Property Grunt

Saturday, April 23, 2005

More Open House Hijinks

The New York Times recent article on How Not to Behave at an Open House goes to show how Curbed and the Property Grunt are on the cutting edge of real estate journalism because as far as the Grunt knows Lockhart was the first on the scene and the Grunt was right behind him writing about the wacky hijinks that occur in open houses way before the New York Times. I have no doubt that my email will full of replies from Joyce Cohen of how wrong I am. But I am willing to risk it.

It’s an excellent article and I hope people realize what brokers go through when we put on these lavish productions to sell a home.

One of the quotes caught the Grunt’s eye

Window shoppers seem to commit the most serious lapses. "People who have nothing better to do with their lives but look at apartments on the weekend - those are the people who come in and use the bathroom," Mr. Orenstein said. (Note to buyers: always ask permission to use the bathroom, and never - repeat, never - draw olfactory attention. Parents, this includes diaper changes.)

This happened to the Grunt at a recent open he was holding. A broker came in with her daughter to look at the apartment and asked if her very young daughter could use the bathroom since they had just come from a party in Central Park. Grunt couldn’t refuse and showed them the bathroom. When the Grunt was letting in another group of buyers into to the apartment, he realized that the mother had left the bathroom door open allowing everyone to see her daughter go about her business unattended. The Grunt was horrified and politely and firmly asked the mother to stop what she was doing and shut the door.

Of course I realized that the mother had no intention of bringing a buyer at all but treated the open house as a rest stop. Learn some manners people.

It is however a hopeless situation for brokers.

Joanne Tavis, a senior associate broker at Halstead Property, observed one well-heeled buyer sample from a bowl of cherry tomatoes and then stuff his pockets with them on his way out. "What was I going to say, 'Stop, thief, tomatoes?' "

There is only so much a broker can do and it is common knowledge that open house agents have to exercise a tremendous amount of restraint at open houses which visitors often take advantage of.