#8 – Selling a house – the first OPEN HOUSE!

As you know, for the past week we’ve been getting one of my listings ready for sale and to feature on my new TV show on Rogers. It went active on MLS on Friday and I put an ad up on Ottawa Kijiji yesterday for today’s Open House between 2-4.

For some strange reason, although that ad went live, it doesn’t show up in “My Kijiji,” the page that lets you manage and edit your ads. In fact, the Kijiji webpage tells me I don’t even have an active ad, and yet there it is, with over 80 views on it already.

Of course, this  would be the ad where I not only spelled my own brokerage’s name wrong (Lepage instead of LePage) but gave credit to Blake’s Photography instead of Blake Photography–sigh. I will correct these errors as soon as Kijiji lets me: I’ve filed a “help” ticket with their support team and hope we can get it sorted out. Until then, my ad seems to be stranded in cyperspace.

Meanwhile, I was very happy to see that my one-line Open House ad hit the Ottawa Citizen not once but twice in Saturday’s paper. These are the ads that people cut out and carry with them when they’re out looking at houses.

Unfortunately, the listing was too late to meet Wednesday’s deadline for the back page ad in the Ottawa Citizen but we’ll get that done next week. (These are the ads you see that often have the realtor’s photograph in them as a thumbnail and some information about the listing: kind of the like the jacket blurb on the back of a book.)

There are some routine things that a realtor has to do for any Open House. We prepare sign-up sheets so that we can keep track of who comes in. We also do up coloured feature sheets with basic info and photographs of the home that are usually left on a table or counter: these are for potential buyers to take with them; black-and-white ones are for agents.

I’ll have plastic “Please remove shoes” signs at the front door (particularly after the three and a half hours I spent cleaning the carpet last week; I certainly don’t want to have to do that again!) and  a “Please register” sign.  I’ll often bring in fresh flowers; sometimes I’ve hosted Open Houses that have refreshments, but I found that most people don’t bother helping themselves, regardless of how tasty they may be: they’re there to look, not to snack.

And of course, the Open House sandwich board signs have to go up too, directing people to where the Open House is being held. These can only go up on the day of an Open House, and there are some rules as to where we can put them up  and for how long, so you’ll often see realtors out early on a Sunday morning scouring a neighbourhood for good points of visibility. (I’ve heard the best place is next to a KFC, but I’ve never had a listing near one, so I can’t tell  you if that’s true or not!)

I often forget where I’ve put my signs up and have to drive around for a while trying to find them. (I have the same problem in parking lots. If I don’t park in exactly the same place, I simply forget where my car is and wander around aimlessly trying to find it and feeling a bit foolish.)

I’ll go to the listing around 1:30 to get things set up. That means turning on all the lights, opening doors and curtains, and last minute primping. Sometimes  I’ll do a drop (brochure, newsletter or note card) to neighbours in the area, inviting them to come to the Open House but I think I’ll do that next weekend instead. I may even host a special Open House for neighbours one evening this week.

Because the listing didn’t go active until Friday and I was out of town on Thursday, I wasn’t able to do an Agent Open House. We hold those on Thursdays for other agents to come and take a peek. After all it’s agents who sell the vast majority of homes in Ottawa, far more than Open Houses. (Or as we say,  Open Houses sell agents, not houses: they’re where we get to meet potential buyers and sometimes find new clients.)

Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing how many people turn out today — the house looks so fantastic!  Fingers crossed it doesn’t rain!

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4 Responses to #8 – Selling a house – the first OPEN HOUSE!

  1. Diane says:

    Love this blog Peggy. A lot of buyers/sellers simply think that agents stick a ‘For Sale’ sign in their
    front lawn then walk away. Agents have hours of preparation if they are lucky sometimes just a day to do a weeks worth of work to get a property ready for market. I have done my fair share of open houses since not a lot of agents have the luxury of working through the weekend and need down time to spend with family and friends. Many of my open house has brought in offers from other agents who have sent their clients to the open house. I am so happy you are posting this blog. It is important for the public to understand the hours, work, preparation, and sacrifices we make to sell a home. Diane (colleague)

  2. jan lou says:

    Ditto from me and I’m not in the market at all right now! I’m not buying or selling a house, don’t have anything to do with the real estate business but I really enjoy reading this blog, Peggy. It really is a window on the business – and more. I must confess that I particularly enjoy posts about fixing up places, staging, decorating etc. Those really appeal to the DIY part of me, also the hoarding part of me. (I’m saying to myself that, who knows, I might need those extra pillows and that spare dresser someday … I’ll squirrel them away in the basement for now.)
    All fun aside, your blog is truly informative, interesting, Thanks!

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