I just got back home after holding an open house today. When real estate agents hold open houses, it is customary to have a registry sheet or as I do, register folks via my iPad. This is done for several reasons:
1. Safety Concerns for the real estate agent.
2. Security reasons especially when the home for sale is currently occupied.
3. Marketing purposes - understand where home buyers are finding information for the open house, i.e. internet, paper advertising, flyers, open house invitations, etc.
I usually ask for the name and email or phone number. However, if someone is not comfortable with leaving their telephone number or email, I do not insist. I usually follow up with potential buyers if they ask for additional information or to get feedback and their opinion and I will never follow up with anyone if they request not to be contacted.
From a common sense perspective - why would I? There are a lot of home buyers shopping in and around Pasadena and only one of me. I am good at what I do and get a lot of referrals from past clients as well as internet inquiries. If I feel that a home buyer is not comfortable with me contacting them, I never would. Who likes rejection or being a pest?
Why am I writing about this? Well... I had to ask a family to leave my open house today because they refused to register. They drove up as I was closing up at exactly 4 pm. I invited them into the house, gave them a brochure, answered a few questions and asked to register them. As the wife started giving me her name, the husband said "no... we will not register." I explained that I was fine with just getting one of their names, email or phone # not required, and that it was for security reasons and that if they did not want to, I would not contact them. He adamantly said NO again.
I politely asked them to leave. As they were leaving, the husband said that this has never happened to them before.
So my question is... Is it an invasion of privacy to ask someone who walks into a home during an Open House at a minimum to provide their name? Why would someone have an issue with that especially after explaining the reasoning for it.
With the recent news of violence against real estate agents, are minimum safety precautions that difficult to swallow for some people?
National Association of Realtors has these safety tips for real estate agents (my realtor friends - please review!) holding Open Houses:
S A F E T Y AT O P E N H O U S E S
An open house can be a great sales tool, but it also exposes you to numerous unfamiliar people for the first time. Stay safe by practicing these guidelines.
• If possible, always try to have at least one other person working with you at the open house.
• Call the local police department and ask them to have a squad care drive by during your open-house hours.
• Check your cell phone’s strength and signal prior to the open house. Have emergency numbers programmed on speed dial. Carry an extra, fully charged cell phone battery (if possible).
• Upon entering a house for the first time, check all rooms and determine several “escape” routes. Make sure all deadbolt locks are unlocked to facilitate a faster escape.
• Make sure that if you were to escape by the back door, you could escape from the backyard. Frequently, high fences surround yards that contain swimming pools or hot tubs.
• Place one of your business cards, with the date and time written on the back, in a kitchen cabinet. Note on it if you were the first to arrive or if clients were waiting.
• Have all open house visitors sign in. Ask for full name, address, phone number and e-mail.
• When showing the house, always walk behind the prospect. Direct them; don’t lead them. Say, for example, “The kitchen is on your left,” and
gesture for them to go ahead of you.
• Avoid attics, basements, and getting trapped in small rooms.
• Notify someone in your office, your answering service, a friend or a relative that you will be calling in every hour on the hour. And if you don’t call, they are to call you.
• Inform a neighbor that you will be showing the house and ask if he or she would keep an eye and ear open for anything out of the ordinary.
• Don’t assume that everyone has left the premises at the end of an open house. Check all of the rooms and the backyard prior to locking the doors.
• Be prepared to defend yourself, if necessary.
What are your thoughts on the subject? Would love to hear from you!