Advice and Opinion

Show houses are still the best way to sell a home, says Rawson Property Group

With property buyers becoming increasingly active online, often relying almost solely on web listings to pick and choose houses to view, sellers may start questioning whether the effort of a show house day is actually worth their while.

It does seem like a slightly old-fashioned concept for the digital age, after all. Industry experts hold a slightly different opinion, however, and almost all agree that a show day is still the best way to sell a home quickly – ironically because of a very modern concept: FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

“We see a lot of sellers who are wary of opening up their homes to strangers on a show day,” says Tony Clarke, Managing Director for the Rawson Property Group. “The perception seems to be that successful online marketing replaces the need for a show house these days, but in reality the two play very different roles in a sale.”

According to Clarke, online platforms excel at helping buyers narrow down their options and get a broader understanding of the market they plan to buy into. “A good online listing is absolutely vital,” he says, “and can generate a huge amount of interest in a property. It just can’t compare to a real-life show house when it comes to conveying the details that make up that all-important x-factor, and it won’t create the same sense of urgency or competition between potential buyers.”

Clarke explains that it’s this sense of immediacy that sets a show house day apart from private viewings, where buyers make an appointment with the agent to visit a property on their own. “On a show day, buyers literally come face-to-face with their competition – other people who appear to be showing an interest in the same home. It creates a kind of nagging fear that if they don’t act fast and put in the best offer they can, they may lose out to someone else who was quicker off the draw.”

The proportion of sales generated by show house days compared to private viewings supports Clarke’s FOMO theory, but sellers can still be difficult to convince. When asked why this is, Clarke reveals the two main concerns that crop up again and again: the hassle of staging a home and vacating the premises, and the fear of crime.

“Holding a show house can be a bit of an inconvenience to home-owners,” Clarke admits, “especially if you have kids and pets that need to be taken with you when you leave for the afternoon. When you compare the effort required to keep your home pristine at all times in case of private viewings, however, a Sunday show house doesn’t seem like quite so much work anymore. Especially considering some show houses at the moment are selling within hours of opening their doors,” he adds.

Security is a more difficult concern to assuage, but, according to Clarke, a good agent can do a lot to minimise the risk posed to the household. “Your agent should take down the details of every visitor to your home, and guide them personally around the property to highlight its features as well as deter any ‘sticky fingers’,” he says. “Of course, on extremely busy days, your agent might not be able to keep an eye on everyone at the same time,” he admits, “so it’s important to lock away any valuables and keep tempting knick-knacks and sets of keys away from prying eyes.”

As a worst-case back-up plan, Clarke also recommends ensuring your household contents insurance is up to date before showing your house. “Generally, the worst we see on show house days is minor petty theft,” he says, “but it’s always better to have your ducks in a row just in case.”

Inconveniences aside, nothing compares to a show house day for creating the right kind of momentum to sell a home. To set your mind at ease, chat to your estate agent about other ways to maintain your home’s security and minimise your hassle, and take advantage of that show day FOMO to get great offers in record time.