House Rules

By Robert Plunket April 23, 2007

Listen up, agents—here’s how not to hold an open house.



By Robert Plunket


Well, it finally happened. I set out today looking for some sensational houses and I couldn’t find any. Oh, I found some OK places. But they were all too bland, too ordinary, too over priced, too. . . just not special for any reason. I cannot point my devoted readers toward them and live with myself. So I’ll take this opportunity instead to deliver a little lecture to realtors and sellers about what they’re doing wrong.


            First of all, the use of the word “firm.” As in “$450,000 Firm.” What is that all about? “Firm” is the one word you must never use in real estate. It immediately pegs you as an amateur. And in today’s market it pegs you as a psycho. What’s the point? Is it supposed to weed out the lowballers? Baby, these days you’re praying for a lowballer. Any baller. A phone call, even.


            Next, no price on the flyer. Don’t you realize that’s the only reason people pull over, get out of the car, and struggle to get the info tube open? To find out how much the house costs? Not to put it on infuriates the customer. They literally curse you. Believe me, it does not pique their curiosity. All it does is make them swear not to do business with such a putz.


            Third, you get to the open house and there’s a sign that says “Back in 10 minutes.” Or “I’m in unit 301.” Or “Call 555-5555.” NO! If you hold an open house you be there. I don’t care if you just got a call saying your mother died. You tell whoever called that you’ll be there as soon as you can, but right now you are holding an open house. Always ask yourself “What would Michael Saunders do?”


            And lastly, and most important, serve cookies. Not to feed the freeloaders like me, but as a “memory tool” for your property. After looking at four or five houses in a row they all start to blur. But if the customer can say, “Oh, that’s where they had the good cookies” then he’ll remember your house. It doesn’t have to be cookies; it can be muffins or Godiva chocolates. But it should be something and it should be good.


            Well, that’s it for today. Next week I’m trying something new. An auction! Yes, I’m going to the auction of the townhouses at 1685 Laurel St. One unit will be sold “absolute,” meaning no reserve or minimum. Am I planning to bid? Come and see.

Filed under
Show Comments