Today I held my first open house. I did it for the experience and as a favor to another Realtor (the home was her listing). The home was in an area I know quite well. I was comfortable doing the open house on my own and was looking forward to seeing how it went.
A few hours before I was due to arrive at the home, I stopped by the office to copy a few different papers. I pulled out a guest registry for people to sign as they entered the home. I printed out papers used to sign up customers to receive emails of current homes on the market. I also printed out the papers that described the home and its features. I had my signs in the car, and I was ready to go.
The home I was holding open was a rental. I knew that most anyone coming through the doors would be unsure of the rental process and I was ready to guide them through the steps of qualifying for the home. Basically, to put in an offer to rent, you need to have run your credit report, with the score included (not all credit reports show your score). You have to show proof of financial ability to be able to afford the rental. You also typically need to have one months rent and an additional one and a half months rent as a security deposit.
I got to the home, opened the lock box and went in. I walked around the home to get familiar with the features and to open up the curtains to let in some light. I turned on ceiling fans and switched on lights in any darkened rooms. I then went into the kitchen, sat down at the table and pulled out business cards, the guest registry and the paper explaining all the information about the home. Then, I waited.
About half an hour after I had sat down a car pulled up. A man and child got out of the car and approached the home. I was excited. The home was a two bedroom house and they were a perfect match for the size of the home. They entered the house and I got up to greet them. I put out my hand and introduced myself. The man introduced himself and said he was the homeowner. He then proceeded to mention that he didn’t know an open house was being held today and that he had stopped by to mow the lawn and do some repairs. I was mortified. I thought that the Realtor would have advertised the home as being an open house today. I surely thought that she would have informed the homeowners of her plans.
I asked the man if he would like me to leave and he said that it was fine if I stayed. This produced a new dilemma. What would people think if they came to a home where repairs were being made as they walked through the house? Really, there wasn’t much I could do but go with the flow. I sat back down and the man and his son got to work on the yard.
While the owner and his son were busy working on the home, I had my first potential customers walk in. We chatted for a minute and I found out that one of the women was moving to Michigan from another state, and was interested in seeing what was available. She also mentioned that she wouldn’t be moving for a year or two. I told them to make themselves at home and to feel free to check out the house.
When the women were done walking around, I followed up by asking them what they thought. One of the woman said that the home was too small. They were looking for a three bedroom house. I offered to sign them up for emails of homes just going on the market so they could stay up to date on what was out there on the market. They declined, but did take my card.
That was it. No one else ever showed up. I wasn’t surprised since there was no way anyone would know that there was an open house unless they drove down the particular street the home was on. I felt deflated. I knew that sometimes there isn’t much traffic at an open house. Today was a gorgeous clear day with cool temps. The perfect day to go house hunting. What good is an open house if you don’t even advertise the property?
Needless to say, the next time I ask to do an open house, I know to ask if the home will be advertised and if the owners will be notified. All in all it was another lesson learned.