Designer Home Tending

June 13, 2009 11:36:59 PM PDT
Gina Blair lives alone in this enormous house with a view of snow-capped peaks outside Salt Lake City. Its 5500 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 4 baths. Gina Blair, Home Tender said, "Oh it's phenomenal. I've never lived in a home this big in my life. She lives in this foreclosed house to fill it with furniture, make it look lived in, and to help it sell."

She is, in the world of distressed real estate, what's called a home tender. She pays just $650 a month, pretty cheap. Her boss, if you want to call her that, is Cathy Cardenas, who has a fast- growing business filling empty homes with home tenders

Cathy Cardenas, Designer Home Tending said, "Oh, because of security, you hear in the news all the time these homes are getting broken into, they are getting copper ripped out of the walls, appliances are being stolen."

Up the road David Hill lives with his wife and three kids. He's been laid off, and she's a teacher, but they live in the luxury of 9 bedrooms and 7 baths, $500 a month.

David Hill, Home Tender said, "No pets, no smoking, which we've already talked about."

Mary Heineke, Quality First Home Marketing said, "We're in a vacant home right now, it's echoing, it's cold. Home tending may even help the recovery."

Back up there in Salt Lake, Gina Blair is spending money on a house that would otherwise be a dead spot in the local economy.

Gina Blair, Home Tender said, "So my being here kind of sets off a domino effect. Now I'm paying bills here, watering the lawn here, I've got landscapers coming here. I've got furniture that I'm buying and so that's helping the economy just in little bursts here and there." And it's not bad work, if you can get it.

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