Home-staging firms are very optimistic about this technique, claiming that having a family in a house creates a pleasant and homey atmosphere that’s very popular with potential homebuyers. It also allows for more organic and lived-in home staging that softens flaws and enhances focal points. The homes often sell faster and for more money as the result of model family living. Houses that are less lived in often feel hollow or dreary to homebuyers, and many house-staging firms refer to them as “naked homes.”
The stagers have very specific rules for their model families. Clothes must be organized and personal items minimized, and everything must be clean and properly placed at all times. Families like the Muellers have their living arrangements inspected regularly to make sure everything is still in it’s place.
The Muellers once owned seven homes and a bed and breakfast, but a financially devastating fall from grace caused them to lose all of it. Living as prop families has actually been a lifeline for them, allowing them to live in the opulent surroundings they’re used to on nothing more than minimum wage jobs at McDonald’s.
Custom homes are often valued at over one million dollars in the US, and are usually 17% more energy efficient than older homes. They’re also built in high-end luxury areas, and the home the Muellers currently occupy overlooks the tenth hole of an exclusive golf course in Tampa. The company they work for pays their moving costs, and the Muellers pay them about 1,200 in rent, plus household bills.