First a Dead Zone, Then a Crowd

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Charlemagne International Properties BRE# 01147470

The first hour of my open house was eerily quiet.  A few cars slowed to a crawl as they passed the open house sign, then moved on.  A neighbor or two biked past, but continued onward with their Sunday afternoon ride.

I walked out and checked to make sure the open house sign was upright.  Yes, standing tall, but no takers on the invitation.  I made some calls, returned a few and even worked on a file.  I jotted down my business priorities for the upcoming week.  I was about to call it a day and close up early, when in walked my first prospective buyer of the afternoon.  A neighbor out for a walk, and thinking of downsizing.  She took my information and said she would discuss my listing with her husband.  Suddenly, I'm feeling happy.

Visitors number two is a handsome young couple from Manhattan Beach sent to my listing by a fellow agent.  Thanks Janet.

And then the floodgates opened and four groups walked in.  Suddenly I had a house full of shoppers.  Neighbors wondering what their house is worth, and a young family in search of a larger home for their growing brood.  Two sets of grandparents wanting to move closer to their grands. They kept coming. People with questions about the market.  People of all ages.

Potential sellers and prospective buyers with housing wants and needs. These are the mover and shakers in the real estate world.  An open house is an excellent place to meet and mingle.  It's a silent compliment when a person who was a complete stranger minutes ago, slips your business card in their wallet or purse.

As I was leaving a dragonfly flew in the open door, fluttered around the living room, then back out into the sunshine.  It was a lovely ending to a enjoyable afternoon in real estate.

More blogs about a real estate agent's life from Norma.

Norma Toering & Team RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty
(310) 493-8333 / Office Phone: (310) 831-0800

South Bay Los Angeles cities I sell real estate, property, houses and homes in: Palos Verdes Estates, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, San Pedro, Long Beach, Torrance, Lomita, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach.


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Anonymous
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This is a great blog.  Thanks..


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Oct 13, 2008 07:49 PM #65
Anonymous
Anonymous

Of course. If they like the "bios and photos" though, they're not going to wait for an OH. They'll call their agent.

Oct 13, 2008 08:03 PM #66
Rainmaker
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Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Norma,  Wow, sounds like it was a great turnout.  I do a lot of opens and have noticed the increase as of late.

Oct 13, 2008 08:06 PM #67
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Norma Toering
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes & Beach Cities Homes in L.A. CA

Jessica - The worst thing about open houses is they require you to work on the weekend, and many agents don't enjoy committing a weekend afternoon to sitting at an open house.  I don't sit, I work the open house and enjoy it!   That's the beauty of this job, you can select what works best for you, and then do it well.

Oct 13, 2008 09:17 PM #68
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Norma Toering
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes & Beach Cities Homes in L.A. CA

Janna, I'm in agreement with you.  3-4pm is usually a very busy hour.

Oct 13, 2008 09:20 PM #69
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Norma Toering
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes & Beach Cities Homes in L.A. CA

Jean - The two hour open house has my vote too!

Oct 13, 2008 09:21 PM #70
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Norma Toering
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes & Beach Cities Homes in L.A. CA

Vicki, and I am finding more and more open house attendees have checked out the property and the agent online.

Oct 13, 2008 09:22 PM #71
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Norma Toering
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes & Beach Cities Homes in L.A. CA

Sandy - Preparation is so important but the payoff is worth it.

Oct 13, 2008 09:24 PM #72
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Norma Toering
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes & Beach Cities Homes in L.A. CA

Christina, my primary reason for holding an open house is to give prospective buyers an opportunity to see the property.  Photos and virtual tours are great tools, but they are no substitute for walking through the property and seeing the neighborhood.

Oct 13, 2008 09:27 PM #73
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Norma Toering
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes & Beach Cities Homes in L.A. CA

Kenny, a number of the attendees had agents who were otherwise engaged, and a number of them saw the property and the open house advertised on various sites.  With so many agents and so few buyers, isn't it surprising the number of prospective buyers who do not have an agent? 

Oct 13, 2008 09:37 PM #74
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Norma Toering
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes & Beach Cities Homes in L.A. CA

Bill, prospective buyers are doing a lot of independent research/shopping on the Internet and visiting only the homes they are interested in seeing.  I find these buyers are shopping for a house first, and engaging agents in mini interviews before they commit to representation.

Oct 13, 2008 09:40 PM #75
Rainmaker
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Brian Burke
Kenna Real Estate - Highlands Ranch, CO
Broker & Advising Expert-Denver Luxury Real Estate

Norma - for the longest time we did not do open houses - for two reasons, there were not producing results and 2nd because we were so busy during the weekends showing houses for buyers. This year we have started doing them again, mainly due to increasing (desperate) request from sellers. We are not seeing a lot of traffic, but did get a buyer a few months back. ~Rita

Oct 13, 2008 09:44 PM #76
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Norma Toering
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes & Beach Cities Homes in L.A. CA

Rita, we have to know our markets and employ what works best for our area and our own personal style.

Oct 13, 2008 10:00 PM #77
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Patricia Kennedy
Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc. - Washington, DC
For Your Home in the Capital

Norma, Open Houses are almost always reallly fun - because you never know what you're going to get!

Oct 13, 2008 10:10 PM #78
Rainmaker
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Susan Hilton
CENTURY 21 Beal, Inc. - College Station, TX
Texas Aggie Real Estate, College Station Bryan Texas Real Estate

Norma - How do you follow up with all the people that attend your open houses?

Oct 13, 2008 10:18 PM #79
Rainmaker
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Alexsandra Stewart
Remax equity group - Portland, OR
Broker - Portland Oregon Real Estate

Sounds like a very successful open.  A combination of getting a few tasks done during the slow time, and then some people to interact with, plus a dragonfly to complete the afternoon!

Oct 14, 2008 01:27 AM #80
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Norma Toering
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes & Beach Cities Homes in L.A. CA

Patricia - An optimistic outlook is essential when preparing for an open house, otherwise, why bother?  Consumers are there to gather information, not meet a grumpy agent!

Oct 14, 2008 09:16 AM #81
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Norma Toering
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes & Beach Cities Homes in L.A. CA

Susan - I only follow up with the top tier (those interested in my listing and those who expressed an interest in working with me by filling out my simple buyer's questionnaire), the rest leave with information on my listing, the neighborhood and me (if they want it).

Oct 14, 2008 09:24 AM #82
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Norma Toering
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes & Beach Cities Homes in L.A. CA

Alexsandra - It was both productive and enjoyable--not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Oct 14, 2008 09:27 AM #83
Rainmaker
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Mike Klijanowicz
Baltimore & Harford County Maryland - RE/MAX AMERICAN DREAM - Perry Hall, MD
#1 Baltimore & Harford County Maryland REMAX Agent

Open houses are much more productive than "FLOOR DUTY!"  I just don't know why more agents who don't have any business aren't doing them?

Oct 14, 2008 11:28 AM #84
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