04 Jul 2013
Show houses are still a part of the residential house sales landscape, although in major urban areas crime is a concern for agents while in smaller towns show houses are still very much part of the sales process.
This is according to David Shevil, marketing and brand manager of the Just Property Group, who says in Durban police recently arrested a couple, smartly dressed and posing as husband and supposedly pregnant wife, who visited several show houses and made off with jewellery and small electronic equipment, concealing the stolen goods in her false stomach.
He says other concerns are for the safety of the agents, who are often women sitting alone for several hours at show days. They also provide an opportunity for criminals to inspect properties at their leisure, making a note of security arrangements, the location of valuables and ways to gain access to the house.
Just Property’s individual franchises around the country have different ways of dealing with the threat of crime. In Midrand, there is a network of agents who share information about suspicious property seekers visiting show houses, although there have not been any incidents there for some years. Others take precautions by making sure there are at least two agents at each show house and ensuring that no valuables are in plain sight.
In many areas of the country though, it is business as usual, with show houses being arranged on a regular basis, sometimes even if the agency does not have a sole mandate.
Andrea Stevens, a Just Property agent in Port Elizabeth, makes sure their agency has at least two show days a month.
She says they believe you have to do show houses to get leads, to advertise the company and to be seen in the public eye as an active agent. Sometimes only one person will come to a show day but if you are a good agent you can still work with this one client by offering them great service which will result in more leads, she says.
This view is echoed by other Just Property agents around the country who value the opportunity to meet buyers in the market at show days and keep their details on record.
In coastal and resort towns, agents find that a large percentage of the people who attend show houses are curious neighbours or holidaymakers who are browsing for their own interest rather than actively looking for a house to buy. However, they still feel that the show days are worthwhile for the small number of sales they do generate.
Shaun du Bois, a Just Property agent in Pietermaritzburg, says sometimes it takes only one show day to get a buyer, whereas for others they can do up to three or four until they sell.
He says many of their enquiries and buyers come from the internet at the moment and show houses are responsible for 40 percent of their sales, with 60 percent generated by enquiries off the web.
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