Open homes for Realtors help ‘feed’ their enthusiasm for a newly listed house

#598 in a series of true experiences in real estate
February 2010, Hills Newspapers

Anet closely watches the weather reports. She’d told me several times that there would be a lot of rain on Thursday during our open house. Would agents come in the rain? They did. They came in the front door, raindrops falling from their coats, wiping their feet and smiling.

We love holding open houses for agents. There are so many super people in this business in our area and they greet us warmly and respond to our house preparation with enthusiasm. We pointed everyone toward the kitchen for breakfast food.

Over the last couple of weeks, Anet and I had talked about what to serve on this morning, fun talk, then gone shopping the day before. Very organized were we, trays and dishes to the house ahead of time, filling the refrigerator with drinks. That morning we were up early to cut pastries and pack them, then set off for the house with plenty of time allowed to lay out our spread.

Even as we drove we wondered aloud if we had enough food. Once or twice it has happened that we did not supply food for everyone who came and we were horrified. Having plenty of food with some left over is our aim. “Maybe we need donut holes, too?” I said. “OK, good, how many?” Anet asked.

We made a quick stop for donut holes and proceeded on our way. Crowded roads, rainy and slick, so we went overland rather than take the freeway.

Good thing we got those donut holes; they went fast. But so did the yogurt cups and apple strudel pastry. Turns out agents love V-8 juice and bottled frappuccino, but granola bars, not as much. Bananas more than little tangerines from my tree.

I had boiled eggs thinking how pretty they are but not expecting much interest in them, but I was wrong. Quite a few people put an egg in a pocket for later and several peeled and salted and peppered eggs and ate them on the spot.

It’s funny that we like these parties so much. We are not entertainers at home. But by the time we’re showing a listing for the first time, we are excited about presenting it, showing it off to everyone. In this case, we’ve been working on the house for about 6 weeks. The wood floors have been refinished and some painting has been done. A new oak floor was laid in the kitchen which blends beautifully with the blond cabinetry, a marvelous improvement to the house. Plus, we’ve had termite work done and a few repairs, garden pruning, window washing and staging.

The house, which we had first seen unoccupied and empty of belongings, came alive. As we spent time there, we became more fond, so enjoyed watching the changes, felt proud and happy and warm. The sellers returned and had this to say: “We’d love to move back in.”

The stager, Sahdu Mannell, brought furniture and linens, rugs and accessories. We have seen many of these same furnishings used in other houses but not, of course, here. The gold Chinese rug looks so at home in the living room. Mirrors were positioned exactly right, candle sconces and curtains added. Sahdu placed wine glasses in glass-fronted cupboards, perfume bottles on bathroom tiled counters. She used an old Japanese tansu chest from her own living room and a pair of Asian-styled lamps from our staging store in the living room, enameled boxes and Oriental rug runners.

And then she arranged flowers most beautifully, among them flowering red quince, red bark maple branches, daffodils, tulips, and lilies. All of the contents made the house shine, gave it life and pointed to its own inherent beauties.

Anet and I moved about during the open house greeting agents, handing out flyers, talking to everyone about the house. “Show anytime,” we said. “Quite a bit of earthquake retrofit has been done,” and “Yes, disclosures are on line.”

We enjoyed enormous enthusiasm for the presentation. Everyone found the house beautiful. Many agents plan to show the house to their clients, exactly what we hoped for.

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