Malcolm Nicholl and his wife Sandy aren’t quite ready to settle down yet—even if they are in their 60s. As big travelers, the Nicholls will sometimes spend six months at their family home in the United Kingdom, then hop over to Florence for a few months. While their wanderlust is still going strong, the pair recently came back to San Diego to put down a root or two. But not too many.
The couple isn’t new to the area. Before deciding to travel all over the world, they lived in a multi-million dollar home in Rancho Cucamonga. As a journalist, Malcolm Nicholl was once the youngest Bureau Chief at the London Mirror and later worked for the National Enquirer. Nicholl says he “accidentally” became an entrepreneur, though he did very well for himself, helping launch $50 million companies. These days, he and Sandy run their business out of their home, and he’s able to focus on his first love, writing, by namelessly inking books for celebrities, business executives, academics, and doctors, people he says have a story to tell but can’t write themselves.
In August 2018, Nicholl signed on as a Home Manager with Showhomes, a franchise dedicated to transforming high-end vacant houses into fully furnished, inviting homes. The couple adds human value to the residences by giving that lived-in, genuine warmth that is important for buyers to feel as they’re shopping for their next home.
Nicholl says he’s able to live a luxury lifestyle in homes that are beautifully staged and furnished by Showhomes. Since he and Sandy both work from home and still want to travel, they have a lot of flexibility. The first home they moved into was a $3.4 million home in the Santaluz neighborhood, which sold quickly. Next, they found themselves just four blocks from the ocean in La Jolla. “We have the freedom of being college-aged, but at our age,” said Nicholl, adding that they were looking forward to a trip to Mexico the next week.
As a former owner of a multi-million dollar home himself, Nicholl says that he is a true believer in the approach Showhomes takes to hiring executives as Home Managers. “It’s a great approach from a security point of view. The Home Managers add a deeper layer to the staging of the home,” he said.
Showhomes Home Managers pay a highly reduced fee to inhabit the high-end digs—one third to half the price of rent, depending on the market. They also undergo rigorous vetting, including a complete background check, must be petless nonsmokers and be flexible to showings and moving several times per year. In the end, the company only approves around 10 percent of candidates.
Showhomes COO Matt Kelton said that Home Managers are a key component of the franchise’s success. “A vacant property can create low ball offers with the thinking that the owner is desperate to sell,” said Kelton.
Home Managers like Nicholl provide major monetary benefits for sellers, too. They pay for some holding expenses such as water and electricity and save the owner a ton on insurance. “A vacant home can cause the owner’s general liability insurance to skyrocket—or even be canceled,” said Kelton. “At the end of the day, we have a long track record of helping homes sell faster—and for more money—while providing peace of mind to the homeowner.”