SOURCE: Showhomes Home Staging

Showhomes Home Staging

August 16, 2011 11:57 ET

Home Managers at Showhomes Home Staging Pay Minimal Fees to Live in Luxury Properties

Divorcees Save Money, Gain Stability While Living in High-End Homes

NASHVILLE, TN--(Marketwire - Aug 16, 2011) - When Tony Hearn was going through a divorce he had to move quickly. He wanted an affordable place near his two children in the coastal community of Fairhope, Ala., but wasn't sure he could pull it off.

Through a friend, Hearn heard about Showhomes Home Staging, a national franchisor that places live-in Home Managers in well-kept, beautifully furnished homes while the properties are on the market for sale. Within a few days, Hearn was the Home Manager of a large home with 5 bedrooms and 4 ½ baths a few blocks from the beach and within 10 minutes of his children.

Hearn couldn't have been happier. He lived in a gorgeous home while going through the ups and downs of a divorce and even saved money.

"It was one less thing to worry about, and I was able to save about $700 a month," Hearn said. "It worked perfectly."

Such stories are common at Showhomes, said Matt Kelton, Chief Operating Officer at the Nashville-based franchisor.

"Divorcees have to deal with a lot of stress -- dividing property, assets and savings, not to mention the emotional adjustment of separation," Kelton said. "Showhomes can provide remarkable stability during this otherwise chaotic time."

Home Managers typically pay a minimal fee in exchange for keeping the home clean and ready for Realtors to show to prospective buyers. The Home Manager pays the monthly utility bill and any required lawn or pool maintenance. After the home sells, Showhomes pays for the Home Manager to move to another beautifully staged property.

Chuck Barrow got involved with the Home Manager program when he was going through a divorce three years ago. Barrow is now living in his third Showhomes property -- a $1.2 million, 4,000-square-foot home on the water with views of the Sunshine Skyway in Florida.

"I can go get an apartment for $1,200 a month and it's really nothing special at all or I can live in a million dollar house on the water," Barrow told the St. Petersburg Times. "I have dolphins in my backyard every day."

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