The Things People Say…

“If you don’t have anything good to say, then don’t say anything at all!”

Oh, if only that were the case…

Ah yes, the Agent Open House!

A time-waster for some, and a waste of time for others!

For those of you that think an “open house” is on Saturday and Sunday from 2-4pm, I’ll let you in on a little secret: we Realtors have our own “special” open houses during the week.

Every day, from 11:00am to 1:00pm, our city is rampant with raging Realtors who drive around as fast as they can to tour as many houses and condos as they can cram into two hours.

I have my own thoughts on the matter, which many Realtors will disagree with, but I’ll put it into print just for fun…

I think these agent open houses are a tremendous waste of time.

For some agents, previewing properties in their areas of interest, or for clients they know will be interested, is time well spent.

But for many, many agents, going “on tour” is simply in lieu of anything better to do, and is often a replacement for spending five dollars on lunch.  Many agent open houses are catered, and to nobody’s surprise, these are the best attended.  As I have alluded to about a thousand times, many of Toronto’s 35,000 Realtors have absolutely, positively nothing to fill their days, and thus they caravan to agent open-houses, in order to feel like they spent the day working.

When I have a listing for a condo, I don’t do agent open houses.  There is no point.

For the gamblers out there – I’d set the over/under on “attendees at condominium agent open house” at 2.5, and I’d certainly take the under.  I’ve sat at countless agent open houses years ago where I didn’t get a single agent through.  When it comes to houses, you can park on the street, in the driveway, or down the block.  For downtown Toronto condos – who wants to risk getting a parking ticket to run up and check out 600 square feet that is likely the same as the last five units that came out in the building with the same floor plan?

When I have a listing for a house, of course I do an agent open house!  I got 20+ people through the last three agent open houses I had for actual houses.

However, the one drawback, in my opinion, is dealing with my colleagues, who always have something to say.

I know best, but so does he, so does she, and that guy over there knows better than all of us.  It’s the business; you’re only as good as the snarkiness that comes out of your mouth on a daily basis.

Here are the comments I received at my open house last week:

“I can’t believe somebody actually lived here!”

Right.  That’s a totally normal thing to say!

You can’t believe somebody lived here?  Really?  In this $900,000 house?

I responded to this person, “Oh they did, happily, for a long time.”

She said, “Yeah, but seriously – who could live here, like this?”

I said, “Have you ever travelled the world and seen what people live in?  Maybe Africa, Thailand?”

She sneered, and walked downstairs.

“You have the square footage listed as approximately 3,000 on MLS.  How accurate is that?”

“Do you trust lasers,” I asked.

The man just stood there.

“I read somewhere that the laser is the most exact unit of measurement on earth.  Anyways, Plan-It was here last week to take measurements, and the square footage came in at 2,973.  So, you know, make of it what you will, give or take.”

The guy looked at me and said, “Soooo…..it’s not three-thousand?”

Jesus.

“Sooooo….what happened here, did they just run out of money?”

“What do you mean,” I asked.

“Well it looks like some of this place is renovated and some of it isn’t.”

“That’s right,” I explained.  “Some of the house is renovated, and some isn’t.”  I didn’t really understand the question or the issue.  The owners had updated and renovated over the course of their time in the house, but should ALL houses be torn down and built anew, or never updated?  All or nothing?”

“Well it just makes no sense.  The sink is over there.  Nobody would live with a sink over there.”

Yes, that’s a fate worse than death.  I’d hate to see this guy’s house…

“That basement is a mess.  You should really get a dehumidifier.”

I answered, “True, it’s a bit damp, I thought about the dehumidifier, but that would be a giant red flag that says ‘major problem,’ and I don’t need to advertise that.  Also, I think in this house, people will assume the basement is damp, so the dehumidifier will just create work for me and the sellers, ie. having to empty it every night.”

She responded, “Right.  Well, you should get one.”

I said, “Mmm…hmmm…..I know.”

Amazingly, she said, “So are you going to get one?  They’re on sale at Canadian Tire right now for $29.99.”

“Are the owners currently living here?”

This was my favourite, since the house was completely vacant.

“They’re minimalists,” I wryly responded.

“Riiiiight,” she said, as she nodded and may or may not have understood my sarcasm.

“They hate possessions.  Any, and all, possessions.  I think they feel better, the less they have.”

She nodded, and walked away.  Did she really believe that?  Poor girl!

“It’s really hot in here!  Why don’t you turn on the air conditioning?”

Well, I didn’t turn on the air-conditioning because there is no air-conditioning.

See that field on MLS that reads “A/C?”  Well, where it says “NONE” in bold – that’s the reason why it’s so hot in here.

Trust me – on this 34-degree day in July, I surely would have turned the air-conditioner on.

But thanks for the suggestion!

“How come there are only two bathrooms?”

Well, I guess because there isn’t a third one, nor is their a fourth, or a fifth.

How come you’re only wearing a two-piece suite?  Where’s the vest, bro?

“Do you know the average income of the people on this street?”

Um, yes, I do.

Because I have no life, and in my spare time, I knock on 40 doors and ask people to see their T4’s…

Seriously?  I mean – “Know your product,” and all, but seriously?

“What – No sandwiches?”

No, but there’s a Subway down the street.

And if you go about two blocks east, there’s a movie theatre where you could probably snag a few kernels of free popcorn…

You all thought I was kidding when I said that many Realtors get fed every day by going to catered open houses!  But this is proof!

“I heard somebody got shot on this street like ten years ago.  Did you hear that?”

No, I didn’t.

But that’s because ten years ago, I was just getting out of rehab, and that was before I had the surgery that turned me from a woman to a man…

What a stupid question!  I’m a real estate agent; not a historian, and not the Encyclopedia Britannica.

.

Wow.

Why am I even here?

There must have been two agents, out of about twenty, that had something positive to say.

There were about three recognizable, respectable agents who showed up that I was happy to talk shop with, and who I was pleased to see attending my agent’s open house.

But as for the rest, I felt like these people were just talking to hear themselves speak.

The last guy through – at about 1:29pm, just before I closed up, said:

“So how do you feel about your price?”

I said, “Pretty good.  The market seems to have slowed since March/April, but we’re bang-on, the way we see it.”

I asked, “What do you think?”

He answered, “Whhhhhoaaaa, (hehe) it’s not my listing!  No sweat off my neck!”

Okay.  So what’s your value then?  You can’t even throw a penny into the well and guess as to what the property is worth?

The few positive conversations I had with experienced agents made up for all the nonsense, but it was a rather frustrating afternoon.

“Everybody has an opinon,” goes the saying, but some opinions are so misplaced!

For somebody to ask “How could anybody live like this?” makes me wish that this person’s son or daughter spent a year travelling in the bowels of the Congo, and then brought home photos!

I’m feeling more and more like a two-year-old kitchen is no longer acceptable to today’s buyer, via today’s buyer-agent.

Am I wrong here?

Have expectations been blown out of proportion?

I have another listing for a house coming out next week.

Maybe I’ll bring sandwiches this time, just to lighten the mood…

16 Comments

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  1. lui says:

    Whats wrong with condo open houses?…I sold my unit by holding open houses..the buyer can get a feel of the building,security,actual view,etc,etc…they dont have to be pressure by a agent…it work for me…….

    1. Krupo says:

      You might want to re-read the article

  2. Jeremy says:

    Maybe these agents are insulting the property now, so that if their buyers are interested they can use that in their negotiations later? (I’m not saying its a good idea)

    Kind of like how some guys insult girls that they are trying to pick up.

    1. Mad Max says:

      Except insulting chicks you are trying to pick up actually works…very well.

      It’s called insecurity.

      1. @ Mad Max

        Soooo…you’ve read “The Game” by Neil Strauss?

        I read it, assuming it’s fiction. It made it easier to stomach…

        1. Mad Max says:

          Have not read it, heard about it though.

          Fiction? Without having read it, I would say absolutely not! Come on, you;ve never seen this in action? A buddy just demoralizing some hot little insecure idiot in a bar then taking her home? Weekend after weekend in some cases (different girls)?

          I assumed everyone understood this happened, and that the nice guy rarely picks up the hot girl. Unless his wallet is real fat.

          1. Jeremy says:

            I’ve read it, my girlfriend bought it for me as a joke. She’s cool like that.

  3. Gary says:

    I agree, we all say nonsensical comments on occasion, however, there’s a difference between rude and spiteful vs nervous chatter in social situations.

  4. Pen says:

    Couldn’t agree more David. They’re a waste of time. It took me only 3 listings after geeting into this business to recognize that these can actually work against your seller. The home and property was absolutely stunning on a deep lot backing onto the 407 over on the east side. The back yard extended at least 100 feet which was lined by mature trees on all perimiters. Beyond that was at least another 100 feet before a burm and more trees then 50 or so more feet to the highway.

    It was crammed with agents all with similarly stupid comments or questions. Two partners stood in the kitchen staring out into the back, one commented – you won’t get what you’re asking for this house because of the noise from the highway, I can’t recommend this to my buyers.’ What noise I asked? The noise from all the passing cars what else? I put my finger to my lips, said shhh, listen and tell me what you hear, now walk through that open patio door, and tell me what you hear. They went silent and bug-eyed for lack of a response.

    So I stopped holding them to deter such types from talking a potential buyer out of viewing on their own. The house sold with multiple offers and set a price that took more than a year to beat.

  5. JC says:

    This reminds me why I don’t do the RECO update course in-class anymore. Too many idiots out there asking questions or offering opinions that make you shake your head wondering how they ever got out of high school – much less got a real estate license.

    I don’t do open houses for condos either. I have a client now that asked why I didn’t do one (was talking to someone else who of course, had to offer an opinion). I told him that with all the construction in his area, no one was going to risk a parking ticket or spend 10 minutes looking for parking and I’m not feeding the one agent who’ll show up only because they’re too cheap to buy their own lunch.

    Houses? Of course. Condos? Nope.

    What about public open houses when people walk in and turn their nose up at everything? I’d love to follow them home and see what they live in that makes them feel so superior!

  6. Joe Q. says:

    I would actually be concerned if the basement was noticeably damp and there was no dehumidifer. It’d be a red flag for possible mould problems.

    On an unrelated note — what about “sale price raffles”? Write your best guess on the back of your business card, throw it in the jar, and whoever’s closest wins a prize? Are these still common at agent open houses?

  7. Ralph Cramdown says:

    The acid test is… how many times has an agent attended one of your broker’s opens and subsequently brought a buyer?

    I sold a house privately this spring for relatives. There was lots of agent interest, and I told every last one of them that I’d cooperate (i.e. pay) if they brought me a buyer. Had a lockbox and everything. Bupkis. The highlights:

    Agent 1 told me he’d list it for 1.5%, and we could offer 2.25% to the other side. “What percentage of listings in this city advertise less than the standard 2.5%?” “Less than 10%.” “So your advice is that I should put a big flag on my MLS listing telling agents to sell their clients someone else’s house rather than mine?” I may be cheap, but I’m not stupid. And this guy, recovering from surgery, couldn’t even negotiate the stairs to see the basement. Truly a champ.

    Agent 2 wanted the place for herself. She was new to the business and hadn’t made a single sale in her career. Walked through the place with her dog under one arm and a bag of its byproduct in the other hand, then started wondering why the place smelled bad. Only had a budget for 89% of asking (I filled her in on how Royal Bank will lend you $40k for six months at 0%), and was concerned that her husband wasn’t going to want to sell their place up the street, as they’d only been there seven months, said they might part ways over the issue. Sure enough, she listed her place a few weeks later — I attended the broker’s. Cluttered with oversized furniture in not-oversized rooms. A few weeks after that, the sign came down, but no sold sign. Hmm. Drove by her place when we were checking out the old homestead last weekend. Moving truck in the driveway and what looked to be the remains of a garage sale. Hmm. Too much information, you say? That’s what I thought.

    Agent 3, driving by, inquires as to the price out his car window while I’m talking to another customer. Upon hearing it, says “That’s LOW!” “Try a higher offer” says I.

    My advice: Have a feature sheet and a lockbox, but don’t waste too much time on ’em.

    1. Market Bull says:

      Hey Ralph, great story, which apparently you can’t stop expounding upon. Wow, sold one house privately and now you’re an expert on everything related to real estate.

      Why don’t you do us all a favour and get your real estate licence already, so you can show us all just how it’s done.

      1. Ralph Cramdown says:

        Do you know any TREB affiliated brokers who’ll allow me to park a license with them for a reasonable annual fee?

        Oh, one more anecdote, since you enjoy them so much. At agent #2’s brokers’ open, another agent, upon being told by the host about my property and my sale, sniffed “that property sold itself.” So apparently, I don’t deserve much credit. But you know what they say, you don’t make your money when you sell real estate, you make your money when you buy it.

        1. Market Bull says:

          Why not go all the way Ralph and earn your broker’s licence and then you can “park” your licence with yourself?

          You remind me of a few characters I’ve met over my last 25 years in the business, whose real estate careers lasted right up until they ran out of relatives.

          1. Ralph Cramdown says:

            Why not “earn” my broker’s license? Obviously because I believe that in my situation it would likely be more cost effective not to.

            You remind me of the guy who lived across the street from the place I sold. Former agent, with an alcoholic’s neon-red nose. Wanted to bring me a buyer, wanted to get paid for it, wanted it in writing. I told him absolutely I’d pay and we agreed on terms, but I told him there was no point in putting it in writing as the contract would be unenforceable, being that neither of us were licensed. He was a great talker, though. If you were to share some interesting stories with us, you might approach his level of entertainment.

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