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How’s this for a relatively newer concept: Live-in stagers? Instead of hiring a stager to come in and stage a home to prep it for a sale, an emerging trend in the real estate and staging world is taking hold in which stagers actually stage the home and then live in it.
Here’s how it works: “Resident managers” move into homes for sale, stage the homes with their own furniture and live there until the home is sold. They also act as security detail, and oversee regular home maintenance issues while the home is listed. Their presence — and furnishings — not only help market the home, but they keep maintenance, insurance and other costs down for the home seller, says Marci Robinson of Coastal Style, Inc.
For example, in Atlanta, homes that are listed for a million dollars or more are being rented to resident stagers for $ 1,200 to $ 4,800 a month. Who wouldn’t mind renting a mansion for a fraction of potential mortgage payments? Plus, sellers are comfortable knowing their home is cared for and occupied to protect against intruders. This alternative way of staging homes — and earning a living — is proving to be increasingly more common.
While it’s a familiar notion that staging can help sell a home, having someone live in the home and stage it is not commonly known.
Enter Marci Robinson, who noticed a need. After 14 years in the real estate business in one form or another, Robinson and her husband started their staging services for high-end homes, creating Coastal Style, Inc. as a viable solution. Although they also do fee-based “traditional” staging, they’ve found that in some instances, having people move in with their own furniture is more cost-effective.
Coastal Styles finds potential resident managers, does a thorough background check and then charges a monthly fee to home sellers for the services. On occasion, there is a need for furnishings beyond what the resident stagers have brought with them to the home, so that is part of the service, too.
“We do background checks, credit and criminal checks, verify income and assets,” said Robinson. “These people have money; they aren’t just coming off the street.”
Who are these resident stagers?
Often, they are people who have sold their homes for millions of dollars, but for a variety of reasons aren’t looking to purchase a new property right away. Sometimes, other life circumstances create a need for high-end, but temporary housing, as in the case of divorce or renovation projects. For many of these new kind of renters, they’ve found the affordable rent in a high-end home to be worth the risk of needing to move several times a year.
Atlanta is home to several pockets of high-end homes, but current home values mean the homes aren’t exactly flying off the market.
“Some people can be in one house easily for a year,” Robinson said. “But there is really no way to tell what’s going to sell in two weeks, and what’s going to sell in two years.”
No matter the selling period, each of the resident stagers gets a 30-day period to move out, and perhaps be placed in a new home.
“Most people do this indefinitely,” Robinson explained. “They’re saving really good money this way.”
And with the home occupied, homeowners rest at ease while their home is listed.
“Really, it’s a win-win-win,” Robinson said.