I did two open houses this weekend in Auburn. Another agent in my officeis the listing agent. Often times our office will trade-up and hold open houses for one another in each others listings. This is common in every office. Now, both of these listings are in very favorable neighborhoods, and traffic is always good, even when it rains. So Monday I agreed to do both Saturday and Sunday, 2-4, in each of these houses. They were to be put in the local newspaper, on Friday in the real estate special, The Homeseeker, and line ads on the day of in the classifieds.
The last few days have been fraught with activity for my clients, both buyers and sellers. It's been an exciting last couple of weeks with all of the traffic I have been getting from prospects. I've been extremely busy, so I didn't have time to...
Wait a minute. I left out a detail. Our office has recently had to start seriously monitoring our use of the network printer, a Toshiba eStudio 3510. We use it for all of our in-office printing for black and white as well as color printing. It's also our fax machine and scanner. It's one of those mac-daddy machines that does everything but burp babies. We have some scholars in my office who don't know how to proofread before printing so there has been alot of abuse and wasted ink, which is NOT CHEAP. So, a few months back they implement a 5 digit code for each and every person in the office that you have to type-in before the "gatekeeper" will print what you want it to. This helps the powers-that-be keep up with who is printing what. Yes, I know I'm spoiled for having such a great and wonderful owner of the company who doesn't make us pay for our printing. (I hear that there are actually other offices that make their agents PAY for each and every page printed! Can you believe that?) Stacy Jordan, who I've spoken about before, is the best owner an agent could work for. I understand that we need to watch costs. But that 5-digit code ticks me off! If I tracked the time that I spend on a weekly basis typing that stupid code in, I could had a few productive hours that I'll never get back. You have to type it in to do ANYTHING: print, copy, scan, or fax! Sometimes I feel like doing the beatdown of the printer from the movie Office Space. It takes time to get things printed. Now we can't print in-color without one of the only 2 people in our office, who have the privilege, to print it for us. Yes, I know, it was like that at MY high school too.
Now, BACK TO OUR STORY--------> I didn't have time to gather fliers, info about similar listings, things to pass-out to my open house visitors. It would've taken too long and since I had to get someone else to print in color, I asked a few people in my office on Friday for the things I would need for the weekend. I had commitments all day Friday so I didn't have time to thumb through my materials.
I asked my assistant Missy to create a mini flier, one that would fit four to a regular sheet. It has link information for prospects and has worked quite well. Got that printed, in-color, no problem.
I asked the listing agent for spec sheets (both listings are new construction) and asked the other support staff for a printing of all the listings in the price range of the house I was doing a open house for on each day. Last weekend, I did that at another open house and more people took the sheet with all of the listings than any other material I had to offer. Well, the way I asked was that a list of "all the other houses in these price ranges in the neighborhood" be where I could hand out to prospective buyers. She did it. Exactly as I asked, without the house I was doing an open house in, included. By the way, her name is Charity Edwards, and no other office in the land has a sweeter office manager, that goes above and beyond like she does. She's also easy on the eyes andthat's nice too. Sorry fellas, she's married to my friend Ryan. I can't fault her at all. She did it EXACTLY as I asked, and with a smile.
On the first day's open house, I was in a new neighborhood, so the printout I got for that was of the whole neighborhood's floorplans and styles. No prices. "They vary too much." Wish I'd known we really didn't have accurate pricing, woulda done something myself.
I show up, in plenty of time to put out my directional signs and balloons, and bring in all my print-outs. Some folks pulled-up just as I was bringing the last load in. The walk straight up to me as I'm stacking papers and ask the obvious,
"How much is this house?"
"Duh. Um. Uh. Ugh."
I had NO pricing info. Had everything else that I had asked for. Just didn't have pricing. Somehow, I managed to recall some of the information that I had heard from the agent during an office meeting several weeks prior. I also called my friend Wendy, who works with one of the builders in the neighborhood and told me some prices that she had. I used a little bit of both, mixed-in with a whole lot of bull%*#$, and somehow convinced these people to let me get back to them. They actually want me to take a look at listing their home as well as build in that neighborhood. Wow. All off my own ca-ca.
I had copies of Friday's Homeseeker on hand and noticed that the house I was doing an open house in wasn't listed. Great day. I had about 5 groups show-up miraculously. Lesson #1 learned. Check your materials.
Then on Sunday, I go to another house, again getting signs out and balloons out. I get in the open house and find that, oh yeah you guessed it, NO PRICING, NO NOTHING. I looked on the sheet I asked Charity to print, nothing. I searched the house. Notta. I looked at the Homeseeker, and saw the square footage, address, and price. More than I had the day before! I called a few colleagues to see if they could get me anything on the fly, and come to find out, the price in the Homeseeker was wrong! For the 2nd day in a row, I did an open house with no handouts whatsoever.
And it was ALL my fault. The moral of the story boys and girls is to always proofread. Always check your materials before an open house. Be prepared. I wasn't. Don't make the same mistake that I did.