4 Challenging Visitors You Get at Open Houses

July 14, 2016

When you invite the public to view your listing, you attract many potential buyers who are on the fence and so will give you the runaround. Shannon Ensor, GRI, of Sky Realty in Austin, Texas, offers tips for recognizing some of the people you’ll meet and how to tap into what they want.

The Dodger

He shies away from interacting with you, hoping you’ll leave him alone while he looks around. He doesn’t stay for long and tries to leave without giving you his name or contact information.

The bottom line: He hasn’t committed to making a move but is considering his options, and he’s afraid you’ll try to force a sale on him. He needs to make these decisions on his own time.

How to handle him: Give him space and watch for whether he lingers over a particular feature of the home. Pop over to ask his impressions and how the home compares to others he’s seen. Let him steer the conversation, and when he sees you’re not trying to corner him with a sales pitch, he’ll open up.

The Faker

He discusses his real estate needs with you and even gives you his contact information to follow up. You think the conversation went great, but you soon discover that he gave you a fake e-mail address.

The bottom line: He wants to work with an agent, but he doesn’t want you spamming his inbox with newsletters and market reports. He needs to know you can do more for him.

How to handle him: When you’re talking to him, pick up on something he wants or needs, such as public-school ratings or certain neighborhood amenities. Say you’ll email more information and ask if he’s provided the best address to reach him on the sign-in sheet. Now that you’re offering something of value to him, he’ll say, “Actually, send that to this email address…”

The ‘Negative Nancy’

She doesn’t hide her feelings and mentions everything she hates about the home within earshot of other guests. The trouble is her opinions could influence those who genuinely like the house.

The bottom line: She doesn’t necessarily think the place is all bad, but she wants her views to be heard and valued.

How to handle her: Turn the conversation around, and ask her what she would do differently. You’ll find out what adjustments could make the home work for her—or you’ll have an idea of other listings to send her way.

The Looky Loo

She says she’s just browsing to see what homes on the market look like, but she’s not in the market to buy.

The bottom line: Her current home may not meet her needs anymore, but she wants to avoid moving, so she’s looking for renovation ideas. She might also be a potential seller checking out the competition.

How to handle her: Ask how your open house compares to her current home, and listen for the items she says her home is lacking. Offer to send her listings that have what she’d want—even if only for design inspiration—and potentially a free consultation with a lender so she can discuss the financial practicality of remodeling vs. buying a new home. 

—Graham Wood, REALTOR® Magazine