Based on the demeanor of some of the folks that come to open houses, I’m guessing not much. I don’t have scientific, empirical data to back me up on this, but I get the feeling that some folks rank walking into an open house right up there with walking the plank or something. I see a lot of shallow breathing and hear the “you go in first…no YOU go in first” at the front door.
This will not apply to everyone. Some folks have no issue with this at all. If you, however, are the one that is parked in front of the house mentally debating whether or not you want to go in and talk with the agent, kissing your family goodbye…this post is for you.
So in the spirit of Halloween, let’s spend some time addressing the potentially frightening phenomenon…the Open House.
First of all, the open house is about the house. This is an opportunity for potential buyers to stop by and take a look at a home they are interested in, get more information about the property, get their questions answered, etc. As agents, we are glad that you took the time to visit the property.
I loved to visit open houses before I became a realtor, but I do remember that, once inside, the situation might vary between relaxed and informative to complete and total inundation of “sign my guest list…How long have you been looking?… Do you have a buyer’s agent?…You get the idea.
Realtors are a friendly bunch and working well with the public is a must have trait. Visitors to open houses are potential leads for us and we would love to assist with your home purchase so you might get a question or two about what brings you there, are you working with anyone, etc. Most Open House visitors, however, are there because they want to look at the home, not answer 20 questions with the agent about their home search status.
It is at this point where an open house can be a good experience or one that will perpetuate the scary myth. If you feel that your visit is becoming more about you than you have comfort with, simply take a business card, let the agent know that your intent is to tour the home, but you will contact them if you need them. Done. No reason to say you have a buyer’s agent when you don’t, no reason to scribble a fake phone number on a guest list.
Remember, an open house is a wonderful way to “interview” potential real estate agents. There are some clues that open house visitors can garner from the agent on duty that give some insight into whether they are a good match for you.
#1 — How prepared are they for the open house? Were you waiting on them to drive up and open up the home?
#2 — How well do they know the neighborhood? Do they have information available on recent sales, how long were these on the market, what other homes are for sale in this area and how do you get to them? Do they know if any of those open today?
#3 — Are they able to answer reasonable questions about the home that is being held open?
If you are noticing that they are on top of their game with plenty of information and have anticipated questions by bringing the necessary documentation, this is a great sign. This is going to give you a pretty good preview of how they will be with paperwork, contracts, deadlines, etc.
Even if you are a neighbor and just want to check out the house, speak to the agent and observe how they handle themselves, how they are marketing the property. You might just decide to hang on to their business card and give them a ring when it is time for you to sell.
As always, Happy house hunting and I hope you have a fun and safe Halloween.
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