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Marketing at "open house"


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It was many years ago but, yeah, I did this for the first few Sundays immediately after HI school, with mixed results, most of them bad. At first it seemed like a good way of meeting agents even though I hated the whole concept. The wife also thought I should "get out there" and even made cookies a couple of Sundays...which just made it more cringe-worthy. Towards the end of this period I would keep her happy by going out during the open house time zone, do maybe 1 or 2 meet and greets at most, and then hit the pool hall for the remainder of the time (don't ever tell her that).

My experiences during the ones I did do:

It was, I think, the second open house I walked into, first Sunday. I politely waited until the lady agent was free, introduced myself and gave her my prepared spiel about realizing that she probably had a regular inspector but I was just seeking info on what she looked for in a HI. (I know, I know! Yuck!) With a straight face and no shame she replied "I don't want one who is too thorough." I didn't bother asking for her card!

Most others were a complete waste of time and I'm sure my cards got immediately round-filed even when the conversation went well. Face it, for listing agents, the ones showing the homes, home inspectors are the enemy and a potential obstacle in their deal. They might be buyer's agents at other times but, at this moment in this house, HI's are just future trouble.

I had one, just one, good experience and result. The agent was a newbie himself and just babysitting the house for an agent with multiple listings. There was also no traffic in the house. We probably spent almost an hour chatting about everything from real estate to baseball. It was almost a year later when, out of the blue, I get a call from him. He had his first buyer-client, needed to recommend an inspector, and remembered our conversation. Since then he became quite successful, and has probably been my most prolific agent referrer. A good guy, now a team, who actually only wants the best for his clients.

So...one out of many. Maybe worthwhile for that one exception, but I absolutely loathed the process. For those still considering doing this, I have one suggestion. Go through the listings and find agents with multiple open houses, and then try to find the homes with sitters rather than established listing agents. You are less likely to get brushed off as an annoyance.

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I'm not sure which would be the most accurate vote so I'll reply instead. I have stopped at an open house to introduce myself to the Realtor. We talked for a bit, I toured the house, and left a stack of cards on the kitchen counter. I haven't gotten a single referral from her.

I probably would do it again if I happened upon a house that I wouldn't mind checking out and I wasn't in a hurry to get where I was headed. That kind of fits with how I deal with agents in general; I don't mind talking to them at all, I just won't go out of my way to do it.

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I brought my wife with me, we wasted one afternoon, handed out some biz cards and decided not to do it again. In the course of a couple of years, I got a few jobs where those same agents were selling, but I never asked if they had referred me or if the clients just happened to pick me off the list.

So if there were positive results, they were slow in coming.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ouch, Jim, that hurt!

2010 was my first year doing inspections. As much as I hated doing it, I went to open houses at least three Sunday's a month.

Actually, have gotten a fair bit of work out of it. Anyway, football is over...not missing nothing on the tube! Maybe I can get another agent, or two, to refer me. But I'm sure not setting up a table at an open house!

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Ouch, Jim, that hurt!

2010 was my first year doing inspections. As much as I hated doing it, I went to open houses at least three Sunday's a month.

Actually, have gotten a fair bit of work out of it. Anyway, football is over...not missing nothing on the tube! Maybe I can get another agent, or two, to refer me. But I'm sure not setting up a table at an open house!

OK, maybe that was a tad harsh. But you illustrate my point. I should have said it's a great way for inspectors who don't have enough work to meet agents who don't have enough work.

It's not the message you want to convey and they aren't the agents you want to be meeting.

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