Posts Tagged ‘Open Houses’

posted by on Prospecting & SOI, Working with Buyers, Working with Sellers

Just this week I was asked three times essentially the same question: “What do I do with a backburner prospect (BBP) to stay in touch and not lose his/her potential business?
For example:

  • “I met with a homeowner who wants to sell his home ‘sometime;’ maybe by the end of the year.”
  • “I hold frequent open houses and meet many visitors who have ‘just started looking;'” and
  • “A friend asked me to ‘keep an eye out’ for a particular kind of home in a particular neighborhood.”

Since they asked, here are my thoughts on the matter!

First and most important…DO NOT put the BBP on any sort of drip campaign or systematized follow-up!!!! Puh-leeeaze! That’s what every other real estate agent is doing (and yes, they are likely talking to several) and trust me, being added to a drip campaign doesn’t endear you to anyone.

What to do instead? Howzabout this? Follow-up personally each and every time you do follow-up (to be discussed shortly). Put a reminder in your planner at appropriate intervals to check in with your BBP, no pressure or pitches, to remind them that you’re ready, willing and able to help when THEY are ready (see below).

Second, add the BBP to your regular Sphere of Influence communications if you do any – i.e. your mass email distribution list or snail-mail/doo-dad list.

Third, when you do follow-up with your BBP come armed with something of value (besides just “Are ya ready to buy/sell yet? Huh? Huh? Huh?”). This should be easy enough – if it’s a homeowner wanting to sell at some point, let her know when a neighboring property comes on the market, goes under contract or closes. And if previewing is allowed in your market, make a point to preview new listings in the area as they come up.

If it’s a BBP buyer, just keep an eye on the market he’s interested in. Put yourself on an auto-search for them and make an effort to preview new listings that come up so you can speak intelligently about them when you follow-up. Again, don’t just put THEM on an auto-search and hope they contact you if they see anything interesting… be more proactive than that!

And finally, when you do check in, never pressure your BBP that they need to BUY NOW or SELL NOW. In fact, just the opposite. Be casual, low-pressure, patient… “Just checking in – when you’re ready, I’m ready!”

Now, what if your BBP doesn’t respond to your check-ins? Don’t fret! They may have changed their minds about buying or selling and it’s nothing personal. Or they might have other things going on right now and you are a low priority for them (again, it’s not personal). But if you’ve checked in several times with no response, just make a final call/email saying “I don’t want to bug you, so I’ll leave the ball in your court. Just track me down when you need me and I’ll be ready!” I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how often they will call you to apologize for not being responsive!

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

Yesterday I did an open house at my new listing. For the record, I dread open houses. I hate putting up the signs, cheerfully chatting with the seller (while trying to get them out of the house), making small talk with visitors and of course, taking down the signs at the end of the day. I almost always come home and crash afterwards from mental exhaustion (last night was no exception – I was in bed by 7:30).

But… the open house was a great success! It was fun! I don't know if I was different from the Old Days or if it just a good crowd but wow! I had around 20 visitors through and every single one of them was pleasant, open to conversation and interested in the house.

I had done my homework ahead of time and knew every single competing listing in the neighborhood. This was an area outside my comfort zone (South Suburban Denver, tract home development), but I was comfortable enough with the competition to speak intelligently about it. I didn't make anyone sign in or otherwise push them to "commit" to me in any way, and almost everyone asked for my card.

My main goal of doing open houses is to 1) make my seller happy and 2) gather feedback for the home. I never prospect for buyers or sellers, and frankly, rarely pick anyone up. But yesterday something was different. I think I have a different attitude toward this business than I did in my last few years pre-sabbatical. I'm LOVING what I'm doing and it shows.

We'll see if anything comes of it.

posted by on Prospecting & SOI, Working with Sellers

Do you think Open Houses are a waste of time? The verdict is divided on this – some agents swear by them, others refuse to even consider doing them.

Well, I’m going to do my best to encourage you to do an Open House for each and every one of your listings – at least once.

So… here we go: open house

Why You Should Do Open Houses Reason #1 (of 4):

It makes your seller happy.

Don’t discount the power of a happy seller. And don’t let the Old Fogies tell you it’s possible to convince a seller that Open Houses are a waste of time. If you don’t do at least one Open House for your seller, he WILL doubt your commitment to the sale of his home. Oh, sure, he may agree with you to your face that Open Houses aren’t necessary and that they only benefit the agent, blah blah blah, but when his house hasn’t sold and he’s getting nervous, he WILL remember that YOU haven’t done an Open House yet.

If I had a house on the market and my agent hadn’t done an open house, he better not come asking me for a price reduction unless/until he does! Why? Because I’m pretty sure I’d feel he hadn’t yet done HIS part to sell the house. Reasonable? Maybe, maybe not, but if I, as an experienced real estate agent feel this way, you better believe your sellers do, too.

Did you catch that? I think it would take some nerve to ask your seller to reduce his price if YOU haven’t done the most visible, most expected form of real estate marketing there is – the Open House.  If your seller feels you’re shirking Open House duty, he might not be nearly as open to your suggestions as to what HE needs to do to help get the house sold.

A happy seller is a cooperative seller. And an uncooperative seller is a nightmare. You pick.

Tomorrow – Reason #2 to Hold Your Listings Open

posted by on Prospecting & SOI, Working with Sellers

Yesterday, I promised to chat some more about why an agent should hold his or her listings open, at least once. Something I didn’t mention was that I’m only talking about YOUR own listings – not listings of other agents, although that’s fine to do if you like (and I will talk more about this in a few days). No, I think you owe it to your seller to do it, yourself even, regardless of whether or not you think the open house will result in a sale.

Why You Should Do Open Houses Reason #2 (of 4):

You can gather feedback from the public to share with your seller.

I did my first open house in three years this past Sunday. It was a fairly active open house – we had maybe 20 visitors in a three hour period. It was a beautiful spring day, people seemed cheerful and chatty and the feedback was flowing. At the end of the day, I had a page and a half of scribbled down comments for my seller. Most of them were positive; a few mildly critical, but how long would it have taken me to get that much feedback from showing agents? Uh, like forever?

While my seller certainly appreciated the mass-feedback, as the listing agent, it is also incredibly helpful to me to see firsthand what features really jumped out at the visitors. Every single one of them commented on the “great light and all the windows,” and almost everyone complimented the oversize kitchen. Do you think this might help me in my marketing efforts?

I think spending three hours getting a concentrated dose of feedback from the general public is a great use of my time and a valuable service for my seller.

Tomorrow – Reason #3 to Go Ahead and Hold that House Open!

sws www.sellwithsoul.com

 

posted by on Prospecting & SOI, Working with Sellers

Earlier this week, I started this little series on Why You Should Do at least One Open House (on your own listings) even if you think they’re a “waste of time.”

Why? Because…

It will make your seller happy

You’ll gather feedback from the public

And… today’s topic:

You’ll Become More Familiar with Your Listing

How much do you really know about your listing? Chances are that you took a little tour with your seller on the day of your listing presentation and probably another one when you took your photos and measured the rooms. But you’ve probably never spent much quality time in the home by yourself, just absorbing the features or even the challenges the property offers.

When I do an open house, I tend to check everything out – admittedly, often out of boredom. Yeah, I open doors & drawers, wander in and out of bathrooms, flip switches to see what they do. And in the process, I discover things I hadn’t noticed before, especially if I’ve always been accompanied by my seller on previous visits.

Okay, so this probably isn’t a gi-normous deal, but I do find that by spending some quality time in my listing without the distraction of rapport-building or just chattering with my seller, I’m a better listing agent.

One more reason to open house… tomorrow!

sws www.sellwithsoul.com

 

posted by on Prospecting & SOI, Working with Sellers

If you haven’t been following this series, the following blog may seem kind silly, just FYI!

And Reason Number Four… You might sell the house.

Yeah, I know, fat chance, right? But it really shouldn’t be discounted as a valid reason to hold the darn thing open for a few hours one Sunday. And, imagine, you might even double-end the sale if you get lucky enough to attract an unrepresented buyer who falls in love with your fabulous listing!

 

Tomorrow (or maybe Monday)… Thoughts for Rookies about holding open houses for others

sws www.sellwithsoul.com

 

 

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

zzz

This is the wall-paper on my computer… every single person who has come into my open house so far has asked me about my Ziggers! Dog people are so easy to talk to…

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

open house

After a week away (thank you Robin!), I’m back in the saddle, talking about turning Prospecting Cheese into Soul… Today’s topic is the non-cheesy Open House.

First, allow me to pontificate for a moment that I believe the first priority of any open-house-giver is to attempt to sell that house. After all, someone owns that house and has hired you, or an associate of yours to care enough about his listing to try to sell it. And no matter what you tell a seller ahead of time, he really does expect the offers to start pouring in at 4:05. 

So, just remember that your primary obligation is to the seller, not yourself. Lecture over.

(For a discussion on whether or not to even hold open houses, click here for my series on the topic).

All that said, most of us do look at an open house as an opportunity to pick up buyers. Maybe even sellers. So, how can you do that without resorting to Old School Cheese? (That sound kinda gross, doesn’t it?)

My best advice for figuring out what NOT to do is to spend a sunny Sunday visiting other agents’ open houses. Egads, some of us are cheesy. Or, if not cheesy, just plain dumb, aka, unprepared. I visited an open house last winter and eavesdropped in as a visitor asked the agent how old the furnace was. The agent smiled brightly and said those magic words: “I don’t know, but I’d be happy to find out for you!” This piqued my curiosity, so I actually went into the basement and, get this – LOOKED at the furnace. It was obviously brand new. I’d think that anyone who had ever seen a furnace could tell that. Of course, that would have meant that the agent would have had to have made that long journey down the stairs to see for herself – but clearly that was too much to ask.

I’ve also heard rumors of agents requiring ID before allowing visitors into the property. Okay, maybe in a multi-gazillion dollar home, but your run-of-the-mill listing? Puh-leeeeeaze.

Do I require sign-in? No, I don’t. I just don’t feel comfy doing it, but it’s not something I advise against. When I hold an open house, I’m looking for quality over quantity. I’m hoping to connect with one or two visitors; someone I have a natural rapport with. When I find that rapport with a visitor, it’s easy for me to draw them into a conversation about real estate and most of the time; they ask ME for my card. I like that. If I had people sign-in, I know I wouldn’t follow-up unless I felt that rapport, so I just don’t bother.

When you hold an open house, pretend that there’s a hidden camera watching your every move (who knows?). Don’t do anything the seller wouldn’t approve of. Don’t criticize the house (that guest you’re talking to might know the seller and report back, or he might be a seller prospect himself and be less than impressed with your professionalism!), or aggressively direct visitors toward your fancy list of “other properties they might consider instead.”  It’s far less cheesy (and effective) to be able to simply discuss the market conversationally, rather than push a pre-prepared package on guests.

(If you’re enrolled in the SWS Winter of Soul, we’ll be doing a thorough discussion of Open House Strategies on January 23!)

Next up… non-cheesy greeting cards

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

Let me set the stage…open house

Last week I was in Arizona speaking at the Tucson Festival of Books, and afterwards visiting my sister who lives there. On Sunday, we went to a Cactus League game and then to an art show. I’d forgotten to eat and we’d been out and about since mid-morning, so by the time we were heading home, this little introvert was hungry and pretty much out of social steam.

We stopped off at an open house in my sister’s neighborhood. Cool, said Jennifer. I’m always up for a little real estate, even if I am ready for a nap.

Oh, my heavens. If you ever need a lesson on what NOT to do to your Open House visitors, just go visit one of, um… okay, I won’t name names, but one of this gal’s opens…

I don’t remember paying extra, but we got the full-on, deluxe guided tour. I mean – we saw everything that house had to offer. And it was a big house. We watched as the agent demonstrated how the custom window coverings opened and closed. Not just one, but all six! Wow – push a button and the shade goes up. Push it again and it comes down. On all six windows! Amazing.

In case we missed the custom columns in the dining room, she pointed those out to us (twice). Same with the travertine floors, which are, she reminded us, very easy to keep clean. She described in detail how the seller would agree to provide a landscaping allowance in case we didn’t fully appreciate his taste in pool decor (even explained how the credit would appear on our closing statement). We learned how the grassy area of the yard was perfect for kids or pets. How, from this angle over here, there was an amazing view.

Returning back inside, we were shown the guest rooms with the spacious closets. In case we missed it (or didn’t know enough to care about) the HVAC unit, she pointed it out to us. (Later, she showed us the second one). As we were touring the master suite, we were assured that the home included a home warranty, that the agent had negotiated a special deal with her title company (so title insurance would be very reasonable) and how her preferred lender would pay for our appraisal.

My gas tank was below empty at this point. I was literally stumbling along behind my much-more-polite sister, who managed to keep a smile on her face and a running appreciative commentary on all the features. She must have received the telepathic messages I was sending her to PLEASE not introduce me as Jennifer Allan, author of Sell with Soul because I was decidedly NOT at my most impressive!

When we were finally allowed to leave, we managed to keep quiet until we got to the safety of the car… where we both exploded with “That was the WORST…”

And here’s the thing. Aside from the fact that we probably don’t care much about the HVAC system and can see the dining room columns without help, the agent didn’t show ANY interest whatsoever in us – our wants, needs, interests or motivation. No attempt to build rapport. Just a determination to do her full sales-pitch, whether or not that sales-pitch was appropriate given the audience. 

Hey, I used to think I was the world’s worst open-house-giver. But now, I’m not so sure…

 

Stay tuned for “The Worst Emailed Sales-Pitch I’ve Ever Gotten!” coming soon…

posted by on Jennifer's Best, Prospecting & SOI

Open House

A few months ago, I had a conversation with a newer agent about maximizing the effectiveness of her open houses. By “effectiveness,” of course, she meant gathering as many names, numbers and email addresses as she could during her three-hour stints on Sunday afternoons.

She was frustrated (mostly with herself) at her inability to smoothly gather those names, numbers and email addresses from her visitors. Either they seemed hesitant to provide them OR she just wasn’t comfortable asking, and usually came away from her open houses empty-handed.

“Jennifer – do you have any suggestions for me?”

Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. 

But first, let’s have a paradigm shift, shall we? Too often, we real estate agents focus on what WE need and want, and hope to persuade our audience to play along. For example, WE want that name, number and email address so WE can send a nice little thank-you-for-visiting note and add a warm body to our mailing list, right?  

So we come up with all sorts of sly strategies to get that contact information – such as – “the seller asks that guests sign in for security purposes,” or “if you register, you’ll be entered to win a lovely gift basket,” or simply “please sign my register so I can show the seller how many visitors we had.”

Nothing really wrong with these approaches except that there’s nothing in it for the visitor. At least, nothing worth relinquishing their private contact information to a hungry Realtor, suspecting they’ll be hounded after the fact whether they want to be or not.

So, what could you do instead – here’s the kicker – to INSPIRE the visitor to want you to have his or her contact information? Not what you can do to TRICK it out of him, but to actually inspire him to want to give it to you?

And no, the answer isn’t to bribe him with free reports, contests, drawings or newsletters…

Any ideas? I’ll share mine tomorrow

posted by on Jennifer's Best, Prospecting & SOI

Funny – yesterday I posted a blog about getting contact information from open house visitors that ended with a “stay tuned for the next episode” teaser… and got slammed with “I’m doing an open house this weekend, please tell me what to do” notes.

Open HouseOkay, okay, okay. I hope I didn’t overpromise in the blog – I don’t have any secret phrase or magic sign-in sheet that will ensure names, numbers and email addresses* from your visitors, but I’ll give it a shot.

The question I left you with was “How can you INSPIRE open house visitors to WANT to give you their contact information?” Not how to manipulate it out of them, but rather get them to offer it to you because they want you to have it?

The answer is awfully simple.

You DO (or should) have something a bona-fide buyer wanna-be wants. Not market reports or newsletters or lovely gift baskets, but KNOWLEDGE.

You know more about the real estate market and the houses in it than they do. You know the current inventory. You know which houses are priced right and which ones, well, aren’t. You know that homes built by THIS builder cost more than ones by THAT builder, and why (and whether they’re worth the extra). If the neighborhood of your open house is out of the buyer wanna-be’s price range, you know of alternative neighborhoods that might work for him. If your open house is On The Lake (and priced accordingly), you know how much of a break a buyer wanna-be can get to be Not On The Lake, But Close. If a buyer wanna-be really wants a big yard, you know where he can find that while staying close enough to town to suit him.

When I say that you know all these things, I don’t mean that you have a handy-dandy printout next to your personal brochure and sign-in sheet describing other houses for sale. Nor do I mean that you’ve memorized your MLS and can spout off DOM’s and PSF’s and List-to-Sold Ratios with abandon.

I mean that you have a conversational familiarity with your local real estate market. And you’re more than willing to share your knowledge and expertise with anyone who is interested.

Which leads me to the next point. Not everyone who comes to an open house is a good prospect for you. In fact, most probably aren’t, for reasons you’re already aware of. Just let ‘em go. Don’t be rude, of course, but don’t fret about getting their digits or demonstrating your expertise to them. Just let them wander thru, politely and pleasantly answer their questions, and relax. You may leave your open house with only one or two folks to follow-up with and that’s okay. It’s perfectly fine to cherry-pick your future clients, selecting only those with whom you have a natural rapport, who seem to be open to hearing from you again.

Here’s the thing. For me (and many of y’all), trying to create rapport with every warm body who walks in the door is exhausting. And discouraging. I’m just not all that charming, and frankly, not everyone wants to be chatted with even if I were. In fact, most probably don’t. By the end of the open house, if I’ve tried to build rapport with everyone who came in, I’m an emotional mess, especially since many of them have probably rejected my advances (I don’t handle rejection well). But if I save my emotional energy for those with whom I “click,” I CAN be awfully darn charming!

So, what’s the punch line?

1.       Be conversationally familiar with the neighborhood, amenities and alternatives to the neighborhood of the house you’re holding open and be willing to freely share your knowledge with visitors, and

2.       Save your emotional energy for the visitors with whom you feel a natural rapport. Be pleasant and polite to everyone else, but don’t stress yourself out trying to get contact information from them.

If you’ve done a good job preparing for your open house and you choose your targets wisely, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that many visitors will initiate further contact with you. Either they’ll offer up their contact information voluntarily or they’ll ask for yours.

If this isn’t happening, it’s not because you aren’t aggressive enough, clever enough or sly enough to coerce those names and numbers from your visitors. So if you want to beat yourself up over the “effectiveness” of your open houses, don’t go there. Focus instead on how you can better demonstrate to your visitors that you are the guy or gal they’re looking for.

 

*None of this should be construed to contradict my opinion that open houses are held primarily for the SELLER’s benefit, not the agent’s. The owner of the home you’re holding open expects you to be first and foremost trying to sell his home, not hungrily prospecting for leads for yourself. To read a practical implication of this philosophy, refer to Susan Haughton’s comment on the previous blog

posted by on Especially for Rookies

Be on time for your open house. If the home you’re holding open is another agent’s listing, remember that you are representing the listing agent who is counting on you to make a good impression on his seller. If the seller has to call the listing agent to find out where the heck you are, that’s not a good beginning to the afternoon. Allow plenty of time to put up your directional arrows and make sure you place them in highly visible open houselocations. When you arrive at the home, be prepared for people to come through the door as soon as your Open House sign is up. It always happens that way for some reason – you’ll get a flood of visitors right at the beginning when you’re setting up and at the end when you’re closing down. Anyway, before putting up your sign, go through the home, turn on lights, open curtains, check to make sure everything is clean and tidy. Display your brochures and business cards, set yourself up somewhere comfortable, but not in the “best” room of the home. If the home has a spectacular living room, don’t park yourself in there. You want visitors to explore the home thoroughly and to take note of special features or rooms. If you’re in a “special” room, your presence there will distract visitors from it.

Remember that you are in that home to sell that home. That is your first obligation. Don’t make the rookie mistake of trying to talk to visitors about other homes while they’re still taking in the details of this one. Imagine that the seller is watching you with a hidden video camera (who knows…?) . Don’t do anything the seller wouldn’t approve of. And don’t leave early unless the home is vacant. Sellers know exactly what time you leave – either they’re parked across the street watching or they have neighbors spying on you. I’m serious. (http://activerain.com/blogsview/34183/Prospecting-for-Buyers-at)

Everyone develops their own style for holding open houses. You can be assertive… or not so. You can show visitors around… or let them wander. You can require sign-in…or not. You can ask a lot of questions… or just wait for the visitors to approach you.

Me? Well, I’m a little shy, so I take the soft-sell approach. I do not require sign-in, I do not show visitors around, I ask questions, but only of people who seem open to my advances. If I connect with someone, I am happy to chat with them about the home, or the state of the market. If I do not feel a good connection with a visitor, I just smile and let him approach me if he needs anything.

 

Because I’m shy, open houses were a little nerve-wracking for me from Day One to Day 4,000 …making small talk with strangers for three hours just isn’t high on my list of comfortable activities. I found the best way to ease my tension was to have music playing (so that it’s not deadly silent when there’s only me and one visitor in the house) and to have my laptop computer set up and open on the kitchen table. I could look up from my laptop to greet a new visitor, which gave me something to be doing besides standing there looking terrified.

 

If your open house is lively, you will have an opportunity to talk about the homes you previewed ahead of time (you DO preview, don’t you?). When an open house has good energy, people are talking to you and to each other, usually about real estate. It’s easy for you to chime in with your two cents or to casually mention the fabulous house around the corner (if appropriate).

When it’s time to go, make sure you:
Turn off lights & close curtains (as you found them)
Clean up any trash left by visitors
Close closet doors, shower doors, check toilets, etc.
Make sure all exterior doors are secure
Take your home brochures with you
Leave a nice note for the seller with some commentary on the open house, including the approximate number of visitors, any feedback, etc.
Take down the Open Sunday rider on the For Sale sign

Call the listing agent on your way home to tell him how the open house went and to thank him profusely for allowing you to hold his listing open. If you do a good job for this guy, he can be a gold mine for you. If he’s busy, he might just be looking for someone to help him with more open houses, sign calls or other lower priority referrals. If you sense he might be interested, offer to take sign calls for him and to pay him a referral fee for any closings that result from these calls. Many busy agents are happy to refer these types of leads.

That Evening or The Next Day…at the latest
Follow up with any buyers you met at the open house. If someone asked you a question you promised to research, do the research right away and call him with the answer. If a potential buyer asked you to e-mail her listings, do it tonight. It’s a good idea to call her when you send them which may solidify the relationship a bit. I actually met my first real estate agent at an open house. She called me that night to follow up and I happily hired her to find me a home. She sold me four houses over the next few years before I got my own license. Remember, if you act as if you want a buyer’s business, you will get the buyer’s business. Most agents don’t follow up promptly (or at all), so if you do, you’ll be a step ahead of the competition, even if you’re new.

A complete Open House checklist can be found on my website, www.sellwithsoul.com at the VIP Lounge!

posted by on Working with Buyers

“The Only Reason Agents Hold Open Houses is to Prospect For Buyers”

Yes, this may very well be true. That doesn’t always make it right.

One of the first prospecting techniques new agents learn is how to “pick up buyers” at open houses. Agents are urged to be on high alert for open house visitors who don’t already have a buyer representative. Pushing sign-in sheets and personal brochures, agents strive to make their open house “productive” by walking away with a fistful of names and numbers of potential buyers who dropped by. The more contacts an agent makes at an open house, the more successful it was.

But aren’t we forgetting something? Or someone? Your seller client, perhaps?

Remember that you are in that home to sell that home. That is your first obligation. Put yourself in the seller’s shoes – he or she is excited about your open house and is imagining that you are enthusiastically marketing all the special features of the home – not hungrily trying to build your business. Imagine that the seller is watching you with a hidden video camera (who knows…?) . Don’t do anything the seller wouldn’t approve of.

Once I showed up at an open house with color printouts from the MLS of other comparable homes for sale. Of course, I was planning to share these printouts with interested visitors to demonstrate my expertise in the market, as well as my willingness to show and sell other homes besides the one I was holding open. The seller saw my printouts and was horrified. It had never occurred to her that I wasn’t there solely for her benefit, and frankly, it hadn’t occurred to me that this might bother her. But of course it did. Right or wrong, sellers put a lot of stock in your open house and they truly expect the offers to be rolling in by 4:05 pm.

So don’t make the rookie mistake of trying to talk to visitors about other homes while they’re still taking in the details of this one. Any attempt you make to lead potential buyers away from the home you’re holding open would certainly be interpreted with displeasure from your sellers, should they happen to overhear you. If a visitor truly is not interested in the home you’re holding open and seems open to hearing about other properties in the area, by all means, offer to help. But not at the expense of other visitors who might be interested in finding out more about your open house.

Something that might help keep you honest (besides the possibility of a hidden camera!) is to remember that some of your visitors may be observing your behavior to evaluate you as a potential listing agent for their home, should they decide to sell. If they see you aggressively marketing yourself and not the home you’re holding open, they may decide you are not the right person to sell their home.

Another area of confusion and conflict when holding open houses is when a visitor announces that she already has a buyer agent. This is especially disconcerting to the agent who is not the listing agent of the home, but is simply holding it open FOR the listing agent. Yes, you still need to graciously market the home to this represented buyer. Show her around, politely answer her questions and, if you sense real interest, please don’t fuss that you’re “wasting your time” on someone who isn’t going to become your client. Every once in a while, you might even get to write an offer for a represented buyer, if the buyer is anxious and can’t wait for her agent to come back from vacation.

Open houses can certainly be a source of business for you and if handled respectfully, no one will object to your prospecting efforts. Just remember to always put your client first, and everyone wins.