Any interior designer will tell you that properly staging a model home is about more than just furniture and accessories. It entails setting a scene in each room with carefully designed lighting, entertainment options, and comfortable temperature settings to welcome and inspire customers as they enter each space.

This means that each day, salespeople must walk through a model and turn on the lights, TV’s, and music and adjust thermostats one by one in the morning and then do another sweep of the house in the evening to turn everything off. The sequence is time consuming and can be costly when a salesperson forgets to turn something off, but a Delaware builder has found a way to streamline the process.

With 15 model homes across the state, Rehoboth Beach, Del.-based Schell Brothers needed a simple and efficient system that would allow sales staff to waste less time managing properties and spend more time servicing clients. The builder called on its primary AV partner, Rehoboth Beach-based Home Innovations, to come up with a solution.

Nick Mitchell, Home Innovations’ vice president of operations, selected a system from manufacturer Clare Controls that not only provides a consistent, reliable solution for the model homes, but also significantly reduces utility costs. He created “scenes” controlled via iPad to allow the Schell team to turn the whole house lighting and entertainment systems on and off with the touch of a button.

To make the process of opening and closing model homes foolproof, he set the system to turn each model on automatically at 10 a.m. and turn off at 5 p.m. Now, when salespeople enter a home, they can focus on their work and not have to worry about programming the house because everything powers on and switches to the appropriate settings automatically, says Mitchell.

“The Schell Brothers team loves the new system,” he says. “It used to take them 20 to 30 minutes to get a house up-and-running. Now they can focus on selling homes instead of figuring out the technology.”