The Magic of Illusion Applies to Real Estate Showings Too

When a person hears the word “illusion,” often he/she will think of a magician amazing an audience with a magnificent optical masterpiece. The concept of illusions goes well beyond magic, however, overlapping into many fields including real estate. Here’s how…

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When you attend a Santa Fe open house, you might think the homeowners stepped out for a bit and will soon be returning into the obviously lived-in home. In real estate open houses – also known as showings – the appearance that a home is currently being lived in is often an illusion with a very specific purpose that I’ll get into in a second.

Like with theatrical stage productions, it’s important to stage an illusion that it is believable.

Have you ever been to a live theatrical play? You find your seat, get comfortable, and wait in anticipation for it to start. The lights dim, stage lights come on, and you are immediately transported into the scene. To you, the production is effortless. But behind the scenes everyone is running around in a flurry making sure that everything is executed just perfect. This includes stage hands, sound technicians, costume changes, movement of sets, lighting, etc. It’s important this is pulled off without a hitch to make an impact on the audience.

That brings us back to open houses and showings in Santa Fe. When showing a home, it is important that the person viewing the home can realistically see what it would be like to live there. Often, completely empty homes can leave a person feeling detached from the experience. It’s not easy for them to see themselves living there. While a home and its desirable features are all quite real, we want you to be able to see what it is really like to live there.

Often times museums or attractions trying to capture history will create a set that gives you a realistic idea of what it must have been like to have lived there. For example, sometimes Disneyland will display what Walt Disney’s office was like when he worked at Disneyland. To do this they had to recreate the office based on pictures and video. If they have actual items of Walt’s that were in the office, they use those. If not, they do their best to obtain furnishings that closely match. It is all set up then to give you a realistic illusion of what Walt Disney experienced on a daily basis.

Showings and open houses tend to be most successful if potential buyers have no trouble envisioning themselves living in the home. The prospective buyers viewing a home may or may not find that the home features, design, and spaces will accommodate their family’s needs—that’s not subject to illusion. A showing or open house, however, has the best chance for success if the “stage” (home) is clear of distracting elements. As such our job is to remove evidence of pets, family portraits, and personal mementos.

When you begin to appreciate the reasoning and work behind a showing’s illusion, you can then start to understand why most Realtors® advise against decor schemes which feature strong colors. And if the owner is still living in the home, it is also why we advise them to be away from the home during a showing. It’s not because the owner is objectionable, but rather because the presence of the owner can counteract the illusion.

Ironically, when you think about it, the “illusion” is really more of an “authentic projection:” it’s a mock-up of the reality when a potential homeowner decides to buy the home and become the owner.

Showings and open houses are important parts of a coordinated residential sales effort which begin with the first consultation all the way through closing day. I hope you will remember to call me when you decide it’s time to put your own Santa Fe property on the market!


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