When a real estate agent commits to an open house on Saturday & Sunday, 2:00 – 4:00PM, he or she usually has some idea as to how busy that open house should be.
Some days you get only a few passer-byers, and some days you’re absolutely slammed.
But what if NOBODY came to visit?
Open houses are a great source of new business for many agents.
On a given Saturday or Sunday afternoon, an agent can stand inside a house or a condo and through the door walk many people, all with at least some level of interest in real estate.
As I’ve written on my blog on past occasions, open houses often attract nosey neighbors, bored people, and “tire-kickers,” but you never know unless you try.
This has always been my philosophy, and thus I work open houses every single weekend.
I once had an open house on Bessborough Drive where in a two hour span, probably three-hundred people passed through the house. This isn’t the norm, but it’s not unusual to get 30-40 people through a “busy” open house on nice day.
This past Saturday, my open house was a brand new experience altogether…
On Saturday afternoon, I was doing an open house for a cute bungalow in East York priced at $369,900. When I see a price like that, I think “first time buyers,” and I jump at the chance to work that open house. First time buyers are more apt to listen to, and make conversation with, a Realtor such as myself. I find that the $1,000,000 houses attract snobs and rude people who barely acknowledge my presence…
By 2:00PM, I had set up five “OPEN HOUSE” signs at main intersections on Victoria Park, Dawes Road, and up and down the street where the house was situated, and I waited for my first visitor.
By 2:15PM, I was amazed that I was still alone in the house.
It was a gorgeous day; probably 23-degrees, and I assumed people would be out and about. Not only that, the TTC strike meant more people would be driving in their cars, and likely see my signs on the main roads.
By 2:30PM, I was still alone. It’s not unusual to have a half-hour pass by with nobody coming through, but I thought this was especially strange since I was preparing for a very active open house.
A few minutes later, I got a call from my mother. I wouldn’t ordinarily answer my cell phone during an open house, but since I was alone, I figured it couldn’t hurt.
“Hey Mom, what are you doing right now?”
“Oh, nothing Sweetie, just about to run some errands.”
“You wanna come hangout with me?”
“Sure! Where are you?”
“Come by ## Cedarcrest Avenue; just around the corner from you.”
At 2:50PM, with still not one person coming through the open house, the door finally opened…..and it was my mother! I invited her half-jokingly, but since she lived two minutes away I figured it would be nice to see her.
Like a typical mother, she brought me a slice of pizza, an apple, and a bag of cucumbers, in addition to the newspaper—consisting of the sports sections from all three papers for the past two days! Sweeeeet!
I told my mom it was nice to see her, but as soon as somebody comes through the door, obviously I have to do my JOB, and she has to leave. She agreed, and we sat in the living room chatting for a few minutes.
At 3:15PM, it occurred to me that my mother and I were having a very pleasant visit…..in somebody else’s house! She’d been there for almost a half hour, and not one single person had come through the door!
We caught up with all the goings-on in our lives, and she let me know what the latest wedding plans were for my brother and his fiancee, and I regaled her with interesting stories (complaints) about my back injury, my annoying concierge at my condo, and of course the bratty crop of kids I have to coach on my baseball team this year…
After forty-five minutes, I put my feet up on the coffee-table and began to get really, REALLY comfortable in this complete stranger’s house. I thought about how nice a cold beer and some Stanley Cup hockey would be, but that would have just been slightly over the top…
As I polished off the last cucumber from the bag my mother brought, a mini-van pulled up in front of the house. I thought to myself, “Could this be it? Do I finally have an interested open-houser?” I watched a woman slide the min-van door open, and three rug-rats piled out.
My mother saw this, and began to laugh.
I was still smirking from the fact that my MOMMY was watching me “work,” and that this situation was so unbelievable.
The woman came inside with all three kids, and the kids immediately started running through the house in a haphazard manner. The woman didn’t look at me, and didn’t say hello, and began exploring the house as if I weren’t even there.
I began to pack up my belongings, since it was now 3:57PM (I love when people come through just as I’m about to leave), and the woman came up from the basement with her three brats.
Just as I thought she was about to leave without saying anything, she looked up at me and said: “Can I tell you something?”
It was a rhetorical question…
“You should have told me the floor was dirty. We took off our shoes, as a COURTESY, and all the while you just stood there watching us, while we went downstairs and walked on the dirty floor. Now I have three kids, and six dirty feet! You should have told us to leave our shoes on! Next time, tell us to leave our shoes on….”
Aaaaaaah “next time.” I always love the proverbial “next time” that doesn’t exist, and never happens…
I told the woman I was incredibly sorry, and gave her my deepest, heartfelt apology, and she left with her three children in tow.
I looked at my 60-year-old mother for some words of wisdom, and she simply said:
“Wow. What a freakin’ bitch!”
Thanks mom. You always seem to put things in perspective for me…
I was three minutes away from getting NOBODY at my open house, which would have been a first for me. One, single person came to my open house…..if you don’t count my mom.
There’s a first time for everything, and while Saturday failed to be my first ZERO-OPEN-HOUSE, it certainly was the first time that my mother and I hung-out for over an hour in a random house where we didn’t even know who lived there…