This is what the West End needs..

to prevent the break-in’s and vandalism  on our vacant homes..

Company Offers Rent-a-Residents

A company called Showhomes Management LLC is taking staging one step further by hiring resident managers to occupy vacant high-end homes, furnish them, and keep them spotless until they sell.

There are about 2.2 million vacant homes for sale, according to census data. And that means the Nashville-based company, which has business operations is 34 states, is doing fabulously.

“I hate to be the one positive person in the real estate market,” he said. “We’re really excited about the bust because there are so many vacant homes. We can be really selective — almost picky,” says Thom Scott, vice president of operations.

Home managers actually pay Showhomes to do the job – about $1,200 a month to live in the houses, which are often multi-million dollar mansions. In return for the bargain rent, they are expected to fill the homes with nice furniture and keep the properties open house ready. The deal lasts until the home sells – usually five or six months.

Scott says finding managers isn’t hard. Often people who have just sold their own expensive home sign on. Newly transferred executives are also likely candidates.

Source: Chicago Tribune, Mary Umberger

Record High of Vacant Homes for Sale

The number of vacant homes for sale in the United States set a new record in the first quarter of 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Monday.

The Census Bureau reported that 2.9 percent of U.S. homes or 2.28 million properties, not including rentals, were vacant and for sale. It was the highest quarterly number as far back to 1956 when records of such vacancies were first kept.

The West had the biggest gain in vacancy rates among home owners, rising to 3.2 percent in the January-March period from 2.6 percent in the same quarter a year earlier. Vacancy rates inched up in the Northeast and remained steady in the Midwest and South.

Source: The Associated Press, Alan Zibel (04/28/2008  )