addition to looking great both in photos and in person, Kelton mentioned that buyers’ standards are different today than they were even ten years ago.
“You have a lot of first-time home buyers ready to purchase now due to increased wages and an improving economy, and the Millennial generation is looking for houses that are on trend and move-in ready,” he added. “Now there are some college dorm rooms that have granite countertops—you better believe that when these kids graduate and are ready to buy, they’re looking not only for function, but a house that looks great and is up to par with the finishing’s they’re accustomed to.”
Having grown 33 percent in 2015, and already seeing a spike in requests for both home updates and builders looking to stage models, Showhomes expects 2016 to be another consecutive year of strong double digit growth, coinciding with the current real estate boom.