Sunday, June 17, 2012

Five Things Any Realtor Can Do To Make Open Houses Safer

     "Open Houses" have been a prospecting staple in the Florida real estate industry for fifty years.  They still work.  Prospects walk into "Open Houses" when they are looking to buy. Many new Realtors get discouraged because when you hold a $350,000 house open, you find $250,000 prospects.  What is wrong with that? 

     Open houses work.  They have always worked.  I believe they always will.  This article is not about open houses.  It is about safety.  Open houses are by their nature dangerous. 

     Rule one; Pay attention.  Start paying attention the minute you arrive at the open house.  Ladies, you do not need to bring your purse into the open house.  Lock it in your car.  Leave it in your car.  Put your car keys and your business cards in your pocket.  Put some protection in your pocket.  Pepper spray, a stun gun or a knife is a handy thing to have when you need it.  This article is not for women.  It is for any Realtors that have ever been alone in an empty house with a prospect.  Pay attention.  What kind of car is your prospect driving?  Is it a Toyota?  Is it a  Cadillac?  Is it a Ford?  What color is it?  How many doors does it have?  How tall is your prospect?  What color is his hair?  Are they carrying something in their hands?  Pay attention.

     Rule two; Ask lots of questions.  Ask their name.  Have a sign in register.  This is good salesmanship.  It is also a good way to ascertain if something is not what it seems.  Ask questions.  If you have a hard time remembering what to ask, write a list of questions.  Create a open house survey.  Where do you live now?  Do you rent or own?  How long have you been looking?  Have you seen a house that you liked but didn't buy?  Will you be paying cash or do we need to arrange financing?

     Rule three;  Know where the exits are.

     Rule four;  Do not box yourself into a room.  Let prospects walk into the room first and you exit first.  It is a good habit.

     Rule five;  It is better to be embarrassed than to be attacked.  Always, always trust your instincts.  At Climer School of Real Estate, I have heard dozens of stories from students about situations they found themselves in.  Ninety nine per cent of the time, something "felt" wrong or spooky.

     I recently had a student tell me about a spooky feeling she had while showing a house to a couple that she had met at the house.  She said she felt spooky.  She walked out to her car, got in, locked her car doors and dialed 911.  The couple came out and she bid them good bye from inside the locked car.  Maybe nothing was wrong.  We will never know and who cares? 

     Trust your instincts.  If things "feel" wrong, something is wrong.  Always put your personal safety ahead of a commission.

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