Are show-houses a thing of the past?

Estate agents are divided on the topic of show houses. Some believe that show days are still the number one way to successfully market a property, while 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 Dieter Harck of RE/MAX One Hundred.

'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. 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 notes 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% 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.

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