The WORST Open House I've Ever Visited

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

Let me set the house

Last week I was in Arizona speaking at the Tucson Festival of Books, and afterwards visiting my sister who lives there. On Sunday, we went to a Cactus League game and then to an art show. I'd forgotten to eat and we'd been out and about since mid-morning, so by the time we were heading home, this little introvert was hungry and pretty much out of social steam.

We stopped off at an open house in my sister's neighborhood. Cool, said Jennifer. I'm always up for a little real estate, even if I am ready for a nap.

Oh, my heavens. If you ever need a lesson on what NOT to do to your Open House visitors, just go visit one of, um... okay, I won't name names, but one of this gal's opens...

I don't remember paying extra, but we got the full-on, deluxe guided tour. I mean - we saw everything that house had to offer. And it was a big house. We watched as the agent demonstrated how the custom window coverings opened and closed. Not just one, but all six! Wow - push a button and the shade goes up. Push it again and it comes down. On all six windows! Amazing.

In case we missed the custom columns in the dining room, she pointed those out to us (twice). Same with the travertine floors, which are, she reminded us, very easy to keep clean. She described in detail how the seller would agree to provide a landscaping allowance in case we didn't fully appreciate his taste in pool decor (even explained how the credit would appear on our closing statement). We learned how the grassy area of the yard was perfect for kids or pets. How, from this angle over here, there was an amazing view.

Returning back inside, we were shown the guest rooms with the spacious closets. In case we missed it (or didn't know enough to care about) the HVAC unit, she pointed it out to us. (Later, she showed us the second one). As we were touring the master suite, we were assured that the home included a home warranty, that the agent had negotiated a special deal with her title company (so title insurance would be very reasonable) and how her preferred lender would pay for our appraisal.

My gas tank was below empty at this point. I was literally stumbling along behind my much-more-polite sister, who managed to keep a smile on her face and a running appreciative commentary on all the features. She must have received the telepathic messages I was sending her to PLEASE not introduce me as Jennifer Allan, author of Sell with Soul because I was decidedly NOT at my most impressive!

When we were finally allowed to leave, we managed to keep quiet until we got to the safety of the car... where we both exploded with "That was the WORST..."

And here's the thing. Aside from the fact that we probably don't care much about the HVAC system and can see the dining room columns without help, the agent didn't show ANY interest whatsoever in us - our wants, needs, interests or motivation. No attempt to build rapport. Just a determination to do her full sales-pitch, whether or not that sales-pitch was appropriate given the audience. 

Hey, I used to think I was the world's worst open-house-giver. But now, I'm not so sure...


Stay tuned for "The Worst Emailed Sales-Pitch I've Ever Gotten!" coming soon...

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Pam Miller
Realty Associates - Friendswood, TX
Broker Associate - Pearland/Friendswood

We have 2 ears and one mouth for a reason. 

You and your sister were extremely polite..... and received Way too much information!!!

This is usually the time I would use my "Mother" voice and say - If we have any questions we will let you know. 


Mar 26, 2010 03:47 PM #118
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Wow!  What a great way to scare off potential buyers and make sure they never come back.

Mar 26, 2010 04:30 PM #119
Bill Jones
Discovery Real Estate Ltd. - "Homes By Jones" - Airdrie, AB
Realtor (403-701-1739) Airdrie & Calgary Area Homes and Condos

She must have been new , I couldn't imagine her lasting long with that approach.


Mar 26, 2010 04:46 PM #120
Laura Coffey
Keller Williams VIP Properties - Valencia, CA
Keller Williams VIP Properties

Great post thanks for sharing.

Mar 26, 2010 05:18 PM #121
Daniel Bretzke
Better Properties RE Seattle King - Seattle, WA
Daniel P Bretzke

I enjoyed the description about the worst open house from a client's perspective.  I once had an open house that was invaded by all the neighborhood kids.  At first it was just one child, then another then another, and then before I knew the house was full. Just as fast as it was filled it was empty, and everything  had been touched, looked at and moved.  

I liked the house being full of young happy voices, but..... I didn't like the aftermath. 

Mar 26, 2010 05:19 PM #122
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

A few years ago I was asked to support one of our office's high end builder clients at a Gallery of Homes Opening night. Silk suit, high heels, and a sparkling personality were all prescribed accessories. In the first 10 minutes I learned that the builder-client wanted, expected, demanded, that the features of his 6000 sf home be presented accurately and in detail to each of the 5,000 people expected that afternoon and evening. Ugghhhhhh.....I like to chat and listen and see where it goes. Usually, when I host an Open House (and I did 33 last year), I pitch a little, listen a little, and let the visitor set the tone. The gal who did your guided tour sounds like a former builder agent or developer sales rep..she believes that pitching the home is how you sell houses. Frankly, I'd like to be her sales manager and direct her enthusiasm into something productive....

Mar 26, 2010 05:35 PM #123
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.

Some agents target future sellers who may be visiting the home, this might be her target in which case I agree with Paul, if a neighbor or person came posing as buyers which they often do to interview agents and see how they handle themselves, then she would be a good choice for them.  For targeting a buyer, well lacking in that arena, but certainly would please the sellers.  To each his own I guess.

Mar 26, 2010 06:52 PM #124
June Piper-Brandon
Long & Foster Hampden - Baltimore, MD
Piecing Dreams One Home at a Time

I guess she hasn't heard that open houses don't sell houses, they sell agents and agents acquire buyers. 

Mar 27, 2010 01:02 AM #125
Stephen Garner
Hub Media Company - Tempe, AZ
Hub Media Company

Thats funny.  I can just imagine her demonstrating the blinds, did they al go up and down at the same speed?  I like visiting open houses as well sometimes just to see how I will be approached, is it al about you or me?  Some agents are great about finding my needs, others...not so much.   Maybe this agent was new? 


Mar 27, 2010 02:19 AM #126
Patrick Harfst
Realty Executives - Phoenix AZ - Gilbert, AZ


Who won the Cactus league game? Did you enjoy the fine AZ weather?

Mar 27, 2010 02:23 AM #127
SEO Expert: Michael George
Phoenix, AZ
Real Estate and Law Firm SEO

Hey Jennifer-- I hope you enjoyed Arizona.  And next time you are here, look me up darn it!  I would love to have met you and bought you lunch.

Mar 27, 2010 04:17 AM #128
Mike Woods

I have heard of don't go to the grocery store hungry but never don't visit an open house hungry. Both make very goosd sense though.

Mar 27, 2010 04:56 AM #129
Linda Metallo DiBenardo
RE/MAX Impact, Lockport, Illinois - Lockport, IL

Sounds like something a seller would do.  Here's the linen closet, new fan only 8 years old.....

Mar 27, 2010 04:58 AM #130
Charlie Ragonesi - Big Canoe, GA
Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros

I have a seller who is working on his house and keeps it open. I make him leave when folks come by to see it. He would rival your story. Maybe they are related ?

Mar 27, 2010 08:25 AM #131
Randy Prothero
eXp Realty - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645

She was either new or the owner.  I have found agents selling their own homes become the worst agents.

Mar 27, 2010 09:07 AM #132
Stacie Colclasure
Gateway Holding and Referral Company - Bethalto, IL
Realtor, Bethalto, IL

I wish I would've known you were gonna be in Tuscon; I was in Phoenix last week on vacation.  I definitely would've made the trip over to Tuscon to see you!  Let me know if you're ever in the St. Louis area.

Mar 27, 2010 04:50 PM #133
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

ROFL...I'm still laughing...the visual of the window blinds demonstration will stay with me for quite some time, I am sure!  LOL

Mar 28, 2010 01:46 PM #134
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Wow, that sounds more like a tour bus approach doesn't it.  It's been so long since I have held a house open I am not sure what my "style" would be!

Mar 29, 2010 01:48 PM #136
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Wow - so many good comments here that I wasn't notified of!

Stacie - SHOOT! I would have loved to have met you too! I was in Tucson and Phoenix... and I drive thru St. Louis fairly often - I didn't realize you were near there...

Randy - I know I am when I have my own house listed... I'm not THIS bad, but probably close...

Michael - I thought of you after I got back home - and the next time I'm there you probably won't be if your plans work out!

Patrick - we left in the 6th inning, but the A's were blowing the Royals away.

Mar 30, 2010 12:09 AM #137
Dora & Vincent Kwok
HomeSmart Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
CNE - Chandler, Arizona Real Estate

Got to remember not to talk about the HVAC, details about the closing statement, and pointing out the detailed columns... :)   Thanks for sharing

Apr 05, 2010 05:39 PM #138
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