To show or not to show your property

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07 Aug 2013

In today’s fast moving, tech-savvy property market, many real estate professionals feel that show days are just not as effective as they once were, says Dieter Harck, broker/owner of RE/MAX One Hundred, in Fourways Johannesburg.

Show days can also save both the agent and seller time as a number of potential buyers can view the property within the same day.

He notes that while the topic is rather controversial with some agents adamant that show days are still the number one way to successfully market a property, others feel that the success rate of show days has been marginal and the security risks are just too great.

“There are definitely positive and negative aspects to having a show day,” says Harck.

Some advantages to having a show day are visibility and accessibility. Show days can also save both the agent and seller time as a number of potential buyers can view the property within the same day, he explains.

The fact is that irrespective of the brand or advertising, many buyers will visit a show house in order to see for themselves what it has to offer.

A show day also offers buyers the chance to interact with the agent and perhaps be put onto their database or make appointments to see other homes within their portfolio of stock.

Harck points out that sometimes a show day can be a less stressful option for the seller because the cleaning and tidying is only done once a week rather than numerous times to accommodate the potential multiple viewings in the course of the working week.

The seller is also not inconvenienced by constantly needing to be home at a certain time or wait to let in buyers who want to view the property.

On the flip side there are a few security risks, says Harck.

“In some cases it is easy for valuable items to be removed from the home, or the home might be cased for future robberies,” he says.

It can be a dangerous invitation for criminals to walk into a home undeterred, putting both the seller and agent at risk.

There is also the possibility that the people walking through the door are not serious buyers. Some people could merely be viewing homes for the entertainment value of it. 

With regard to the actual success rate of a show house, it is impossible to formulate an exact figure.  Every area has its own demographics and dynamics. 

Harck says that while some agents say that around 80 percent of the sales in their area are from buyers that viewed the property on a show day, others say that they have not sold a property through a show day in the last three years.

This points to the importance of using an agent that specialises in a particular area, as they will know which marketing methods work in that area and which don’t.

Other simple but effective methods of marketing a property are ‘For Sale’ boards, flyers at busy intersections and newspaper advertisements.

So with mixed opinions on show days and varied levels of their success, what are the alternatives?

Harck says that with the vast improvement in technology over the last decade and the fact that buyers have an enormous amount of property information at their finger-tips, the internet has become a very successful and safe method of marketing a property.

“Most buyers, if not all, have access to the internet either by computer or a smart device, and property search portals are generally well advertised and easy to use.”

Buyers appreciate how simply online resources have made the process of finding their perfect property and many of the best leads in real estate have been generated through online property search portals.

They can search for and compare homes in their own time and are generally serious buyers when they request an appointment. 

They also know what they are going to see, as opposed to house hunters on Sundays that are looking at any property regardless of their requirements and budget, says Harck.

Adrian Goslett, chief executive officer of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that in the past, few would have believed that the internet would be the first place potential buyers would look to find their dream home and yet, today, nine out of 10 consumers use property search portals as the first step towards homeownership.

Harck says that other simple but effective methods of marketing a property are ‘For Sale’ boards, flyers at busy intersections and newspaper advertisements.

He notes that many agents have also embraced the marketing power of social media networks to enhance their connectivity to buyers in the market.

“Irrespective of the method used to sell a home, it is vital that sellers use a reputable agent that has working experience in their area.

“The right agent will find the right method to successfully sell the home for the best possible price and within a reasonable time frame,” adds Harck.

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