Hello...hello??? Are you open today?
I walk out from the kitchen to see the woman cautiously peering through the door and say "Sure...Come on in! There IS an Open House sign out front and several more planted at various nearby intersections so it should be obvious. The woman opens the door further and steps in followed by a man who quickly darts into an adjacent room before I can begin to introduce myself and start some kind of conversation.
This was how it used to be!
What changed everything was the day a close friend repeated the title of this post "The sign said "OPEN HOUSE" but I felt like I was entering a Used Car Lot!What is worse is the fact that it was his home I was holding open that day! He went on to explain that though I was different in almost every way from his previous experiences with Realtors, Open House's always made him feel pressured. So here I am talking to a close friend who knows and trusts me and I realize that if he feels uneasy then imagine what the general public must think! The general public has all kinds of misconceptions, fears and misgivings when it comes to Realtors on many levels and open house are no different. Some of the reasons the public is uncomfortable with the Open House are well founded. Often new agents are stationed in the open house to find buyers. Nice concept but a hungry, inexperienced new agent and a person "just looking" is a prescription for failure. Sometimes an agent will hold a house open for the seller and does not want to be there and is only doing it to get the seller off of his back. Again, another situation that is not positive for the agent or anyone who walks into the house, with a genuine interest in the home and the market!
I still do a couple of houses a month but I have a completely different attitude and expectations!
1) I do not expect to sell someone this house today! (I do not care for pushy sales persons either!)
2) I always provide a list of similar homes in the area and a description that will help the prospects when they leave and "drive by" other homes in the area. It is alsoa good way to start talking!
3) I always welcome neighbors and over the years have developed a large clientele from the folks I have met at open houses. It is an incredible referral and information base.
4) I take my work and laptop with me to stay busy in case the time goes by s l o w l y...(It's a great time to catch up on Active Rain)
5) Because of my laid back attitude I actually end up working with 2 or 3 buyers a year and at least one listing.
6) The best thing that has happened is that I now post a sign on the front door that says in big red letters "This is NOT a Used car Lot" and some verbiage to put the prospects at ease. Now, when they walk through the door they are usually laughing and the folks that want to visit are more comfortable while the "lookers" do not have to scurry around avoing any sontact with the "Realtor".
There is not a neighborhood where this will not work. My most recent open houses ranged from $970,000 to $3,875,000 so don't take anything for granted or be afraid to use some humor and always know what your talking about (don't EVER fake it).
If your searching for a different approach (or attitude) try it and send me a comment later and let me know how it works out!