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Living in Sudden Valley
July 10, 2014 3:01 PM   Subscribe

Need temporary housing? Want to live large for less? Showhomes matches high-end vacant houses for sale with people who have beautiful furniture and need temporary housing. If you are moving from one city to another, are building a home or simply want to live in a beautiful home for a fraction of what it would normally cost, consider becoming a Showhomes Home Manager. You can enjoy a Showhome as if it were yours while it remains on the market for sale. In exchange for keeping it clean and letting buyers view the home, you get dramatically reduced monthly fees....

Q: How do I become a Showhomes manager?
A: You must have or be willing to purchase enough furniture, artwork and accessories to furnish one of our homes. Your furniture must be the style and grade appropriate to the home.


  • To qualify, we'll need to first see what your furniture looks like.
  • Tom Seifert is living the dream. A single guy in an 8,000 square foot house, Tom is not only free of mortgage payments and house repairs but also is able to entertain female friends and family in his million dollar home – all while saving money.
  • It's an adventure.
  • I like being a home manager because I like moving.
  • 'Human props' stay in luxury homes but live like ghosts.
  • posted by mudpuppie (35 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

     
    I thought the fourth season would be the last season
    posted by whyareyouatriangle at 3:03 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


    I read the last article today earlier and I thought it sounded perfectly horrifying.

    Also, $1,200 rent in Tampa can get you a perfectly nice house of your very own that doesn't mandate you angle your books a specific way or hide anything controversial you may own.
    posted by winna at 3:03 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


    Unless you get to stick around after the sale and haunt the family that moves in I call bullshit on "living like ghosts."

    On the other hand if anyone knows how I can get work as a poltergeist, howling ghoul or restless shade let me know.
    posted by griphus at 3:13 PM on July 10 [10 favorites]


    Have you been studying the manual?
    posted by The Gaffer at 3:14 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


    Welcome to the sharing economy, I guess.
    posted by boo_radley at 3:15 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


    Needing to buy and maintain the kind of scale-appropriate (read: huge) faux-grand furniture to fill today's scale-inappropriate faux-grand modern houses, and needing to move all that furniture around in uncertainty and with short notice, turns this from an okay idea for some people maybe to a bad idea in my opinion.
    posted by 2bucksplus at 3:17 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


    Staying in a home that is show-ready for sale is pretty much my idea of the 1st circle of hell. To each their own I guess. But the fact that these "home managers" still have to pay any rent at all while providing their show-ready staged furniture is what tops it for me. They're basically a house-sitter and house-sitters don't generally pay to house-sit. That's just ridiculous.
    posted by muddgirl at 3:19 PM on July 10 [20 favorites]


    Ok! I would like to be done living in a dystopian novel, now. Please.
    posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:25 PM on July 10 [20 favorites]


    Two years ago I moved into a guesthouse/converted garage in West LA. Despite not being very big (probably 900sq feet) and having some weird features (combined sink/shower!), I was actually pretty excited about what I might do with the space, and I really liked the neighborhood (plus I had a less than 5 min commute in LA).

    Then, within two weeks of moving in, my landlady announced she was selling the property.

    We'd agreed on a month-to-month lease and I don't begrudge anybody doing what they have to do, but accommodating showings was... interesting. Twice I got walked in on by agents while mostly/entirely naked (and left to wonder why people knock when they're *just going to open the door*). And when the place didn't immediately sell, the landlady decided to stage everything, which meant I had pretty limited input about how the space was furnished/decorated from then on out.

    Overall, the feeling was that of being an extra on someone else's set. This was also going to be the first time in over a decade I'd had my own space, so it was a bit of an extra downer.

    Maybe I'd feel differently about the whole thing if I hadn't been paying rent, but I think most people get places to live so they can live there how the choose.

    Some people really like the staged feel and a spotless house, though, I guess.
    posted by weston at 3:26 PM on July 10 [4 favorites]


    Ok! I would like to be done living in a dystopian novel, now. Please.

    When I sent the link to my best friend this morning I told him the same thing - I liked Shadowrun as a game, but living in it was not cool.
    posted by winna at 3:31 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


    Bring own furniture + be willing to show house all the time anytime + keep house as per instructions at all times + pay rent = Why the fuck would somebody do this?
    posted by signal at 3:41 PM on July 10 [8 favorites]


    You get to pretend you still have that middle-class lifestyle?
    posted by 2bucksplus at 3:48 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


    Who doesn't enjoy moving at the drop of a hat? What a treat.
    posted by ian1977 at 3:49 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


    Sometimes just to keep up appearances. That last link says so much.

    Bob and Dareda Mueller become instantly wealthy when Dareda's father died and leaft her a fortune. Then they took that fortune and pissed it away on the housing bubble, becoming poor again. Maybe living in other people's homes is just a way to pretend that never happened.

    "Bob said he often feels as if he has stepped backward, but that it has also felt good to get back to their roots. Dareda said, "I hate the fact that we went through that, and yet, it really helped me understand what people go through." Added Bob, later, after dinner: "I think that's something I won't forget, when I'm wealthy again.""
    posted by Kevin Street at 3:52 PM on July 10 [5 favorites]


    $1200 a month is our mortgage on a house that no one is going to kick us out of.
    posted by octothorpe at 4:03 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


    There is literally no amount of money in the world that would make me capable of keeping my house clean enough to show anybody. If someone offered me unlimited money for the rest of forever in exchange for having my home showhouse-ready for a single day, while still keeping my actual possessions, and gave me a month to prepare, I would fail miserably.
    posted by The World Famous at 4:10 PM on July 10 [10 favorites]


    Paying rent to house sit? Buying furniture styled for someone else's lifestyle? No thanks.
    posted by Dip Flash at 4:12 PM on July 10


    Who doesn't enjoy moving at the drop of a hat? What a treat.

    Tons of people living a more nomadic lifestyle than this. Diversity, yo.
    posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 4:12 PM on July 10


    I'd be really wary of this. Having someone in a home even for a limited amount of time can give them tenant's rights, which can cause havoc with a sale in some jurisdictions.
    posted by Amplify at 4:27 PM on July 10


    Tons of people living a more nomadic lifestyle than this

    I didn't think nomads had credenzas.
    posted by PMdixon at 4:43 PM on July 10 [16 favorites]


    Welcome to the sharting economy
    posted by grobstein at 4:57 PM on July 10 [6 favorites]


    $1280 is the mortgage on the house my wife and I live in and don't have to have prepped with "appropriate" furniture or belongings, or be prepared to have people drop by at basically any time, so no thanks.

    I get that being a single person living in 8,000 square feet of house is a perk to someone, but that sounds awfully depressing/terrifying to me...
    posted by rollbiz at 5:27 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


    How much would it cost to have a Showhomes manager family come to live in my house with me, if it's not actually for sale? My place could really use some nicer furniture.
    posted by orme at 5:44 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


    I didn't think nomads had credenzas.

    That is correct. The Mongol horde did have rolltop desks, but considered credenzas overly pretentious.
    posted by The World Famous at 5:52 PM on July 10 [8 favorites]


    Ok! I would like to be done living in a dystopian novel, now. Please.

    This one specifically is somehow so surreal that I feel like it would be dismissed as busting the suspension of disbelief, or failing at being satire if someone included it.

    That said, a few friends of mine basically did this in a vague way, but instead it was "don't break my ugly outsize furniture or you pay retail" instead of providing it. And it was all made like shit. The house wasn't for sale, but they agreed to keep it clean and got an awful lot of furniture and such as part of the deal.

    Basically, they paid fairly cheap rent to live in several million dollar mansion that included a theater(with top shelf gear, I loved this), indoor outdoor pool, 15~ person hot tub, super ugly indoor koi pond in the entryway, "party" room with disco tile and a wet bar, wood fired pizza oven, etc.

    7 or 8 people lived there at any given time, and the only stipulations were really "keep everything clean, maintain all the furnishings, and be ready to move out at any time with no real notice". So there wasn't any real security to it... But shit was it fun.

    Some of the coolest parties I've been too were at that house. And then suddenly it came time to move out within like 7 days and everyone had to super scramble.

    I couldn't imagine doing it as a lifestyle, and I didn't even live there. It was a fun thing to do once when you're young and have nothing really tying you down.
    posted by emptythought at 6:25 PM on July 10


    Ok! I would like to be done living in a dystopian novel, now. Please.

    Don't worry, it'll all be over on what you feel is too short a notice.
    posted by srboisvert at 6:35 PM on July 10


    Tom Seifert is living the dream. A single guy in an 8,000 square foot house, Tom is not only free of mortgage payments and house repairs but also is able to entertain female friends and family in his million dollar home – all while saving money. (emphasis mine)

    I read this -- which is a direct quote from the linked article -- and expected some dudebro fratboy bachelor. Now I am just confused, and not just because he doesn't seem to have a need to entertain male friends.
    posted by Room 641-A at 7:16 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


    This is horrifying.

    The first video said half the "managers" had kids. How would that even work, moving every month? Homeschooling?
    posted by jaguar at 8:20 PM on July 10


    Who the hell wants to dust 8,000 square feet of house? We can't keep up with 2500.
    posted by octothorpe at 8:22 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


    I like how they quote a person who works as a manager for their company. protip if it's your website you can actually just write the thing you're saying the normal way
    posted by threeants at 8:23 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


    I don't know if it was through this outfit, but the house I bought a few months ago was staged by a lady who was living in it, and the owners had moved out. I wasn't sure which way money was flowing but thought the whole deal was very odd.

    I was frankly embarrassed to show the listing to people because the furniture and decor in the photos were so tacky and goofy-looking. If the owners were paying the stager, they were getting ripped off.
    posted by town of cats at 8:25 PM on July 10


    I hope this spawns a new and exciting genre of horror movies.
    posted by elizardbits at 6:21 AM on July 11 [2 favorites]


    Who the hell wants to dust 8,000 square feet of house? We can't keep up with 2500.

    People who can afford to pay other people to keep it up for them?
    posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:08 AM on July 11


    More seriously, when I was a kid, my sister's best friend was the daughter of the CEO of a large business, and they owned a 5-story house built into a hillside. But when we went over to play, her family only used the first floor, which looked like a nice ranch house. The other four floors were for parties. I assume you buy an 8000 sq. ft. house to entertain, and only really clean the bulk of it when you are expecting company.
    posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:17 AM on July 11


    Oh look, they are selling franchises.
    posted by Lycaste at 8:46 AM on July 11


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