Industry News

New real estate staging tactic: happy family

Company adds fake mom, dad, kids to model homes

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As the potential buyers filed into the open house in Southern California, they gasped in surprise. Instead of the traditional empty residence with a few pieces of tastefully arranged furniture, they discovered a family baking a cake. Like the tastefully arranged furniture and the cake in the oven, the family was part of the staging of the Centex model home in Santa Clarita, Calif. -- completely fake. A public relations firm had hired actors to enact the skit. "There were a few moments of surprise and confusion," said Jim Garfield of California property public relations firm Roddan Paolucci Roddan, the company that created the concept. "But once people caught on, there was an embracing of the moment." Indeed. Dressed in casual jeans, former "Baywatch" lifeguard Jaason Simmons, 35, posed as the dad for the May 20 "HomeLife Show" staged in Centex Homes' Milestone development in Santa Clarita Valley, Calif. An actress played the mom, and two children from a local theater company play...