Saturday, June 07, 2008

On the 7th Day a house got sold

Our Managing Broker is a big proponent of the Sunday Open House, as am I. Yes, even still. Tens of thousands of people visit our real estate company website on a monthly basis and there's never a day that goes by when a potential client doesn't register as a new user at But week in and week out its the open house aspect of Chicago real estate we talk about at our Monday morning meetings. The open house is still the listing agent's bread and butter (if no longer his meat and potatoes).

To use a sports metaphor, Sunday is game day. Its the one day of the week (although many of our associates host Saturday opens as well) where we are almost guaranteed to have face to face contact with the public. Needless to say, we strive to be our most polished and shiniest selves on these days. Even after nearly eight years in the business, I still get up early to prepare for this three to four hour afternoon commitment: E-mails to people I've been in contact with that week reminding them where I'll be that day; double check brochure and sign-in card counts as well as my supply of business cards; go over all comparable properties and other open houses in the immediate area--(ours as well as other brokerages); make sure the agents covering my other open houses (can only be one place at a time, you know) have what they need for the day; and finally, putting out my signs in strategic places at least an hour prior to the scheduled start time.

I played organized team sports from grade school all through my college years. Growing up it seemed like I was always at an afternoon practice of one sport or another while my less commited friends were off rollicking in more pleasurable activities. And later on as a Theatre major, if it wasn't practice it was rehearsal. Many days it was both. So when I prepared to join the world of the gainfully employed I was certain of one thing--I wanted a job with weekends off. I was willing to put in 50 or 60 hours a week, just not on Saturday or Sunday. I did not become a Realtor earlier in my life for this reason alone. I knew I'd be great at it but I also knew that weekends meant 'lost forever' hours of open houses and clients in the car--no golfing, no tailgating, no pool parties.

Once into my forties though, my thinking changed along with some other newly established priorities. I made the decision that I wanted to sell real estate more than I wanted two days a week off. Today I work almost everyday, often times for months in a row before a break. But when I do break I travel the world with my wife. (see sidebar, Mona,Mona,Mona!)

Its a wonderful gig to be sure, this life as a Realtor. Throughout my real estate career I've met and the majority of my clients through our company's open house system (although these days, that percentage has started to tip toward the internet side of our marketing plan). Contrary to the findings of most studies on the subject, I still often times sell the actual property I'm hosting--too many to even mention in this writing.

And while I'm deeply immersed in the internet during the week and lost without my PDA at anytime, its those hours I spend at the weekly open house that a) keep me connected to the business at a grass roots level--and b) keep the owners of my listings satisfied that I'm doing all I can to represent their properties. And more than a few times a year its on this final day of the week, when the rest of the free world is resting or rollicking, that the house gets sold and the real estate deal gets done.

Geno Petro
image by communityiexplore

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