The South African buyer has been conditioned to look for houses to buy via the Sunday show houses (aka open houses or show days).
For as long as they can remember, this process started on the Saturday before when the property section of the weekend newspaper listed the following day’s show houses details, home buyers cut out the interesting bits and went on their quest the following day.
Besides the home buyers appetite for these show houses, here are a number of reasons why the sellers like show houses:
#1 — Convenience…
Through the use of Sunday show houses, a lot more people are able to see the house in a much shorter period.
The buyers are able to discuss the property in a more uninhibited way when the house is on show, as the seller won’t be within earshot.
#2 — Platform of competition…
With buyers are visiting the property over a short period of hours, rather than days or weeks, a platform of competition can develop between interested parties.
This then creates a fear of loss and is more likely to result in offers being prepared on the day itself, than if buyers were to trickle through one-by-one during the week.
#3 — Access to experts…
On Sundays, the interested buyers have access to their ‘experts’ (ie family members, builders, architects, financial planners etc).
During the week, they would need to make multiple appointments to get everyone involved to the property, thereby losing the momentum that is created by a Sunday show house.
#4 — Proper preparation…
Besides the fact that the show house can be ‘staged’ to look at its best (ie minor painting job, garden prepared, house itself neat and tidy, flowers in the house, smell of coffee brewing etc), the inconvenience of preparing a house at awkward hours, several times during the week is avoided by organizing the Sunday show house.
Definitely something a lot of home sellers are happy about!
#5 — Untapped target market…
Through a Sunday show house, the neighbors, friends and relatives become aware that the property is for sale. They then spread the word amongst their respective friends and relatives who might live on the other side town/country.
This is a target market that standard advertising might not reach and gives the property extra (unexpected) exposure!
#6 — Making comparisons…
It’s much easier for buyers to make property comparisons when a number of houses are accessible around the same time (most of the time on Sunday between 2-5 pm).
Having comparable properties available in short order might result in a short list being drawn up much quicker. And if a particular property isn’t on show that day, it is more difficult to ensure that the house will be part of the final choice.
The faster the seller’s property is on that list, the faster offers are likely to come through.
Now, let’s not lose touch with the underlying reality: real estate agents have a lot more to gain by holding these show houses than the actual sellers.
After all, all these show houses bring in more business: interested buyers who drive around in the area, visit the show house, realize that the asking price is out of their budget and the agent will provide them with other listings that might be of interest.
Or, neighboring sellers see the ‘For Sale’ and ‘On Show’ boards in the area, week-after-week, perceive that the show house agent is very prominent in the neighborhood (regardless whether there’s actually been a single person at the show house all day), and stop by the show house to request for a valuation, or even better, ask the agent to sell their property!
Bottom line: is an open house necessary to sell a property? Not at all – but that’s a discussion for another article.
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