The Real.Est List
The FSBO Diaries (Week 2): Our first open house
It was the night before our first open house, and I sat in front of the computer re-reading the words of the one person who commented on my first post here.
"So the first two open houses are Palm Sunday and Easter? Not sure about this strategy,” they wrote.
Oops. A classic rookie move to kick off our FSBO adventure.
I tried to think of even one person I knew in New York who went to church and decided that whoever they are, they might still want to come to our open house after Palm Sunday services.
And my husband Rob reminded me that what was most important was that we had finally taken the first steps to put the apartment on the market.
With nervous energy, we got up at 9 am on Sunday and split up the to-do list. I was in charge of flowers. At the Greenmarket a block away, I found forsythia, tulips and daffodils. Perfect since I was going for cheery and bright.
Rob was responsible for putting away our valuables in case we got staked out by the infamous open house thieves.
When Rob phoned downstairs to remind the doorman about our open house times, I said, "and make sure that no one is let up before noon." In case there was a stampede of buyers, you know.
All dressed up, I was on my feet at noon. Ready to meet and greet with a spiel I had heard many times before from brokers: "Welcome! Come on in. There's some information about the apartment on the coffee table. And please sign in, if you don't mind."
By 12:20, no one had come.
I was bored and asked Rob to dig my computer back up from wherever he had hid it, and I started looking up reviews of The Runaways and Hot Tub Time Machine. We decided to see the 4:55 showing of The Runaways.
This wasn’t how I had imagined our first open house.
It was 1:15 before anyone showed up. Hey, it was two people if you count the woman's baby.
Soon, there were more knocks, and I got to use my well-prepared greeting.
Also, knowing what it feels like when a broker is right on top of you during an open house, I just hung back once people came inside.
I knew not to try and "sell" the place, but I tried to give a vibe that I welcomed conversation about the apartment. Mostly, I got basic questions about how long I had lived in the apartment (11 years) and where the laundry is (on every floor). The few non-brokers who came to the open house didn't care to see the roof, so I took that to mean they were just there out of curiosity.
One thing that surprised me was how brokers declared their broker status at the door and asked if they could still come in.
Maybe I'm missing something, but why wouldn't I let them in?
It's not like if they cross my threshold, they're guaranteed a 3 percent commission. Sure, check out the place and maybe we'll work together down the road. Who would just rule that possibility out?
By 2 pm when our open house ended, seven brokers had come by and five others (not counting the baby). It was fun showing the apartment because I really love the space.
No, there wasn't a crush of people, but I was sort of glad that the first open house was calm since I had some anxiety about what to expect.
Another thing that surprised me was that all the brokers I met were really nice and helpful. They said great things about the apartment and weren't aggressive at all, unlike their reputation in the comments on online forums.
I sort of expected brokers to be pushy and intimidating and to try to talk me out of selling FSBO, but they didn't.
Since listing the apartment online, we've received 25 inquiries via email, all from brokers wanting to know if we're willing to offer a commission if they bring a buyer. The answer's no for now, but who knows.
I tell them thanks for the interest and please keep in touch. Our tune might change in a few months.
One open house down. Two more planned, starting with Easter Sunday. Hmm, maybe we should have an Easter egg hunt.