I have a friend that is looking to buy her first home, and she asked me to join in on a day of visiting open houses. I knew this issue was coming up, and I just love to see what the city has to offer, so I agreed to help.We squished in about three listings in an hour, and boy, was I surprised by some of the things that we saw.
The first open house we ventured into was great. Realtor 1 welcomed us in and helped with our questions without actually following us around everywhere. She clearly knew the building and the unit inside and out, but unfortunately, the condo wasn’t exactly right for my friend. Realtor 1 let us know she had a couple of other listings that might be perfect, and we took her card. Also, Realtor 1 took down my friend’s full information, and indeed followed up with her the following week – this is how an open house should go!
At our second stop, the open house was scheduled from 1-3 and we arrived at 1:15. There were no signs and the unit was locked. We pressed on and headed over to what was supposed to be our third stop for the day, and this was where the fun began. Realtor 2 emerged from the unit in his bare feet, and escorted us around the condo as the owner’s cat followed our every move. My friend is allergic to cats, and she sneezed her way through the tour. There was a definite cat aroma, and we probably wouldn’t have noticed had the cat not been present. If you are having an open house, try to remove all pets. It’s two hours on a Sunday, your client can take the cat/dog out somewhere or drop it off at a friend’s place — it’ll be worth the trouble. Realtor 2 did an OK job of showing us around, but it was distracting to see a balcony when a barefoot Realtor has to chase after a cat that clearly wants to escape. Overall, the presentation of the unit needed help, and we left with no intention of returning. We were not asked to sign in anywhere.
We swung by the unit that wasn’t open earlier just in case, and lo and behold Realtor 3 was just running into the building carrying a sign and out of breath. Yes, it was raining and I’m sure there was traffic, but he almost lost a potential buyer because we could’ve gone to lunch without checking back. After Realtor 3 learned that my friend already had a buyer’s agent, he was done with us. He was showing the condo for a friend, and knew nothing about the unit. We did, however, hear a lot about his brilliant son.
There are certain aspects of open houses that seem pretty basic: make sure the unit is presentable, be on time, know everything about the property and wear shoes. Somehow, two of the three Realtors we met managed to skip a few of the important steps. You’re not going to get a sale at the end of every open house, and maybe you’ll never sell a home through an open house, but you might as well try your best at every single one! In our cover story, our open house experts cover the basics of what needs to be done, as well as offer some hints and tips to make your open house worthwhile. Even if your open house doesn’t lead to a sale, it could at least lead to a new client, new networking opportunities or even a mention in CA magazine. That first agent that did a great job: Karen Fata from @properties. Congrats on a job well done!