Property Grunt

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Open House Tours

It is raining like a bastard outside. I am wet and cold. While I have your attention I would like to discuss broker open houses. I'll be honest with you I don't go to alot of broker open houses and I don't know a lot of brokers who do. Unless I have a buyer who is seeking what is listed on the broker open house tours, I usually avoid them. The only time when I do go to broker open house tours is when lunch is served.

As soon as I get those emails I scan to see any that indication of free food from a mortgage broker and set up my schedule. I always make an effort to get to the lunch early for obvious reasons. Get there too late all that is left are the scraps. Also you don’t know how many times that sandwich you are eating has been handled by the unsanitary hands of other ravenous brokers.

My best open house lunch was when I went to this fantastic two bedroom in the east village. The agent put it together at the last minute because a deal had fallen through on the apartment. Because it was done so late in they day there was barely any traffic and I pretty much had the entire spread to myself and feasted on sandwiches, chips and brownies.

At another open house the broker forgot to bring plates and napkins and since I was the only one there she asked that I hold the fort while she ran out to get them. I was more than happy to accommodate her especially since she was leaving me alone with the food. It was a challenge for me because I had to rearrange the sandwich plate ten times so it wouldn’t show the gaps left by the sandwiches I ate.

I often enjoy the opportunity to sit down and break bread with my fellow agents especially if it is someone I know from the office. There is something satisfying about eating in a multi-million dollar apartment that I know I can’t afford and gossiping behind the back about a particular agent.

But sometimes they get a little weird. One broker open house I attended was at a townhouse on the upper eastside. Lunch was served in the patio where a very large broker was sitting by the table as if she was guarding the food and she wasn’t even the host. I was able to abscond with a meal under her glare. She was still sitting there after I had looked over the townhouse.

What really pissed me off was when I went to a two broker open houses held in the same building in midtown. According to the email one of the apartments was supposed to be catered. When I saw that the first apartment had no meals, I figured I was in the wrong apartment. Then I went to the second apartment and realized this was someone's idea of a sick joke since the food in that open house was also a no show. I was told, by the broker on scene, that there was a “miscommunication” with the mortgage broker regarding the catering therefore I had to go hungry.

My entire lunch was ruined and I was absolutely furious. Now I had to actually buy my own food. I felt that someone had pulled a bait and switch on me.

What the broker should have done was order a couple of pizzas and bottles of soda. Then either give the bill to the mortgage broker who had screwed them over or just write it off as an expense. If the broker didn’t want to make the effort to buy lunch then at least go to the Duane Read to pick up some 99 cent chips. It’s around the corner for goodness sake.

Yeah. I know. It’s just lunch. But I think it is just plain wrong to tease brokers with free food and drinks.

Obviously the open house with the food gets the most traffic, which leaves the rest of the tour vacant. One open house tour attempted to address that situation by spreading the food to the rest of the tour. One open house had the sandwiches and another had the dessert. Thereby ensuring that there would be some traffic to those homes listed. I am not sure if the idea has caught on since I have not seen the other open house tours apply the same strategy.