We don't know the exact statistics, but it would seem that most Realtors will place open house directionals on people's lawn's without asking. It is a God-given right in a free market society, isn't it?
And what's the harm?
- The signs will only be there a couple hours to a couple days.
- The signs won't harm the lawn.
- I need these signs to direct traffic to my open house.
- Everybody does it.
And then the rationalization...
- I don't have time, my open house starts in five minutes.
- I wouldn't want a stranger knocking on my door on a Sunday morning.
- It would be better to quietly and discreetly place the signs where I need them.
- The homeowner doesn't want to be bothered.
- Maybe the homeowners won't even notice.
- Homeowners have come to expect it.
- Everybody does it.
Well Scott and I have tried and succeeded on the less traveled path - a path that would make Brian Buffini proud. We put together several small "gifts" with very corny tags and our business card (such as a chip clip, "For easy closings, call the Scott Loper Team" or a seasonal offering such as a gourd in the fall, "You'd be out of your gourd not to list with Scott Loper" or a potted herb in spring or summer, "In a pinch, call Scott Loper." You get the idea.
We then knock on every door where we want to place a sign and ask permission to do so - it may be the day before or the day of - it depends on our schedule and township codes as to how early we can place the directionals. We allow enough time to engage the owner in conversation about their neighbor's listing, the market or the weather (whatever they want to talk about - you would be surprised how often they seem interested in talking). We give our gift as a small token of thanks, shake hands and leave. If it is a very positive encounter or we find they too have intentions of moving soon, we add them to our mailing list.
We don't think the gifts are always necessary, it is more important just to ask for the permission. But we use the gifts to make it more fun and somehow, it feels more comfortable for us when we are standing in a stranger's doorway, needing a favor to have something to offer as thanks.
And the reaction? ALWAYS POSITIVE - and are you ready for this? Most homeowners have said, "Sure, of course." But we have occasionally gotten, "Your the first person to ever ask, but I really would prefer you not. I hate it when people put signs there." Or a, "I am glad you asked but we are having a party today and don't want a sign on the lawn." And of course, we respect their request and they seem appreciative. We'll leave them with the gift anyway, a smile and a breezy, "Well, call us when you are ready to move!"
The most memorable response, imagine a larger man with a booming voice almost yelling, "I've lived here for 15 years and every stinking Sunday someone sticks a sign on that corner of my property and no one has EVER asked permission until YOU. Give me your card, when I need a Realtor, I am going with you!"
If the homeowner is not home? We leave the gift with a handwritten note stating our intentions to leave the directional from X time/date to X time/date with a phone number to call us if not acceptable. Sometimes we'll get a call thanking us and "Yeah, it's fine."
This past Sunday (April 11th), I did an open house in a beautiful neighborhood. My last stop to place an open house directional was two doors away from our listing. I had just talked with the homeowners (they were outside tending to their pool and their flowers - so it was an easy stop). Another agent who was also doing an open house on the same street (we coordinated ahead of time to maximize traffic/advertising) zips up in his car, hops out and puts his directional down. I say to him, "Oh, I just talked with the homeowners, they are okay with these signs." He gives me a queer look and says, "Who cares? They don't own the first 10 feet of their property anyway. That's common use." Jumps in his car and zips away. The homeowners and I exchange puzzled looks, they smile and wave as I drive off to my listing.
Bottom line: We don't like doing open houses. We prefer to spend Sunday afternoons with our kids. But if we are going to do them, we want to get the most we can out of them. With a little planning, you might pick up a few sellers or advocates of your business - not just the buyers coming through the open house.
Contact Scott Loper, Associate Broker, Realtor®, RE/MAX Realty Group at 215-513-1333 for help buying or selling a home in Lansdale, Harleysville, Hatfield, Souderton, Skippack, Collegeville, North Wales and the surrounding areas of Montgomery County Pennsylvania. To Search for Homes For Sale in Montgomery County Click Here.
Open House Etiquette - Win More Than New Buyers, Copyright © 2010, The Scott Loper Team, All rights reserved.
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The Scott Loper Team
Scott & Lisa Loper