Let’s explore open houses from another perspective – holding them. If you’re an abstainer, you may be missing good fortune. If your goal is to increase your business network, would you agree that meeting people is paramount? Aside from oodles of leisure reading time, nothing is gained by being a secret agent. Given the right training and attitude, by building relationships with more people, you can enjoy a healthier “visitor to client” conversion rate and build a great business.

Do you have a certain style, format or methodology for your opens, or do you treat them haphazardly? Do you sit impatiently in someone’s living room on sunny weekend afternoons and pray for the quick passage of time while quietly slipping into slumber? Do you hold them only to help justify the rather large potential commission, or as a legitimate lead generation tool?

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Some enjoy great success with this traditional practice, while others consider them a complete waste of their precious time. Early in my career, I was a member of the latter group; I disliked their passivity. They reminded me of my days sitting in a new home sales office. If a new seller asked me about opens, I’d usually reply that they were a waste of time and an invasion of their privacy.

However, over the years, as I witnessed their growing popularity, my attitude began to change. When I considered that, unlike open visitors, disembodied responders from passive newspaper and Internet ads could easily hang up the phone or ignore emails, I figured I’d give them a try. And I’m glad I did.

Open houses provide tangible opportunities to personally meet and greet real people with whom you have immediate commonality – real estate. Plus you’re on your own turf in an environment you control, and critically, where people come to you. They presumably want a home and you’re a provider, a facilitator of wishes. You have ready access to the product and the ability to bring their dreams into reality.

Some visitors may be nosy neighbours or dreaming drifters seeking decorating ideas or fantasizing about home ownership. That’s fine; at least you meet people. And people know people. Regard it as a chance to kindle connections and expand your business sphere. Collect names and numbers – even from non-prospects – because someday, they may become prospects or recommend you.

Or they may be active searchers. Some may already be established with agents, but many may be orphans. Yes, in this modern age where most buyers begin their search on the Internet, people still get in their cars to circulate the circuit. Internet virtual tours and slide shows are great, but there’s nothing quite like feet on the ground. And if they don’t care for your open house, you’re gifted with a tiny window of opportunity to connect with them. Frankly, in my experience, it’s rare for an agent to sell their own listing from an open house, but many guests will ultimately buy something.

People are regularly attracted to property beyond their monetary means and tour homes completely out of their affordability range. I’d often meet more people who weren’t qualified to buy my listing. If someone looking unsophisticated, maybe roughly attired, walks through the door of your luxury listing, don’t arrogantly (and possibly mistakenly) judge them unworthy. Make an effort to connect and convert them into prospects for another more affordable property. They may respond favourably to your respectful attitude.

If the luxury home is within their financial means, odds are they won’t find it suitable anyway. Then again, they might. If they fail to buy it and you’re able to establish the foundation of a good working relationship, you may sell them something more suitable. As you would prepare for ad callers by having listing details of comparable properties close at hand, you should be aware of other active similar listings. This way, if your visitor doesn’t like or can’t afford yours, you can immediately tell them about others.

Would you agree that making the open house experience interesting for your guests is a smart idea? Instead of just being a gatekeeper while guests wander about, spice it up for them. Create an unforgettable event and make your competitor’s opens pale in comparison. Sell yourself.

To permit your guests to relax and view a slide show of assorted comparable listed properties, bring your laptop or tablet and connect it to the flat-screen TV. Or have your MLS search engine open to other listings in the area. While they’re in the house, show them your wares and what you can do for them. It’s time to sing and dance, so to speak.

You might catch their interest with a competitor’s listing they’d been curious about, or a home they were unaware of. If they’re already homeowners, if they were impressed with your respectful, professional demeanour and expert presentation and marketing skills, you might earn their listing. The longer you’re able to keep them interested, the greater the likelihood you’ll establish the beginnings of a strong connection.

In the next column, I’ll continue this topic and hopefully help you further enrich the open house experience. If you can’t wait, check out my book, The Happy Agent, available virtually everywhere print or e-books are sold, including some real estate board stores.


  1. Hi Alan: It appears that neither one of us will succeed in convincing the other. So, let’s just agree to disagree. In my view, open houses aren’t much different than newspaper or website advertising. When a consumer responds to an ad – or drops into an open house – they become a prospect, and not an immediate client by default as you seem to be suggesting. How the conversation proceeds between agent and consumer from the first “meeting” will determine the nature of the relationship, whether it evolves into a BRA or remains imp-lied. I say again that if the open agent is merely advertising the listing using the open house method of marketing, then in many, if not most situations, the visitor remains a prospect.

    I suggest that by over-complicating this tried and true method of generating buyer prospects, hence working in a fearful environment, one could miss the trees for the forest.

    • Ross,

      We’ve been having a public discussion about a fundamentally important component (Agency Law) in relation to what is supposed to be a “regulated industry”. It’s not about me convincing you or you convincing me, or agreeing to disagree. Others, above us, are responsible for the establishment of Agency Law and its related standards.

      Your last paragraph pretty much says it all though, in terms of your attitude regarding this subject: ” I suggest that by over-complicating this tried and true method of generating buyer prospects, hence working in a fearful environment, one could miss the trees for the forest.” The fact that you could characterize working within the confines of “Agency Law” as akin to working in a “fearful environment” is unbelievable and that you could do so without fear of repercussion should be equally as unbelievable — however the proof of Regulation or the lack thereof, is in the pudding!

      • Alan: First of all, I suggest that no one is “above us”. There are only those administrators, assorted bureaucrats and so-called “experts” who postulate and theorize all day while offering their own biased interpretations of the legislation, according to their enculturated subconscious programming, and with what they sincerely believe are altruistic motivations.

        I successfully practiced real estate long before the terms “agency” and “multiple representation” became part of the daily lexicon. And I did so without ever falling into difficulty in this regard. How? By acting honestly and ethically for people, whether they were, as later differentiated, either clients or customers. I always put their interests clearly ahead of my own, sometimes even to my own financial detriment. I never regretted such behaviour because the result was an exceptionally long, financially and emotionally rewarding career sustained by mostly referrals, personal contact and returning clients. Why was I able to bond with people? Because I was worthy of their trust.

        I have held countless open houses and never ran aground because I always maintained client confidentiality, and performed to the absolute best of my ability. And my clients seemed to appreciate my efforts.

        As I said, properly managed open houses are just another marketing method designed to help fulfill the goals of homeowners. Also, for obvious reasons, they serve the buying public too. Frankly, I seriously doubt that any seller would object to their agent, during an open house, and while maintaining confidentiality, attempting to establish a friendly, mutually respectful bond with visitors. Such bonds could eventually blossom into a customer or client relationship.

        Realtors have a responsibility to make their best legal and ethical efforts, using all the tools in their toolbox, to fulfill their obligations as described in the agency contracts. And that would include generating buyer prospects for the house on open, or if not that particular property, then another seller’s property. With learned skill, if practiced with honesty and ethics, while maintaining client confidentiality, this can be accomplished without falling into legal difficulty.

        Our industry is definitely evolving, for better or worse. One of the worse developments is the apparent proliferation of self-serving sales reps who reputably breach confidentiality, not to mention our code of ethics. Sadly, regulators seem incapable of stopping such behaviour. I believe these disreputable agents are seriously damaging our industry’s already questionable reputation. And if permitted to continue, they’ll ultimately bring ruin on our businesses as we know them. Nevertheless, I see no rules or regulations stopping them. Only some form of house-cleaning. Or a revolutionary redesign of our business model which would permit more active over-sight.

        I’ve heard about agents who, out of fear of getting into trouble, refuse to act for an open house visitor/buyer prospect for their own listing. They fear multiple-representation! Why? I suggest that they simply don’t understand how to manage it. So, one might argue that they’re allowing their fear to prevent them from performing better for their seller. I refuse to live or work under a cloud of fear. It’s not complicated; just be informed, behave ethically and honestly, and put your client’s interests first.

        • Ross,

          The sum total of your responses to me amount to a repudiation of “Agency Law” on your part. At the same time you haven’t refuted any of the benefits of “Agency Law” because you’ve also avoided any technical discussion about it!

          Consequently Ross, I fail to see how you could train or mentor anyone on the subject of Agency Law, as it relates to real estate sales.

          • Well, Alan, we all read and understand only what fits into our personal belief systems and limited subconscious programming. Hence, you seem to have failed to understand my arguments.

            The subject of this particular column, frankly, has nothing specifically to do with agency law. Thus, I had no intention of training anyone in that regard. Open houses are simply a common marketing method used regularly by a countless number of real estate sales reps to hopefully create a sale for the seller, but also to generate prospects for future business.

            One doesn’t need an open house to run afoul of agency law, though it is entirely possible to do so at an open. Any interaction with consumers, be they open visitors, ad callers, referrals or prospects from whatever source can lead to violations. For example, a recent Marketplace (TV production) investigation found that numerous sales reps clearly violated agency law by disclosing confidential offer information and putting their own interests ahead of those of their clients. Will they be penalized for their actions? I hope so, for such behaviour is an embarrassment to those who feel they’re members of a profession.

            Obviously, agency law was designed primarily to protect consumers. Therefore, the benefit is quite clear. If agents understand it, including the potential ramifications of violating it, both short and long term, I see no reason to avoid the opportunities presented by opens.

          • Ross,

            Your following paragraph would be simply pretentious nonsense, if it were not for the fact you seem to have succeeded in describing your own peculiar limitations.

            I accepted Agency Law for what it is. I was not and am not influenced by the subconscious mind as it relates to a Law that is based largely around common sense. What you need to characterize as “arguments” are but mere rationalizations to justify your own predisposition towards shortsightedness, as this was convenient for you in order to justify a: means to an end mentality.

            You acknowledge my basic point when you say the following:
            “The subject of this particular column, frankly, has nothing specifically to do with agency law.” because in doing so you maintenance an attitude where you believe it is reasonable to talk at length about a specific real estate activity and at the same time it is possible to do so and be entirely non-specific as it would relate to the pertinence of Agency Law! Ross, Agency Law is never severable from any professional discussion that involves real estate services. The bottom line is, that you are either a professional REALTOR, or you’re not!

          • Forgive my candour, Alan, but you seem to be obsessed with agency law. As I have said, this column is about open houses and how to make them successful.

            A Realtor can participate in marketing activities, including advertising and accepting phone calls or email contacts from prospects responding to those ads – and they can hold open houses – without fear of violating agency law, provided they choose their words wisely. It’s not rocket science.

            One cannot succeed in this business without communicating with prospects. Period. And if a Realtor avoids such activities, they might as well hand in their license and go home. Working under such paranoid fears would be repugnant to any reasonable sales rep.

            One final point, which I’ll only delve into because of your contributions here. We’re all subject to limitations. And those limitations were established early in our lives by way of subconscious programming by all the authority figures in our lives. This is science, Alan. Since the subconscious mind is a million times more powerful than our conscious minds, it’s extremely challenging to alter those programs. Thus, we automatically react to external stimuli as predetermined by such people as our parents. To change these programs, first, we must be aware of them. If you’d like to learn a little more about this subject, I suggest you begin by reading my book, The Happy Agent, wherein I delve into the subject a little more. Be well.

  2. I wrote, as an add-on, at Heino’s discussion, thinking the open house discussion had ended:

    “On the Open House topic: Often the first question a “visitor” who is neither a customer nor a client, asks is: “Why are they moving?”
    As per fiduciary, agency law, what is the answer to the question?”


    Often that question is quickly followed by: “What (how much) will they take for this place?”

    Of course I could be entirely wrong, but my belief is that Customer-service versus Client relationship would require the answer(s) to be:

    “Please understand, sir, I am under contract to the seller and that means I am not at liberty to discuss his specifics, without his permission. You see, “why” he is selling has no bearing on the bricks and mortar value, and how much the property will sell for, and, I am not permitted to share that information. The seller may have changed his mind as to what he told me he would accept. But my contract with him actually forbids that discussion.

    I would protect a buyer or seller contract with you in the same manner, protecting your privacy if you were my client. You could elect to be a Customer, and I could provide you with area comparables in a general sense, and using that information you might decide what the property would be worth “to you.”

    I would try to get an email address and permission to do a redirect to have the visitor read my articles describing in detail why I would need special permission to practice dual agency, to have him as a client, per se. If not interested in this particular property, “then” we decide how to proceed. And then I could be “his” agent.

    No, I could not “refer” him to another agent, but I could give him the names of several from which to choose who he might want to engage to represent him. No, I would not be able to receive a referral fee in such a situation. All discussion must be completely transparent. No illusions; and keep notes, in case you need to protect your position in regards to agency.

    There’s no reason for this visitor encounter to be complicated. It is what it is. For many years, agency was not a big discussion topic in teaching or training. Way back when, we were lead to believe the agent goal was: do whatever necessary to sell the seller’s property. Subagency, in retrospect, seemed much easier to work with. Agents understood it. Such is not always to be said about individual protected buyer agency. The law yes. Understood? Not always. Applied? A lot of “wiggle-room.”

    THAT’S what we were hired to do. Sell the properly… NO! That comment can easily be misconstrued. Who knew!

    You could let the visitor sign in and view the property and provide answers to general questions such as confirming the age of the property, a notation of any upgrades, explain any renovations that had been done, but you cannot volunteer, for example, if building permits were had.

    To answer specifics might create implied agency. There’s an old saying: “It’s not what I said, but rather what you heard, that matters.”

    They are not necessarily one and the same.

    Words not put in writing can easily be misconstrued, or misappropriated at will.

    Correct me if I am wrong.

    Carolyne L ?

  3. Ross,

    So your argument for what you’ve been doing is essentially that you feel that you should be able to do what you want to do because: your methods have produced superior financial results for you — which must have benefited your Clients and Customers alike; you see Agency Law as being more like mere rules “I think one can take the rules to an extreme. And that benefits no one, consumers or registrants.” that can be applied to suit your vision of what makes the most sense for your business; and you believe that because as you have been conducting yourself in the same manner for so long without any perceptible issues that you must be on righteous ground. Wow!

    I wonder how many industry members even take the time to consider Agency Law when conducting an open house? However, there can be no expectation that the average consumer would have as high an understanding of Agency Law as a real estate professional REALTOR should have, consequently we wouldn’t expect it to be very likely that a consumer would know to complain about the improper application of Agency. That said, I have spoken to consumers who are disgusted by being solicited at an open house and consequently have conflicted feelings about attending them!

    Ross, Agency Law isn’t just about protecting consumer’s, I think it’s also about protecting industry members from themselves!

  4. My research on the subject of open houses suggests that some brokerages who would like to identify themselves as “discount brokerages”, by virtue of low commission rates in favor of higher volumes, simply have neither the time nor the tent-signs to service their clients with “open houses”! Consequently, when I see someone who is a real estate practitioner protest too loudly on the subject of open houses, I have tendency to take a look at their business model, when possible, to see where they place. Some established practitioners, REALTORS, are simply too busy to do them and need to rationalize their reasons for not doing them.

    There are legitimate reasons for not doing open houses, some of which were articulated, unknowingly, by the subject author. The main reason for not doing an open house for a client, is because the real estate practitioner, REALTOR, doesn’t really know how to conduct themselves properly within the context of their legal Agency Working Relationship. I find that some of the subject authors comments are profoundly problematic as it relates to Agency Law. I can attest to the fact that at least one real estate Board in Canada has taught the proper approach to holding open houses, in the context of Agency Law. When a real estate Board or Association correctly instructs its membership on the subject of Agency Law, they received said proper direction from trusted property Lawyers.

    The following are the comments made by the author that I find profoundly problematic, as it relates to the topic of open houses in the context of the application of Agency Law:

    1/ “Given the right training and attitude, by building relationships with more people, you can enjoy a healthier “visitor to client” conversion rate and build a great business.”
    2/ “Do you hold them only to help justify the rather large potential commission, or as a legitimate lead generation tool?”
    3/ “Open houses provide tangible opportunities to personally meet and greet real people with whom you have immediate commonality – real estate.”
    4/ “As you would prepare for ad callers by having listing details of comparable properties close at hand, you should be aware of other active similar listings. This way, if your visitor doesn’t like or can’t afford yours, you can immediately tell them about others.”
    5/ “To permit your guests to relax and view a slide show of assorted comparable listed properties, bring your laptop or tablet and connect it to the flat-screen TV. Or have your MLS search engine open to other listings in the area. While they’re in the house, show them your wares and what you can do for them. It’s time to sing and dance, so to speak.”

    Where do we start. First of all Ross, you don’t have an “immediate commonality” because you are supposed to be in an Agency Working Relationship with your seller client whereas the visitors to an open house are not! You are there for the purpose of representing your seller client. Any self promotion must be incidental. For the duration of the open house you can only promote your seller’s property and to promote a competing property or another property during the period of the open house would be a breach of your Agency Working Relationship — in particular the Fiduciary aspect of it! Progressive Boards have clarified this topic for their members.

    Ross, let’s invite some of REM’s contributing property lawyer’s to join this topic. Let’s see how many learned supporters you have!

    • Thanks for your comments, Alan. In as much as I appreciate your candid opinion, and that technically, you’re correct in your assertion that the attending sales rep does indeed represent the subject seller under the listing contract, I feel that an open house can serve another critical purpose. And that is to meet, greet and connect with prospective buyers who may or may not be interested in or even qualify to purchase the subject property.

      After the attending agent has clearly determined that the subject property is unsuitable for the visitor, I see nothing wrong with attempting to establish a relationship with said prospect (who could very well become a client) in the hope of turning their interest toward another listing that might prove more suitable, especially one owned by a seller with whom the agent may also have a fiduciary relationship. Why else would we employ sign-in registration forms which seek permission for visitor follow-up contact?

      Realtors have a responsibility to legally and ethically market all their listings to the best of their ability. In my view, such marketing would include taking every legitimate opportunity to build an inventory of buyer prospects via advertising and promotion, which would include open houses.

      I suggest that to help establish the beginnings of any relationship, be it social, business or familial, we humans tend to seek commonality to facilitate such relating. And such commonality in an open house scenario is, in my view, the subject of real estate. It’s obvious that the agent is familiar with the subject, and just as obvious, the visitor has an interest in real estate, otherwise they’d not be an open house visitor. That’s where the relating can begin, and with adequate social skill, can grow.

      During my career, open houses have proven to be tried and true opportunities to effectively market listings, satisfy sellers and buyer prospects, and hopefully bring them together. Isn’t that the sole reason for the existence of our industry? I feel it’s important to work wisely and ethically by the spirit of the rules, but at the same time, not miss opportunities to perform to the best of our abilities. We work in a service industry. So, let’s serve.

      • Ross,

        What you’re missing is: that it isn’t at our discretion how we conduct ourselves within the confines of an Agency Working Relationship. In particular as it relates to an open house, the Fiduciary aspect of the Agency Working Relationship compels a real estate practitioner REALTOR to contain themselves within the requirement of “undivided loyalty” for the duration of the open house. If you can’t honour the “undivided loyalty” requirement for the two hours it takes to complete an open house, then it clearly would be in jeopardy in all other situations where the timeline commitment isn’t as clear! It’s a matter of understanding and discipline! Progressive Boards are clear on this topic.

        • For 4 decades, Alan, I’ve been holding opens, and without any adverse incidents. My sellers have always trusted me to hold opens in a professional and secure manner. I’ve always felt that to effectively serve my seller clients, I needed to perform to the best of my ability, and to be as successful as possible. To that end, I deemed it important to take advantage of every opportunity to build my stable of buyer prospects. And that has always included open house visitors. I think one can take the rules to an extreme. And that benefits no one, consumers or registrants.

      • Ross,

        In truth, your subject article is really a primer on: what not to do at an open house.

        Let’s consider your following statement, as it relates to what you shouldn’t be doing for Customers and why:
        “As you would prepare for ad callers by having listing details of comparable properties close at hand, you should be aware of other active similar listings. This way, if your visitor doesn’t like or can’t afford yours, you can immediately tell them about others.”

        Ross, in the above mentioned quote you are activity promoting “implied Agency” relationships! The tasks of choosing comparable properties and qualifying someone as to what they can afford, both require discretion and consequently are a function of an Agency Relationship!

        • I disagree, Alan. The offering of alternate listing suggestions to an open house visitor does not imply any type of agency. It could safely be assumed a customer relationship could exist until defined at a future date. By following such a practice, the open house agent is merely offering to help the visitor, unless, of course, the agent specifically offers or the visitor requests agency. This would be another matter to be managed at a later date. The intent would be to establish a social connection to the “prospect”.

  5. I would suggest this writer should do more research before hand and should have a Capitalized first line to his articles:” THIS IS ONLY MY OPINION AND DOES NOT NECESSARILY HAVE FACTUAL RSOURCES”. Open houses are not a new world marketing tool and seriously put the Seller in a higher risk for not only theft during the open house but for post open house break ins and identity theft. I doubt very much that many agents who hold open houses really prepare their clients for all the possibilities. I would suspect that if they did, most home owners would not allow themselves to be put in that position.

    • Thanks for your comments, Craig. With respect, I suggest that most newspaper columns and many books are inherently based, at least in part, on mere opinion. Further, my “research” occurred over a highly successful 42 year career during which I held and learned from countless open houses. And I never claimed that this popular activity was a “new world marketing tool; if anything of the sort, it’s “old world”. Regarding homeowner security, I am well aware of the risks involved. As a matter of fact, you’ll discover in future columns or if you were to read my book, The Happy Agent, that’s why I encourage agents to restrict the number of visitors in-house at any given time and to prevent them from wandering unaccompanied through the house, which many agents are wont to do. And lastly, it is my “opinion” that I am an expert on the subject.

      • Thanks for taking the time to reply Ross.
        I am glad you cleared that up. It is so important that an ” expert” in the field of open houses be the lead writer and champion. Actually I have read your book and although my 26 successful years pales in comparison to your self promotion, I am sure you mean well, just a bit old school.
        It surprises me that R.E.M. doesn’t follow standard publishing practises of free articles not being what becomes in essence an ad for your book. On the other hand , I guess if I should decide to get off my butt and write my own book , I can also look forward to free promotions.
        A more realistic approach to this “open house” would be to emphasis the points exactly what the “poster” Carolyn has written, to make sure the newer realtor truly understands the potential perils and risks they are taking with likely minimal returns, to know that it is pretty much an impossibility to manage the public as you state should happen. The true value in an open house is 98.9% as a self marketing tool and lead generator for the Host Realtor. Makes one wonder how many agents actually have that discussion with their clients.

        • Thank you for your thoughtful response, Craig, and for investing your previous time to read my book. I am grateful.

          I agree that, in the interest of full disclosure, it’s prudent policy to discuss one’s marketing intentions with one’s clients (be they sellers or buyers). I have no doubt that if clearly explained, a seller would not object to an attending agent taking advantage of the golden opportunity provided by an open house to create buyers from visitors. Throughout my career, I have never experienced a seller object to such practice. Why? Because they have always trusted me to do everything legally and ethically in my power to help them successfully sell their home.

    • Craig, I want to preface my comment, clarify, by anyone’s definition, I am not an expert in anything in particular. Better than average skills in some things, but that in and of itself, an expert does not make. Am capable of wearing many hats, often simultaneously, and reasonably good at multitasking, but never have put myself out as being an expert. But I did pen industry related articles for years, and had one of the first industry websites in 1998. I had my webmaster mount my articles for public viewing.

      Having had an outrageously successful career (more than one, actually) where I achieved accolades and paycheques in the extreme, still in my mind did not equate to being entitled to use the moniker, expert. But many people said they do what I did, with no results. Everything I wrote, and write is tied to personal experience.

      REM is such a great networking tool, it is with passion we are all able to express our industry thoughts and opinions, hopefully in an effort to pay it all forward.

      Just this week I received a much appreciated permission request from a colleague out of town, for reprint rights for another of my old articles. I replied that of course the agent had my permission to use my written material as part of her listing presentation, as she had requested; happy to share, but noted that the copyright must stay with the article, and I thanked her for asking permission.

      Some people just take things, and one broker/owner in particular actually removed my name and inserted her own name as author. And published my article on the Net, in an outside referral related industrywide business magazine, both in print and online, under her own name. Copyscape notified me.

      But the damage was done. A broker/owner of a huge group of franchise offices. What does that teach the hundreds of agents working there? To say I was shocked is an understatement. She blamed her assistant. Aren’t brokers supposed to approve everything everyone at the brokerage does? You only have to look at websites galore to know that doesn’t happen. No policing policies.

      I receive such requests for reprints regularly, not just from colleagues, but from BOR’s and from some real estate lawyers, here and Stateside. Even so my articles are now very old, requests still come. Much of what I wrote still applies in today’s real estate world. The basics don’t change.

      Craig Berke, your noted comment here on REM regarding open houses, brought to my attention a very old article I wrote several years ago, regarding the dangers and pitfalls of opens, information that might be useful to REM readers and new agents; of course my writing is just “my opinion,” and opinions of others may be very different.

      The Alerts posted in my article of the day were provided by the real estate Board.

      But the content, such that it is and as old as it is, just might save an agent’s life. It’s not meant as scare tactics, but rather a gentle reminder to newbies who might not have considered the possible ramifications, likewise owners/sellers.


      The bank advertising byline used a number of years ago doesn’t begin to cover doing business today: “the world, she is a-changing…” It is only in very recent times that our highlighted news on any given Toronto GTA day reports areas of gun shots, driveby murders, and street crimes in our own residential working areas, often in broad daylight. My being a septuagenarian doesn’t change the facts noted way back when… this open house topic has nothing to do with gender, agent age, or expertise. Do today’s agents advise their sellers to read such materials?

      My article is not meant to denigrate anything said by the current REM article’s author, just a reminder to REM readers, the seriousness of holding houses open. Caution needs to come first. Predators really are out there, right around every corner, in every crack and crevice. Safety first always is in vogue … for men and for women. I’m not selling anything. Just sharing.

      Talking about, preparing for, and pointing out the dangers doesn’t make us sissies, and as you note, Craig, particularly in the atmosphere of newsworthy items, you are correct. Insouciance lives.

      Identity theft is rampant and sellers don’t seem to realize sometimes, the importance of removing personal items from view, whether for open house purposes or even for regular showing appointments.

      I can’t begin to say how many credit cards are left lying about and bank statements on full view. Even copies of APS docs on offers the owners had made. Ripe for the viewer to use a cell phone to take a photo. We could all fill books with real life stories. Some traumatizing.

      I love children but they should be prevented from participating in viewings. All ages. They can’t help it. Children touch things. So do some irresponsible adults. Playing with owner tech things is just one example. I had a businessman seller who left his tower operating 24/7. Never turned it off. Had a fascinating in/motion interactive screen saver that anyone passing by could not resist.

      Children who are older, perhaps even good kids, unconsciously tell their friends what is in the house where they had been. (Had a seller who was a veterinarian and bought a local vet hospital. His house had many guns. His wife was proud to show me. I had to insist the guns go into a locked room he had available.) They thought I was too tough. I was happy to release them from their listing, even so they had been referred to me. I didn’t lose a listing only a couple of times in 35 years. And had only a half dozen expiries. Some kind of record apparently.

      Whoops! Break-ins that are, virtually, (pardon the pun) untraceable. Does anyone tie a break-in to a recent open house?

      Carolyne L ?


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