The Mueller family have a unique living arrangement – they are, in fact, part of an ‘elite’ group of middle-class nomads who have agreed to a very peculiar lease agreement. They get to live in for-sale luxury homes at dirt cheap prices, but of course, there’s a catch – the house must always be in squeaky clean, in case it gets bought, and they have to be ready to move out immediately.
So while the Muellers get to enjoy the very best of houses, they need to keep things meticulously clean and maintain a precisely pleasant temperature. The mirrors have to be crystal clear at all times, and the bed needs to look like it’s never been slept in. They need special approval if they want to have more than 10 people over. When a prospective buyer wants to view the house, the family needs to disappear. And when the property is sold, they’ve got to pack and move to the next luxury destination.
It seems like a bizarre way to live, but there’s a very specific reason for it – according to real estate companies, houses sell better when they’re being lived in. Families like the Muellers lend an unmistakable energy to an otherwise empty home. The effect of their presence is so great that home-staging firms say they’re able to sell homes faster and for more money. The Muellers pay the firm about $1,200 for rent and household bills, and the firm reimburses costs every time they need to move.