I won’t leave you in suspense. The truth about open houses is in the name. It’s a house that is for sale and is open for viewing.
So what does this have to do with anything? Well, think about it! How many of you have gone to an open house because you’re curious about your neighbours homes?
Maybe in the distant future, you’re thinking of selling your home and you want to size up the competition to see whose style and taste is better than yours.
Perhaps you’re trying to get ideas for your new bathroom but Pinterest has run out of ideas to give you.
Or maybe, you’re just that nosey neighbour who has absolutely nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon between 2-4pm.
All of these scenarios are perfectly fine. My husband and I are open house junkies.
We love going through homes and seeing the different styles. We love to observe how people arrange their furniture and how a space can come to life with different colour schemes. We find it interesting to see how dreadfully things can look with pealing wallpaper and balloon valences.
But it’s how we approach open houses that counts. I bet you’ve all made up a scenario before you’ve hit the front door of what you’re going to say to the real estate agent that greets you.
“Okay, I’ll be Frank and you be Glenda. We’re moving because of our jobs and we have two small kids. That’s why we’re looking at a 3 bedroom house. Whatever you do, do not give our real address or phone number on the sign up sheet.”
Sound familiar? You’ve just made going through open houses exhausting! Guaranteed at least once you’ve called your significant other, friend or relative by their real name and you’ve mixed up your story, the Real Estate Agent has already caught on. We find it hilarious sometimes.
Why not try a different approach? Real Estate Agents are here for two reasons.
The first is to sell the house for their client. The second is to meet potential buyers. By potential could mean anytime in the future. So why not let them know the truth?
Tell them you’re the neighbour down the street and you’re seeing what’s on the market, or that you’re interested in seeing other peoples tastes, or that you’re just bored and thought you’d walk through all the homes of your neighbours so you can see the lifestyle they lead.
Whatever the case – let the agent know! Trust me, they will appreciate your honesty for more reasons than one.
The Real Estate Agent knows your intentions and isn’t going to put all their time and effort into selling you this home (or another they may have listed) when you have no intention of buying.
The real estate agent will focus less on getting information on what you’re looking for immediately and perhaps more of what you’re looking for in the future (whatever the future means to you).
The agent might learn something from you. Yes, you might provide us with some information.
Maybe you know something about the neighbourhood that we didn’t. Perhaps you can give us feedback on what you did and didn’t like about the house so we can relay that information back to the home owner.
Leave the scripted play at the door. Come in only with your honest intentions. Stop making up phone numbers and emails addresses. A real estate agent works hard at following up with prospects and potential clients.
Imagine how frustrating it would be if you were working really hard at your job only to realize you spent all that time for a dead lead.
Providing personal information doesn’t mean you’re going to get a phone call every day, it just sets the tone of the relationship.
Let them know whether or not its okay to send monthly newsletters to your email, or set you up on automated emails letting you know about what’s on the market, or whether they can call you once in a while to touch base.
Or just tell them – “I’m not interested right now, but I’ll take your card if I have any questions.”
Doesn’t this sound so much simpler? Trust me, if you take this approach, the open-house-police will not be called to physically remove you from the home.
It will just change and optimize the relationship you have with the real estate agent who greets you at the door.
THE REALTOR® SIGN-IN SHEET
Why oh why do you ask us to sign in? And why on earth would we ever ask you for identification to verify who you are?
This single piece of paper seems to bring more fear, dread and distaste than the plague! But why?
Most open house sheets have a spot that states “Please don’t contact me” so you can rest assured that you won’t be contacted against your will.
Have you ever stop to think of what the real significance of the sign in sheet is? Let me explain.
Most people assume this sheet is for us to gather your contact information and call you until you break down and buy with us. The real reason is to protect the home we are showcasing and the owners. Think about it.
A person’s home has many valuables. Some tangible and some not. Just by walking through a person’s home you can find out a lot about them; their names, personal information; where they went to school; where they work< and so forth.
How many of you have a degree or diploma hanging in your home? Pictures with friends at certain hang outs, work, get togethers etc?
How many of you have a calendar in your house with appointments and personal information written on it, or bills hanging off your fridge?
Then there is the very possibility of someone stealing from the home owner! I think you see where I’m going with this.
WE’RE TRYING TO PROTECT YOUR VALUABLES
Now your real estate agent should tell you to de-personalize your home and put away any valuables or information disclosing who you are before an open house or viewing.
The problem is that sometimes things get overlooked. Our job is to ensure the home was left in the same state as when you presented it to us.
This means protecting the valuables and the personal information of the sellers during both open houses and showings.
By collecting your information we have a record of who has been in the home in case the unthinkable happens. It’s peace of mind to have something to follow up with..
So next time you decide to walk by the sign in sheet or give a fake name, just remember when you go to sell your home you want your agent to provide you the same kind of service.
You’ll feel better about it. And so will we. Happy Open Housing!