By Heather Soldonia
In the current real estate market I have heard both brand new practitioners and veteran brokers express that they are resorting to some basic prospecting strategies and among those is… open houses.
When I first began working as a REALTOR® my broker advised me to go to at least 10 open houses “to learn what not to do.”
Indeed, I had some interesting interactions. The most noteworthy was at a brand new condo development. I was asked to complete an information card upon which they posed the question, “What reasons are you looking to buy?” I wrote, “First time homebuyers programs.”
Apparently that wasn’t a response they were interested in because the sales agent immediately informed me that the developer is absolutely not accepting less than 10 percent down, which would exclude the 3.5 percent FHA program. Taken aback by his brazen manner, I took a moment before replying, “This is an affluent area and you would be surprised how many people my age have parents who are happy to supplement down payments so that is not something you need to concern yourself with; that’s simply one of the reasons I am looking to buy.”
Around this time, a couple (appearing to be in their 60s) had also come into the sales office and my sales agent informs the receptionist that she doesn’t need to call a different sales associate to help them, he would be happy to tour them… with me in tow.
We were shown one 2-bedroom floorplan and one 1-bedroom floorplan. When I inquired about the other 1-bedroom floorplan w/den he replied, “We would need to pre-qualify you before we could spend the whole day showing you units.”
Here’s the best part everyone – I now receive weekly e-mails from this particular property promoting that they are offering FHA loans with a 3.5 percent down payment!
The moral of the story? You never know who is shopping your property. I have worked for one of the largest housing developers in the nation, Lennar Corp; worked in the multifamily real estate division at the largest asset management firm in the world, BlackRock; and I have a broker license to practice real estate. Do you think he would have conducted himself differently had he known all that?
Stick to the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you would like to be treated. That young 20-something year old may be your next client… Or your professional peer… Or the market may turn and you’ll end up eating your own words. Either way, I am pledging to act with graciousness and respect towards whomever enters an open house I am hosting!
Heather Soldonia is a Broker/REALTOR® in the San Francisco Bay area with Windermere Welcome Home. She can be found at www.heathersoldonia.mywindermere.com.