May 20th, 2020

When the government announced that show homes and marketing suites could re-open and estate agents could arrange viewings again, there was a frisson of excitement around the office on behalf of the growing number of residential developer clients we advise.

Following the initial ‘yey’, and a chat with one of the appointed selling agents I work closely with, the logistics of reopening led to a load of questions and what ifs to think about.

Clearly, there is the whole social distancing matter to consider and ensuring it can be observed, that one seems straight forward. That is, access to the marketing suite and show home viewings will be by appointment only; only two people at a time can be in the show home, bucket loads of hand sanitizer can be made available on entrance to the marketing suite with signage clearly marking out where it can be found along with the face masks, if they are to be provided by the developer. 

Meanwhile, stickers on the floor of the marketing suite will let visitors know exactly where to stand etc., etc.

The experience

The question is, what happens once inside the home?

When we buy something, it should be an experience, preferably a positive one. The more enjoyable the experience, the better we feel and the more loyal we are to the brand. Have a bad experience and that’s it, you wouldn’t want to go back to the shop/buy the product again. You get my drift?

As someone who loves to visit a show home, after the initial oohs and ahhs, on entering said property I head for the kitchen and it is here where I could be in trouble. You see, while admiring the wonderful up-specified kitchen units I find myself subconsciously stroking the work tops thinking would I have it that colour?

Then, even though I know there is nothing to see in the cupboards, for some reason, I still feel the need to open all the doors, just to confirm there’s nothing in them, and yes, I’m correct, they’re empty – unless of course I’ve opened up the integral fridge freezer and find that’s where the left-over fizz from the grand show home opening can be found.

Heading upstairs, not every room has wardrobes but in the ones that do, well, I can’t help looking inside those too, just to be sure I’d get all my clothes in if ever I was to buy a shiny new home.

Can you see where I’m going with this….. my hands are all over the place. Whilst they will have been sanitised multiple times hopefully, I wouldn’t leave any nasty bugs on any of the surfaces. But what if I’d sneezed or coughed and not had the presence of mind to do it into the crook of my arm? Will the anti-bac cleaner be on hand for me to deftly wipe things down or will the sales adviser have a Hazmat suit to wear so that they can clean the property properly between appointments? I doubt it. So, this does worry me a little for the sake of their safety and mine. After all – precautions must be taken.

However the upshot of such a sanitised visit  for me,  a tactile person, is that because, I can’t feel things without wearing latex gloves, and my glasses will have steamed up from wearing a face mask, I won’t get my usual enjoyable ‘experience’ of show home shopping and, daft though it sounds, I may not ‘connect’ with the house therefore the buying signals may not be as strong. 

I really do hope the developers and their sales advisers can reopen safely and in return, after all the effort their interior designers have gone to, creating amazing show homes, that it will come some way towards making up for the ‘drop’ in experience for the touchy feely buyers, who book an appointment to view!