It’s the stuff of reality TV shows like Sleep On It and Date My House: to get a good feel for the property they’re thinking of acquiring, prospective homebuyers spend the night in the home. While it certainly is an unorthodox selling approach, some home sellers – especially those offering luxury dwellings – do opt to let potential buyers spend the night.
This is also increasingly becoming an option in planned communities like retirement villages. One US-based realtor focusing on selling properties in a 55-plus community has even said that this unusual selling tactic saw a third of people taking advantage of extended showings ultimately buying a property in the community – this is a selling rate that is three times higher than that of people who attended traditional open houses in the same area.
The property market is ever changing and, at any given time, the market could favour either buyers or sellers. When the market tilts to the benefit of sellers, they might be unwilling to heed requests that could help to push the deal through, as it is then typically easier to fetch a price that matches or is close to the price that is being asked for the property.
However, in a buyer’s market, sellers have to revert to unusual measures to help with a quicker sale. The more days a property spends on market, the more difficult it could ultimately be to sell – even more so when the property that is being sold is more luxurious and, as such, more expensive.
If you are worried about selling your home in a timely fashion, and want to employ alternative techniques to appeal to potential buyers, here is what you should know about so-called “extended showings”, or what is commonly known as a sleepover showing.
Why sellers should consider sleepover showings
Buyers that request them have good reason to be interested in sleepover showings. For one, spending an extended period of time on the property gives sellers a chance to test all the amenities and appliances. Spending an evening in a house that they are thinking of buying also lets potential buyers get a feel for the neighbourhood, including gauging the distance to stores, restaurants, parks, schools, and their place of work. If sleep disruptions like road noise or rowdy neighbours is a concern for buyers, spending the night could help to put these fears to bed.
In short, there is a lot that homebuyers can gain from an extended showing, as opposed to a quick view of the property at a normal open house. Of course, homebuyers can get a lot of the same information by going to see the property or visiting the suburb at different times of the day, but this requires a fair amount of time and effort on the buyer’s behalf.
Especially in the luxury real estate market where buyers are often not based in Australia, or are currently living in another state in the country, a request for an extended showing is not unreasonable. Seeing as they can get a good idea of the true surroundings, the neighbours, the amenities and their commute by staying over, allowing a sleepover showing for serious buyers could reap fruits, chiefly in a buyer’s market.
Disadvantages of a sleepover showing
Of course, an extended showing isn’t without its disadvantages. As far as the seller is concerned, a sleepover showing negates that the home be even more spotless than it would be at a traditional open house, and valuable or sentimental belongings need to be stashed away. In addition, home sellers will have to find alternative accommodation if the property is also their primary residence.
Furthermore, this extraordinary arrangement requires some extraordinary measures, including drawing up a short-term contract and having prospective buyers sign a waiver in order to shield you from legal liabilities. Also check that your home insurance is in order, just in case.
Also, while this decision could be financially beneficial in the end, it definitely doesn’t guarantee a sure sale. And just as an extended stay can highlight the good points of the property, it can also put a spotlight on those aspects of the property that are in need of attention. Buyers can use this information to negotiate a lower price. This is why your house should be in absolute mint condition if this is a marketing approach that you are considering.
This is why sleepover showings shouldn’t be something you allow for anyone that requests it, but should rather be reserved for serious buyers who have valid reasons for wanting to spend 24 hours in the home. These buyers should also be pre-screened to ensure that they have the financial means to buy the property, and have been pre-approved for a home loan.
Remember that every day a prospective buyer spends in your house is another day that it is on the market. If properties spend too much time on market, they could easily go stale, and might even have to be relisted. Only consider extended showings for buyers that need a final nudge, not for buyers who seem unsure of what it is they want.
How do you make a sleepover showing work in your favour?
Another way to sift the chaff from the wheat is to charge a small fee to the buyer that wants to spend the night. This is not an unreasonable request on the seller’s behalf. If you are in doubt as to what you should ask, consult the Airbnb listings in the neighbourhood to get an idea of what a fair price is, and keep in mind that it should, at the very least, cover your own overnight accommodation costs at a hotel, guesthouse or Airbnb.
You may also ask buyers to pay a small deposit to cover any potential damage to the property. You’ll know you’re working with a serious buyer if they agree to your terms and conditions. In this regard, you might want to speak to a lawyer to help you draw up a short-term contract and clarify all the legal risks of such a decision for you. Ask your real estate agent about good property lawyers in your city or suburb.
Sleepover showings certainly shouldn’t be open to the general public, but should only be allowed in specific instances where buyers have specific concerns that may only be allayed by staying over at the property. Buyers should be in good financial standing and willing to abide to your own requirements.
Sleepover showings are not common practice, but could greatly benefit the home seller in specific circumstances. If the market is not in their favour, sellers have to think of creative ways to market and sell their property. The extended showing is one example of a different selling approach that could be very beneficial – most notably to owners that are selling luxury properties.
Allowing a sleepover showing does come with a fair bit of red tape, though, including short-term contracts, waivers, deposits, having to organise alternative accommodation for the duration of the buyer’s stay, and making sure the property is clean and in perfect condition.
Ensuring that the home is without faults is very important, because just as a sleepover showings lets potential buyers see the very best parts of the property, it also lets them see those parts of the property that need work, which could, in turn, be used as a bargaining chip to drive the price of the property down.
Despite all the admin, sleepover showings can be that last nudge that interested buyers need to see a sale through, especially when market conditions are tough or the price of the property is high.
A qualified and experienced real estate agent is always the best partner you can have on your selling journey, but perhaps this is even more true when you start using alternative marketing and selling techniques. The gurus of the property market are always on top of real estate trends from across the globe, and can provide advice that could later prove invaluable. Considering a sleepover showing to shift your luxury property? Perfect Agent has a list of recommended agents that will suit your every need. Contact us today!