How Agents View Open House Guests

I had occasion to visit an Open House in my area recently and asked the agent what kind of traffic she had. “Um, mostly ‘Lookey Lou’s,” she hissed.

Most agents break down their visitors according to prospective business, with ‘Lookey Lou’s and neighbors being at the bottom of the list and they walk away resolving to contact only those who said that they were in the market to buy in the near future. What? Neighbors don’t have friends and relatives they’d like to have living close by? When these ‘prime’ prospects don’t react immediately, or don’t result in an immediate sale, these agents drop them from their list and never contact them again.

In my experience, comments like these come from agents who resent having to do Open Houses, because it cuts into their weekend and naturally, this reflects on their return of invested time. As an agent, I try to visit Open Houses not only because it enables me to see what is on the market in my area but also to support fellow agents, but I too, fall into that disappointing category of ‘Lookey Lou’s and therefore I don’t count!

The biggest single mistake that agents make is that they don’t maintain contact with prospective buyers. After all, today’s ‘Lookey Lou’s could be tomorrow’s buyers – or sellers, as circumstances change and buyers affordability may increase.

I started looking for a home in 1998 prior to getting my real estate license, but I only bought in 2000. It took me that long to save for the deposit and to really understand the market of my new chosen city, but the agents I encountered in 1998 had not kept in touch with me and needless to say, did not benefit from my purchase. Indeed, the agent that took me out, showed me properties that didn’t suit me, until I picked up a flyer from the house next door to one on his list. This house had 7 bedrooms – we only needed 4; it had 4 bathrooms – we only needed 2 and the price was about $50,000 more than we wanted to pay. The agent didn’t miss a beat! He knocked on the door and requested a showing. We were ‘Lookey Lou’s – we had NO intention of buying that property, but by the time we had walked through the house, I knew that it was our dream home and, filled with trepidation, we put in an offer! I was shocked when our offer was accepted, and terrified too, because the purchase required additional funds for the deposit which I did not have. In the 42 days it took to close the sale, I worked double shifts and offered my clients a 10% discount if they paid their account immediately and in doing so, I raised the last of the funds in time.

Working in real estate requires patience and understanding – it’s not about instant gratification and agents who rely on clients who are ready NOW, set themselves up for failure. Open House and working on the weekend is part of the job and agents who chose this as a career need to understand that in real estate, our schedule is not 9-5. Real estate is different…. we work when others play, which is most weekends and public holidays and our appointment times are often in the evenings.

The next time you are at an Open House, watch the faces of the visitors as they enter the property and you’ll see the look that asks: ‘Is this going to be an angry agent, or one that I’d like to do business with?’ and then ask yourself why so few prospects like to leave their contact information at Open Houses!

Althea Garner
Preferred Realty Executives (Florida and California)
Your House Of Homes Online
DRE 01516817

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
President-Elect – 2011 (Saint Lucie County)
VP Membership – 2010 (South Orange County)
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Vice Chair – 2009

REALTORS(R) Association of Saint Lucie
Vice Chair, Global Business – 2011


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