Yesterday's open house was eventful and unique in it's typicalness (sp). I had prepared well. I placed a large ad in the local newspapers, informed all of the Internet open house sites and blanketed the neighbourhood with Open House invitation postcards. The details were entered on the MLS. The house was presented well and was priced properly. It looked like it would be an active day. I wasn't disappointed.
It was windy as all get out! Gusts to 80 kmh so I had to tie my signs to the hydro poles and add a gob of gel to my hair. In the past I've learned that if the house is on a street that's in demand, the weather will not deter the serious buyers.
I usually ask each visitor where they heard about the open house. If they come from the newspaper ad, then I know they made a point of scheduling their day so they could attend and therefore were serious buyers
If they were sent by their agent then I would simply provide customer service and let them roam around on their own. Many came because of the post card and so I tried to spend quality time with them. They were neighbours and perhaps were checking out the house in anticipation of their own sale. There were four young women who came in en masse and were loud and boisterous. I figured they saw the sign and were just looking for a short diversion in their day. They weren't going to remove their shoes so I had to engage them immediately, teased them about the bus arriving, and asked them to take their shoes off. If someone comes simply because they saw a sign, there's a good chance they're not quality prospects but I still have to remain open to that possibility.
This house had a large attic. The Owner had built a pull down stair case for easy access and this was a great feature for a number of reasons. It was a good topic to speak about because it engaged the prospect in a non threatening way. Many people come into an open house and are wary about looking me in the eye for fear I will lasso them and drag them to the table to sign an offer. I do have a rope handy for just that maneuver but seldom use it. If there's information I can give them that they would value (like the attic), then this often leads to a more playful and more revealing discussion about why they are there. Also, as people were climbing the stairs, there was a degree of excitement and anticipation often leading to a discussion about what they could do with the space. My guess is,this is one house they would remember long after they walked out.
A single guy lingered for quite some time, measuring, dreaming, sighing. I'm pretty sure he'll make an offer tonight. His agent called earlier today to ask when the Vendor was available tonight.
I was pretty much busy the entire two hours. Many agents are quite diligent about getting the visitors to sign their guest book. I have done that in the past but after doing hundreds of these open houses, I find it's too much of a distraction. Often the information they give me is phony. Besides, I can pretty much determine within a few seconds if someone is either serious or a possible prospect. I know my strengths and consequently I'm pretty selective about who I work with. I consider this to be one of the perks of this job. For example, I don't usually do well with prospects who don't speak English so why spend time developing a client/agent relationship. Doesn't make sense.
One lady came in and wandered around. She didn't appear to be in any hurry to leave so I engaged her in conversation. Eventually, she warmed up and began talking about her house and wouldn't you know it, she's thinking of listing next spring. I sprang into action and offered to evaluate her home. She had just received one but thought it would be a good idea to get another one. So, I made arrangements to meet with her this morning. After arriving at the house, I noticed the listing presentation provided by the first agent was on the kitchen table and it was pathetic to look at. I had spent a fair bit of time assembling mine and came up with a decisive price that was well documented. I also made a point of making sure it looked first class. Many times the competition makes me look good! I'll be very surprised if I don't list her house early next year.
So, around 30 visitors attended my open house, not including four agents who brought clients with them. All things considered, I have one offer registered tonight and I expect at least one more before we present. So, was it typical? Sure, why not!