The Sunday morning set-up in the suburbs – the cars of real estate agents, branded with their agency stickers, parked at intervals besides grass verges. Cardboard arrows tied to lampposts, offering vague direction and enticement for those on the hunt for a house. Clusters of helium balloons marking out the entranceways to houses-for-sale. But with the advent of the internet, are open houses on a Sunday becoming a thing of the past?
Technology brings buyers closer
Finding houses in an area that appeals to the buyer has become many magnitudes easier, as has scouting the property, with videos and pictures able to give a good sense of what to expect in a house. From here, organising a private viewing is preferential for many prospective buyers to waiting until Sunday for an open viewing. Show days are used to draw in people from the street, but many buyers are more likely to search online beforehand. Are they redundant?
What are show days for?
Show days – open houses – give a large number of people a chance to view a house in person. Choosing to accept only private viewings will keep the pool of prospective buyers small. The great advantage of an open house is that it can, potentially, spark a bidding war for a property, pushing the price of the property up beyond initial expectations.
Showing too much ruins the imagination
But show days have their faults too. The risk of personal property being stolen is higher than usual – an agent cannot see all – and having too many open days can over-expose a property. The latter phenomenon is characterised by the illusion that a house isn’t worth what it is on the market for, because, in the buyers’ minds, if it hasn’t been taken off the market with so many people viewing it, there must be either something wrong with the property. The over-exposure illusion is just that – an illusion – but its effects are real, and can lead to difficulties in finding a buyer for a particular property.
Are show days for everyone?
Whether or not to have a show day requires a decision about whether the homeowner is comfortable with having strangers, many of whom will have no intention of putting in an offer in their residence.
It also requires a calculation that will give you a good indication as to whether there is a risk of over-exposure, or if, instead, the chance of a sale will be increased through a series of show days. You must ask a few questions: has the property been on the market for a long time, has there been an interest in the properties from the online listings, and how are similar homes in the area selling?
Do show days still have a place?
The advent of online interactive viewings of properties has not killed off the show day – if people are going to live in a place, they need to experience the space for themselves. The rise in private viewings – which can be a huge inconvenience to the current owners – can be mitigated by having a semi-open show day, which drives parties that have expressed interest in the property at the same time.
Putting a house on show for successive weeks might be fading away, but the show day can still be a powerful weapon in the arsenal of a real estate agent. When used in concert with online media and other tools, the show day can lead to a great sale.