Show houses are popular amongst developers. They are a great way of showcasing how your home will look like by adding aesthetics and furniture to appeal to potential buyers.
Some buyers not only want a house but want it to come fully furnished, saving them the trouble of lugging couches and beds up flights of stairs or huffing and puffing in the struggle to pass a dining table through a doorway.
This new demand has pushed developers to start selling partly and fully furnished apartments.
Cynthia Mwikali, a real estate agent with Chiriez Properties, says it is one of the marketing strategies real estate developers have adopted to market their properties in an increasingly tough market.
One of their projects in Kitengela, the Royal Finesse, comprises semi-detached houses that come with a fully equipped kitchen that is included in the price tag.
“This is our first phase with 10 units of semi-detached town houses with a fully furnished kitchen. We currently also have an offer where one can choose a room in the house for free furnishings— all at a price of Sh17 million,” says Ms Mwikali.
This mode of selling is particularly popular with developers seeking to sell several units due to the rising glut in apartments and town houses in Nairobi. They work with potential buyers to furnish the house according to the customer’s taste and preference.
“Staged units sell faster as buyers yearn for the total package,” says Ms Mwikali.
Research by Debra Gould, a home staging expert in the US, reveals that showing empty rooms is not a good marketing strategy.
One of the reasons she quoted in her website Six Elements Inc., is that people do not buy houses, but buy homes and that the empty spaces look lonely and do not give buyers the motivation to make an offer.
With empty spaces, it is hard to estimate how large a room is and people cannot visualise how furniture will fit in.
Currently most developers will furnish one or two rooms in the house, with the kitchen being the most preferred as the gadgets are easy to work with.
Furniture retailers are also cashing in on this trend by getting into partnerships with developers to furnish the show houses. If the buyers love the furniture in the house, they can decide to keep them or bring in new items.
Developers of holiday homes are the leaders in this model, throwing open doors to fully furnished homes and apartments.
Vipingo Ridge in Kilifi sells fully furnished holiday luxury villas that the owners can rent out, particularly to golfers.
Reality Plus, a real estate agent, has also adopted this strategy for their one-bedroom apartments that are going for Sh12.5 million.
On their website, the Urban Breeze, a one bedroom apartment comes with a fully equipped kitchen and home appliances such as an oven, hob, extractor, fridge, washing machine and drier.
An article in the Wall Street Journal in 2013 showed how the buy-it-all trend was popular, especially among international buyers who want turn-key properties where they can close a deal and sleep in their new home that night.
They want to move in without the hassles of moving and buying new home equipment, especially if it will be a holiday home or a condo where they will not spend a lot of time in the year.
Although this model is preferred by many, others see it as expensive and inconvenient.
However house agents say it is more beneficial to have a show house that is fully furnished as it increases the “charm” of the property.
Ms Mwikali says it is aesthetically appealing to have a furnished room that leaves a lasting impression on the buyers.
“When buying a home, women are the decision makers and we know that having a fully furnished kitchen is going to appeal to many as they can picture themselves in it,” says Ms Mwikali.