Development's sales boom after it stages messy teen rooms in its model home

A British real estate developer has come up with a novel way to convince prospective buyers that its new homes are truly homey: It has dressed one of the bedrooms in its model home to look like a typical teen's room. Everything was re-created: messy bed, car posters, a fake half-eaten sandwich, open pizza box, and wadded-up underwear on the floor. Everything, developers say, except for a teen boy's "musky, stale smell."

Messy Model Home Sells

Even in this soggy economy, six of the eight available homes in the English development (worth $435,000 to $535,000) were snapped up within a month--including the model home itself. Some of the items in the room, such as the pair of dirty sneakers by the closet door, were brought in by people who worked in the office at the development.

This simple approach is bad news for Home Staging and HGTV's The Stagers, which are devoted to teaching sellers and agents how to make their places look as perfect as possible. To them, buyers fall in love with idealism, and they strive to make rooms look as much like a furniture catalog photograph as possible. For all that, look where home sales are.