Note to Self: Remember to check your materials before holding an open house!

Real Estate Agent with Prudential Preferred Real Estate

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.

Open House



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. Toshiba E-studio 3510We 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.

Comments (7)

Mark Artesani
Keller Williams Realty - Fountain Valley, CA
Huntington & Newport Beach, Fountain Valley Homes


I showed up to a open house with buyers at the door and my Supra key was dead. I forgot to put it in the charger. I ran home put it in the charger and was back in an hour but the damage was done.


Feb 09, 2009 12:10 AM
Jay Knorr
Prudential Preferred Real Estate - Auburn, AL
Auburn Al Properties

Bummer Mark! I've shown up with buyers several times when my key was dead, but never an open house. I should add that to this:

Feb 09, 2009 01:10 AM

Could your broker have printed out your materials and brought them to you?  Oh, wait that would have involoved me actually being helpful, plus I am not allowed to print color either.


Feb 09, 2009 01:35 AM
Laura Sellers

Jay, some days are just like that.  Better luck next time!

Feb 09, 2009 02:22 AM
Ian Niquette
Square One Home Inspection - Markesan, WI

Jay, great lesson learned I hope. You weren't a Boy Scout were you? "Be Prepared"

Feb 09, 2009 02:38 AM
Jay Knorr
Prudential Preferred Real Estate - Auburn, AL
Auburn Al Properties

Taylor, I have the coolest broker ever. It's the thought that counts. And! if we could print color, that MIGHT have been a possibility.

Laura, ever had one of those days?

And Ian, I wasn't a boy scout unfortunately. However I AM a Cub Scout Den Leader for my son's Tiger Cub Den.

Feb 11, 2009 12:36 PM


This stuff happens ALL the time! I could tell you a heckuva lot of stories that have happened to me over my career - some of it extremely embarrassing - like ripping out my crotch climbing from a ladder to a roof for an inspection in a 12 building apartment complex (yeah - broad daylight and having to track back through the complex and into the leasing office - with a 15" gash from my zipper down my pants leg). Oh, I can't forget - "I have the wrong key" on several commercial high-dollar properties over the past 10 years. Fun stuff.

As an owner who owns one of those high-tech machines that doesn't make their agents pay for it, the five digit code is a MUST (though ours is 3). It allows us to figure out who is printing/copying the most items (maybe printing incorrectly) and gives me the opportunity to discreetly talk with that agent/employee and see what's causing the high use. Maybe more training is needed? Maybe just a heckuva lot of business? Maybe a lot of personal use? It sux, but our agents appreciate the free use of the machine. I just gotta make sure I don't lose an arm and a leg providing it!

You've got great support staff! Wish I could hire Charity myself...

Feb 16, 2009 08:08 AM