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Tuesday May 15, 2012

'No replacement for property show day'

Those house sellers who have kept abreast of what is happening in the residential property marketing sector learned to place great faith in the effectiveness of online platforms and to prefer agencies which are technologically up to date.

At Rawsons it has now been estimated that in middle to upper income bracket over 60% of buyers are using their PCs, laptops, iPads and Smartphones to scout for properties, says Tony Clarke, managing director of Rawson Properties.

Information technology, says Clarke, has been shown to save time and effort for both the buyer and the estate agent.

But, he adds, show houses are still an absolutely vital part of any effective house selling campaign and anyone querying their validity and hoping to "do the job" purely by means of IT is making a radical mistake.

"A recent Las Vegas survey has shown that homes put on show have a 17% better chance of selling within 70 days than those only advertised in the media."

"Home sellers," said Clarke, "understandably dislike putting in the extra effort to have their home and garden spick and span for a show day. They also dislike having to move the whole family (possibly even the pets) out for four or five hours - and they tend to be particularly upset if they then learn that only a few visitors turned up (some of whom were simply their inquisitive neighbours)."

Sometimes, said Clarke, sellers will allege that the show house has benefitted the agent far more than themselves because he will pick up useful new potential clients and possibly even leads on other properties - but the fact that people do turn up on show days shows clearly that show houses attract buyers and he is are convinced that homes put on view not only sell faster but also achieve better prices. In many cases the obvious interest of other buyers will spur the enquirer to take action.

"No one aspect of marketing can stand alone - it is an holistic exercise - but show houses are probably the most important part of it," said Clarke.

From a buyer's viewpoint, show house days are the right way to go, he added.

Most buyers prefer viewing homes on a Sunday rather than a weeknight.

"Any sensitive person dislikes arriving at a home on a workday between close of work and suppertime. He may be embarrassed to be there and feel obliged to rush the viewing. However, on a show day, the visitor can not only take his time, he can, in the absence of the owner, ask those awkward questions and point out defects which he would probably not mention if the owner was present. At a show house, too, a visitor can also bring other family members with him - and sometimes it is the kids' enthusiasm for a place that really clinches the deal. In our experience, potential buyers will often devote a whole afternoon to seeing as many as eight or nine houses. This puts them in the right frame of mind to buy."

Sellers, said Clarke, have to accept that show house days have six fundamental advantages:

  • they achieve greater real time exposure in a single day than is possible by other methods;

  • they save the owner the onerous task of repeatedly cleaning up for potential buyers' visits, some arriving at awkward times;

  • they allow the visitor to return again on the same day for a "rethink" visit;

  • they cost the seller nothing in advertising - this expenditure is borne by the agency;

  • they promote competition among potential buyers; and

  • they generate a relaxed, even jovial but focussed atmosphere in which attitudes can alter radically.

    Quite often, says Clarke, an owner will try to persuade the agent to defer putting the house on show for two or three months, relying initially on simple advertising and appointment visits.

    This, he said, is a poor tactic because it can all too easily give the impression that the owners, having marketed the home conventionally, has failed and is desperate. This, in turn, will lead to a negative buying mindset and low offers.

    "Put your home on show as soon as possible after signing a mandate," said Clarke, "and take heart, FNB and our figures show greatly increased buying confidence this year."

    Rawson Properties Press Release

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