What with the trying to make a living selling houses, I spend a portion of most Sundays hosting an open house. A not so secret industry secret – Realtors don’t host open houses to sell the house, they do it to find buyers. A house might sell from being open, maybe, but everybody who comes in is at least interested in talking about house buying, even if they’re just kicking tires.
Anyway, I really enjoy hosting open houses. I start the morning off making cookie dough, pack up my “Realtor Bag” full of information packets, business cards, and other handy things, go buy some balloons, then run off to spend a few hours hanging out in somebody else’s super clean, well-staged house. If lots of people come, great! I get to meet buyers, talk about pretty houses, and otherwise add dollar signs to my future. If nobody comes, great! I get a few quiet hours to read or get some writing done, with fresh cookies. There is no losing. (Most of what I’m loving about the Real Estate career is how often that’s true.)
Yesterday’s open house got…creative. In a the universe enjoys messing with things I like sort of way.
To keep Realtors from having to break into the houses they show, any buyers from having to hide keys in unsecure locations, most areas use a lockbox system where the key gets put in a weighted safe that sits on the front porch. Realtors lease an infra-red key device which will unlock the safe with a Realtor-sepcific PIN. The device has an exceptionally good battery life, and it’s one of the things I keep in my Realtor bag so I don’t forget it.
That exceptionally good battery life? Does not last two weeks even if you didn’t use it at all in the intervening time. I discovered this when, eight minutes before my open house is supposed to start and after I’ve put up the balloons and put out the signs, my key will not turn on, not even to yell at me for a low battery. Woops.
Fifteen minutes later I’m back at the house, eight minutes late for my own open, but armed with my key charger and fairly certain that nobody showed up and went away in the first ten minutes of the open. If anybody did, it was the first time ever. Besides, none of the usual advertising went out because it was labor day – I did the open because, hey, two hours to read on somebody else’s couch, and they had gorgeous built-in bookshelves.
The open was at a townhouse development, relatively recently built, so there were power outlets on the front porch. These were outdoor power outlets, though, and the charger for the key is one of those broad headed ones that turn sideways to block just the one outlet. It did not fit in the outlet without getting held in place. So I spent the first half hour of my open house sitting on the porch, holding the charger in the socket with one hand, and reading the new chapters of HPatMOR on my phone.
Do me a favor and picture this. I’m sitting on the ground in my fancy clothes, (high heels, too), a giant bag overflowing with promotional material and a hardcover copy of Behemoth, next to me, a tray of curried peanutbutter cookie dough next to it, and my arm torqued at unnatural angles to press a power cord into a wall socket. Now I ask you, would you buy a house from me?
Nobody came to the open house, even after my key charged enough to open the lockbox and let me in. The oven scorched the cookies. I did not finish off Behemoth, or get any writing done. But you know what? The bookshelves were lovely, the furniture was comfy, and I didn’t have to explain to anybody that sure, they’d come all that way to see the house, but could they just wait ten minutes while I charge my turn-of-the-century technology?
Take that, universe. I win.