REALTOR MAGAZINE Has It All Wrong, "A National Open Door Policy."

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP 0524642

Realtor Magazine recently published an article titled A National Open Door Policy. The gist of the article suggests that real estate office throughout the country should promote an open-door policy that would allow real estate agents with other companies to use their public space for quick safety check-ins with new clients.


There are more sensible, practical and intelligent ways to ensure your own safety without meeting your client in another real estate office where you do not pay to be a sponsored agent. I prefer to meet my buyers at my office prior to showing them any properties. The initial meeting is a productive way to get to know each other, explain the buying process and to lay out a strategic plan on finding the right home. Many agents also like to meet someone for the first time in a public setting to help ensure their safety, particularly when they don't have an officer or when time doesn't permit driving to it.  I get it, but if you work for RE/MAX you shouldn’t be meeting your client at a Keller Williams office to “meet for the first time.” It’s unprofessional and just silly.


Consider the alternatives:


1.   1. Any restaurant lounge where you can have a cup of coffee or iced tea.

2.   2. Any sitting area at Starbucks, they’re everywhere.

3.   3. Any sitting area at your local grocery store. 

4.   4. The Realtor room or closing table at any title company in town.

5.   5. One of your many preferred lenders conference rooms.

6.   6. You could meet at any of your preferred insurance companies conference rooms.

sd  7. Any hotel lobby.


The list goes on.


Let’s consider the many reasons how this open door policy could be abused.


1.   Let’s assume John with Keller Williams meets his buyer at my office, RE/MAX. When he shows up he brings his buyer, 5 screaming kids, a few strollers and someone else who wanted to come along for the ride. This small entourage of outsiders is now occupying space in our lobby (for that handshake.) What if 5 other agents in the area did the same thing (for just that initial handshake) then we’d have 15-20 people wondering around using the bathroom, asking for copies, looking for coffee and simply occupying space that they shouldn’t be.


2.   Sadly there are real estate brokerages out there who believe recruiting agents and stealing clients is the way to get ahead in real estate. They would take complete advantage of the situation. As terrible as it sounds, it happens. It’s happening now as you read this.


3.   Home buyers and sellers shouldn’t be walking into your competitor’s office to meet you. It’s just stupid. It makes you look like you cannot afford your own office so you needed to borrow the lobby of some who could.


4.   What if the buyer asked why you met him at a Keller Williams office if you worked for Coldwell Banker? You should never pass off any type of hint that you cannot trust what you hope is a future client.  This is why meeting in a public setting (outside of a competitors office) would be much more professional and practical. I have read online how some Realtors are asking buyers they have never me to meet them at the police station. I would be incredibly offended if a Realtor asked me to meet them at a police station. GET AN OFFICE! BUY ME A CUP OF COFFEE! And for God's sake, leave your husband at home! This isn't high school and i'm not taking you out on our first date!


5.  What if you and your buyer had a falling out? The first thing he is likely to consider is walking back into the office (where you don’t work) to find new help. Then, after you’re fired, you’ll blame it on the other office for “stealing your client.”


At the end of the day each Realtor has to be smart about their safety. That is a given. It’s also a given that we can all care about each other without being foolish. Use the public places all around you to promote YOUR business. Spend the money to turn your customers into clients. A nice conversation over a cup of coffee (maybe  spend the money on an appetizer) could go along way. People loved to be fed. Customers love the way they are treated. Don’t alienate a potential life long client by dragging them to an office that isn’t your own. Don't make a man feel like a crook by asking him to meet you at the police station. Be smart, treat customers like they are the most important thing in your business life and use some common sense.





Posted by


Greg Nino
, Houston area Realtor®.
Helping residential buyers, sellers and tenants 7 days a week.
Available @ 832-298-8555 

RE/MAX Compass (Formerly RE/MAX WHP)




The information contained in this blog is believed to be reliable and while every effort is made to assure that the information is as accurate as possible, the author of this blog, and its comments disclaim any implied warranty or representation about it's accuracy, completeness or appropriateness for any particular purpose. All information is copywritten and the property of Greg Nino.  






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Susan Emo
Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Brokerage - Kingston, ON
Kingston and the 1000 Islands Area

I was hoping this was a joke and read to the end to discover it is not April Fool's Day!!!   Ridiculous concept.   I agree with everything you've said EXCEPT for the part about leaving the husband at home . . .   I will forever listen to my gut instinct and it has served me well.   The buddy system works well in diving as well as Real Estate :)

May 21, 2015 03:53 AM #1
Karen Hurst
Rhode Island Waterfront!

I agree with everything except the husband part also. My husband is also part owner but even if he wasn't I like having him there. This may be a purely female point of view. I did not see this proposal but it makes no sense at all.

May 21, 2015 03:58 AM #2
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

There have been times when it would be nice to "borrow" a more local conference room for a closing or to stop and quickly scan something, but otherwise, no, I don't want to be meeting clients at a competing brokerage.  At worst, maybe another RE/MAX agency might not confuse anyone too much, but even then, I don't have a key to the place, and after hours is when I'd probably most likely need it.

So I've done as you've mentioned, Starbucks, Mickey D's, anyplace that has free Wifi and we're doning business.

May 22, 2015 01:17 AM #3
Sherry Scales
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Leander, TX
Realtor, for Austin, TX and surrounding areas

Totally agree. The only time I would show up at an office I wasn't apart of was if I felt my life was in danger.   (Not sure that a bunch of teenagers at McDonalds would know what to do.)  But this open door policy...don't think so.

May 22, 2015 11:00 AM #4
Susan Mangigian
RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A - West Chester, PA
Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches

Good points Greg. Safety is an issue but I can't imagine meeting clients at a competitors office.

May 22, 2015 11:02 AM #5
Fred Griffin, on leave of absence from ActiveRain
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

    Meet at a competitor's office?     How stupid is that?  Once again, NAR proves that it is way out of touch with the reality of selling real estate.

May 22, 2015 11:14 AM #6
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Greg, I had read the article as well.  I think the intent was a good one but in practicality it's not logical. 

May 22, 2015 12:09 PM #7
Anna Chroscicki
Re/Max Masterpiece Realty - Port St Lucie, FL
Realtor - St. Lucie County affordable Real Estate

I agree with everything you said- even with husband part. So many times my husband asked me if he should go with me when I was meeting new buyer at home, not office. I always say "no". I think it looks unprofessional.  It may buyer feel uneasy...just weird. 

May 22, 2015 12:37 PM #8
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Glad I live, work, play and relax in the 4th lowest crime state. Personal safety is never ever a thought or concern. No worries, no taser, no mace.

May 22, 2015 10:34 PM #9
Greg Nino
RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP - Houston, TX
Houston, Texas

The funny thing is when I commented on this post there was a guy who said "Greg if you read some of the comments you'll see that most think it's a good idea." 

Funny thing is that those who don't agree usually don't say so. It's easier to agree. I think like you guys said, it's a nice thought, but not practical in any way. I am welcome at all RE/MAX offices in Houston, but out of respect, I go to a Starbucks, cafe or restaurant. The hospitatily experience is more my style.

May 23, 2015 10:59 PM #10
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
Helping you find your way home.

I feel comfortable walking into other local real estate office, as I know a lot of the agents in those office.

I wouldn't, however, want to host my clients in someone elses's office.  Yep... "outside the box" thinking, that simply should have stayed inside the box.

May 26, 2015 11:08 PM #11
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

I read the article. I think it's interesting, but not practical. I have told agents who are meeting clients for the first time to meet in a public place (or the office). If they are concerned, they have been instructed to ask for an ID and tell the prospect that it's company policy. They can then text me with the info or even take a picture. If someone has an issue giving ID, that is a pretty big red flag.

May 27, 2015 12:21 AM #12
William James Walton Sr.
WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group - Waterbury, CT
Greater Waterbury Real Estate

It definitely wouldn't be a smart idea, IMHO. Otherwise, what is the point of paying the ridiculous fees that we do for our office spaces?

May 27, 2015 04:13 AM #13
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Greg Nino

Houston, Texas
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