Property Grunt

Sunday, February 06, 2005


In the classic anime Robotech: The Macross Saga aka Macross the plot centers on a ship called the SDF 1 which is the acronym for Super Dimensional Fortress 1 which is being hunted by the Zentradei. However no matter how many times the Zentradei corner the SDF 1, they are completely destroyed by the SDF 1's main gun which are two pillars that generates and project an obscene amount of destructive energy that reduces everything in its path to ashes.

Open houses are the main gun of the real estate agent for the following reasons.

1. It is a controlled environment where the agent can show their exclusive listing.

2. Presents an opportunity to consolidate as many buyers as possible in one area, which is a more efficient use of time in comparison to making multiple appointments.

3. It also gives the opportunity for the broker to connect and establish a relationship with buyers. On the condition they are not represented by another broker.

The mechanics of an open house

Open houses to the public are usually held Sundays allowing buyers and brokers the best opportunity to view the property. Can brokers hold open houses on any other days? That depends on what type of open house and whether the building and seller will allow it. It is not uncommon to have broker open houses where other brokers invited are to preview an apartment. Usually they are held during lunchtime and a mortgage company will provide free food for the brokers. When it comes to broker open houses Grunt could care less where the apartment is as long there is a free lunch.

Marketing plays a key role in open houses since it needs to be advertised in order for it to be a success. In the Grunt's home base, New York Times ads are put out en masse and the company's website places an open house alert on the broker's web ad. Open houses however can be advertised through blast emails, craigslist and word of mouth.

The next layer of stratification is the seller. The seller needs to understand that in order for the apartment to sell and to take advantage of the market it needs to be shown as much as possible. The Grunt knows many a broker who are handicapped from doing open houses by the seller. What are their reasons? It ranges from the fact that they sellers have no desire to expose their property to a large crowd of people or they maybe a tenant renting the apartment and has the right to bar the open house.

The last layer is the building. They are the ones who either allow or bar open houses. If the building's a coop the board dictates the rules however the enforcement of these rules is either the super, doorman or property management's responsibility. The Grunt has a rental listing in a condo building but it is barred from doing any open houses according to the condo association. The Grunt found away around the situation by putting an ad for an open house by appointment. Which required potential clients to call the Grunt in advance to make an appointment to show which was allowed by the building. That almost blew up in the Grunt's face when an error occurred in the ad indicating it was just an open house and presented the address of the building. Thank you marketing for that being so helpful. May you all catch a raging case of anal fungus.

Steps culminating to an open house:

1. Broker proposes a day and time that is approved by seller and the building.
2. Broker initiates marketing by sending ads to publications with high traffic numbers and other media outlets.
3. Armed with show sheets, sign in sheet and if they are lucky food provided by a mortgage broker, they set up shop in the apartment awaiting buyers and brokers to arrive.
4. Upon the arrival of buyers, the broker will ask them to sign in and provide contact information and indicate if they are working with a broker.
5. Broker will answer any questions and sell the apartment to buyers.
6. Upon conclusion of the open house, broker will close up shop and report to seller about the progress and whether any offers were made. With the sign in sheet, the broker will contact buyers who have no representation and will make them their buyers. THIS IS PERFECTLY LEGAL BECAUSE THERE IS A DISCLAIMER ON THE SHOW SHEET THAT STATES THAT BY SIGNING THEIR NAME THE BUYER IS AUTHORIZING THE BROKER TO CONTACT THEM.

In my next entry I will describe what can go wrong at an open house.