Show Days Sell Homes

Debbie Justus-Ferns, divisional manager of Renprop Residential Resales, points out why show days sell homes, and gives pointers on how sellers can protect their possessions from sticky fingers.

Time and time again, show days have proven to be an exceptional marketing tool, says Debbie Justus-Ferns, divisional manager of Renprop Residential Resales. “They provide a tactile experience for potential buyers, who are able to physically walk through the property and see its features in person, rather than just looking at a marketing brochure or images of the home online. A personal visit to a property strongly influences the buyer’s decision as to whether or not they would like to purchase the home.”

Added to this, Justus-Ferns points out that show days also indicate to the buying public that the seller is serious and not just testing the market. “Show days also create a sense of urgency and fear of loss among interested buyers, who don’t want to be outbid or lose the home because they didn’t get their offer in fast enough. This is particularly relevant in today’s market where many areas are experiencing limited stock availability that is unable to keep up with demand from the buyer pool.”

She cites a recent example of a property Renprop Residential had on show in Melrose Arch recently. “Approximately 25 people attended the show day, and two offers for the full asking price were received on the same day as the show house.”

This kind of success also points to a good pricing strategy, as Justus-Ferns explains that only well-priced homes will be able to achieve excellent show day attendance. The average attendance at a show day would be between 12 and 15 people. “Well-priced homes will also typically sell within three show days at the most,” she says.

Many Johannesburg-based property buyers also know that show days are generally held on a Sunday afternoon, and so often drive around areas they are interested in looking for homes on show which they can view. “Homes for sale that are not on show may miss out on opportunities to attract the right buyer.”

But despite the undoubted marketing success that show days offer to the property sales process, many sellers are still wary of opening up their homes to complete strangers. Added to this, there have been incidents where homeowner’s personal items have disappeared from show days.

Justus-Ferns says that unfortunately some people have sticky fingers and if there is a good attendance at a show day, it can be difficult for an agent to personally escort each potential buyer through the property. “But,” she says, “there are ways in which homeowners can protect themselves from theft when they have an open house.”

The most obvious thing would be to pack away all valuables and easily lifted personal items. “While it may seem apparent, many homeowners leave valuable items lying around when their house is on show, which just acts as a temptation for some unscrupulous show day visitors. Homeowners should lock jewellery and other loose items away in a safe if possible. Cupboards should also be kept locked where possible, and if they are not lockable, all valuables should be hidden from sight if the doors are opened by curious buyers,” says Justus-Ferns.

She also says homeowners shouldn’t leave any keys lying around or hanging on key racks and should rather pack away anything that isn’t vital to showing off the main features of the home, such as knick knacks and ornaments.

Another important consideration for homeowners who are opening up their homes for a show day is to ensure that their household contents insurance is in place and up to date. “This way, should anything go missing the homeowner will at least be covered and can replace the item,” says Justus-Ferns.

For safety it would also be good for the agent on duty at the show day to be given all the emergency contact details of the armed response company or estate security, as well as a panic button if the homeowner has an alarm system set up with one.

“While all this safety and security talk around show days may make some sellers think again before deciding to hold one, it cannot be emphasised enough that they really are worth the effort of cleaning up and leaving the premises for the day. In this day and age, preparation around the safety and security aspects when opening up a home to the general public is par for the course,” Justus-Ferns concludes.

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