top of mind
Don’t Leave Door Open to Danger
Open houses put agents at risk and should be curtailed.
We purchase alarm systems to keep strangers out of our homes. But in our professional
lives, we regularly turn around and open
the front door to anyone who turns up, no
questions asked. There’s something wrong
with this picture. The contradiction is exactly why open houses make no sense.
The September kidnapping and
murder of Arkansas real estate agent
Beverly Carter, which frightened us all,
has triggered some serious thinking:
Should we be willing to meet with just
anyone, any where? Though Carter wasn’t
holding an open house—she was meeting
a supposed prospective buyer at a vacant
home—dangers lurk in all corners of the
real estate profession.
Visitors at open houses usually
haven’t even spoken to a mortgage
lender yet; they have no clue how much
the home owner is asking; and chances
are they won’t end up buying the home.
One thing open houses do is put
people’s lives in danger. When you tell
every John Doe that he has the next four
hours to come right on in, you risk becoming a victim. This insanity needs to stop.
The same goes for agents who drop
everything to run out to an empty house
for a first consultation with a potential client. You wouldn’t advise your children to
go on a job interview in an empty house,
would you? So why are you doing it?
Agents need to start changing their
business standards. When a prospective
client contacts you and asks to see a
home, an appointment needs to be
scheduled for them to come into your
office first. If only a few of us do that,
buyers will continue to beat us up and
demand that we run out to show them
homes that we don’t know if they are even
qualified to buy. But if we all made it office
policy that nobody could see homes
without first coming into the office,
consumers would get a better view of the
value of our services. Aside from it being
a safer practice, you would get to sit down
with the client, explain the necessary
documents to them, explain the services
you are going to provide to them, and ask
them to hire you.
I know there are people who say open
houses are an avenue to meeting new
clients and that running out to show a
home to a stranger is just part of the
business. I respect their opinion, but for
me, what’s more important is eliminating
the risk of being hurt—or worse—at an
open house or an empty house. We can
say no to “stranger danger.”
If you want to be paid the big bucks,
you don’t get there by being incautious.
Chasing buyers all over an empty house
to explain legal documents is not very
professional, nor is it safe. How do you
expect the public to take us seriously
when we don’t respect ourselves or use
our time wisely by saying no to a stranger
who demands we run out to show
them a home first before giving us any
information about themselves?
Before we had the technology we
have today, holding an open house was
one of the best ways to try to get new
business, though no less dangerous
then. But we have so many new ways of
attracting new business via Facebook,
Twitter, Instagram, Linkedln, and other
outlets. Buyers have so many ways right
in the palm of their hands to see a home
that it makes the need for open houses
much less pressing.
Not only would halting open houses
and ending first consultations outside the
office create a safer work environment
for all of us, it would also make us feel like
we have more control over our business.
That’s an empowering thought, wouldn’t
Renee Porsia is an associate
broker with RE/MAX Action
Realty in Maple Glen, Pa.
Note: Opinions expressed in “Commentary” do not necessarily reflect the position of the National Association of REALTORS® or REALTOR® Magazine.
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If we all made it office policy that nobody
could see homes without first coming into
the office, consumers would get a better view
of the value of our services.