We had our first open house on Saturday. When we sold our first house, our realtor never suggested an open house, and I never thought to ask about doing one. We found a new realtor this time, and it was one of the first things he suggested.
He put out a bunch of signs in the morning, and our first prospective buyers arrived as soon as we opened the doors. We had a steady stream of people stopping to see the house. There was a short lull at lunchtime, but then it picked back up again around 1:00.
I was impressed at how many people showed up. I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially since the house hadn’t officially hit the market yet. We were shooting for the MLS listing to go live on Friday, but we didn’t quite have everything together to make that happen. That means everyone that came to the open house did so based solely on the signs along the street.
One interesting tidbit – another realtor stopped by and she couldn’t believe that the house was still being lived in, she thought it was staged for the open house. That says a lot about the minimalist lifestyle. She obviously didn’t open any closets, as we still have stuff in there. We were able to remove all our personal items (like photos) and remove everything from the countertops, and because our cabinets and closets aren’t overstuffed, we had room to store everything neatly away.
I must say, I enjoyed the experience. I liked talking to all the people that came through. We had a two different sets of neighbors stop in, neither of which we had met before. One couple told us they visited the house when it was a model home back in 1989. Another, who is also a realtor, said he visited the house when it was on the market a few years back, and was impressed with the renovations that were done inside. Most of those were already done when we moved in, so I can’t take credit for it, but it’s cool to hear about the changes over the years.
I’m really pleased with our new realtor, Alim Abrahim. He is knowledgable and takes the time to tell what to expect, and what all the steps are. We’ve been though the home sale process once before, but this time it feels less stressful. Part of that is because we have some experience under our belt, but the other is that our new realtor seems more motivated and helpful. I’m going to share a link to his Facebook page, but I must disclose that he is an old friend that I went to high school with. Based on what I know of him from high school, and what I’ve seen of him in action, I have to assume that the treatment and attention I’m getting is standard procedure for him. He’s very charismatic, and really puts in the extra effort.
One example of this was that he hired a professional photographer to take the photos of our house. Our last realtor took pictures with her own camera. The difference between realtor snapshots and a photos taken by a professional photographer is astounding. They look so good that we almost want to stay in the house. Here is a comparison of pictures that our realtor snapped with his cell phone and the ones the professional photographer took.
Even if the real estate agent uses a nice camera, they typically don’t use extra lighting like the professional photographer did. It also looks like he used a lens that captured more of the room.
We did have one small hiccup during the open house. Our HOA is super vigilant about keeping the common areas looking nice, and part of that is removing signs. Our agent checked for this part way through the open house and found that the HOA maintenance staff had picked up some of the signs. Alim, got lucky and saw the maintenance guy. He flagged him down, chatted with him a bit, and got his signs back.
If you are in Orlando and in the market for a realtor, check in with Alim Abrahim, Realtor at Caldwell Banker Orlando. And if you are looking for a real estate photographer, check out Lafayette Britto, Orlando Real Estate Photographer (and his Facebook page). Lafayette was super friendly, very courteous, and took some amazing photos. I’m really happy with our team so far, and I’m looking forward to selling the house and moving on with our downsizing.
One last thing before we wrap up. On Saturday morning before our open house, I was sitting with nothing much to do and unable to do anything that might cause a mess, so I logged into Facebook and started a thread for questions and coaching. I will likely do this again before our next open house, which is tentatively scheduled for Sunday. Once I confirm the open house is scheduled I’ll post a note in our Facebook group to let you know when I’ll be online. This will be a great chance for you to ask any questions you have about any of our crazy ideas, and to get advice on any decluttering, downsizing, or family issues you need help with. I’ll answer questions live until we start getting traffic at the open house.