From the New York Times:
FORTY miles north of Los Angeles, in an area where hundreds of homes are cropping up among the brushy, treeless hills, several dozens buyers recently found an odd spectacle in a new housing development.
To visitors, at first glance, it was like walking into a domestic scene starring Colin Farrell and Cameron Diaz.
As shoppers stepped through the front door of the largest model home, a barefoot affable man in his 30’s shouted hello from the kitchen and offered juice to the buyers’ children. His “wife” â€” slim, blonde and agreeable â€” pressed them to try some fresh-baked cookies. Their “children,” 12 and 14, offered to show the visitors their rooms. A birthday card was propped on the mantel, and a chocolate layer cake with blown-out candles sat on the speckled granite countertop.
In truth, this cheerful family of four was a group of professional actors â€” paid to show buyers how life could be in the house, which is one of 166 units planned by Centex Homes of Dallas.
Actually, I don’t hate the idea. As the article explains, only one of four model units had a “family” in it. I think it might be kind of a funny thing, that might help some buyers imagine how their family would fit into the home. I think there is very little downside (it probably doesn’t really creep people out, and it’s probably kind of humorous, to most people).
More: Model Homes and Model “Families” – By Rebecca Fairley Raney, The New York Times