Open House Nightmares

Open House Nightmares

For 20+ years I've been trying to teach you about safety procedures for Open Houses but you keep doing things that put you in jeopardy.  Either I'm a lousy teacher or you have lousy hearing. So let's try this again:

Never - Never- Never


I repeat... Never! It doesn't matter if you carry a gun or a taser...just don't do it! Have another ADULT with you and ALWAYS stay posted next to (or glued to) the front door with the door open for easy exit.  Let visitors go through alone no matter how innocent they look... you're a Realtor, not a security guard, so just stay put by the door.  What are you going to do if you see them steal something? Wrestle them to the floor? Karate kick them? Come on Elmer Fudd, get real. You're worth far more than a wrist watch or a prescription bottle,  no matter what your in-laws say about you. 

In nice weather, stay out front with a chair and folding table. Have your phone in your hand at all times - or better yet - hold the homeowner's cordless phone so if you have to hit 911 the police can trace the call.

You probably didn’t know that 206 Realtors® were murdered on the job in the United States from 1982 to 2000.  And just recently in Ohio and Iowa there are three more families mourning the loss of their loved ones. If you think you’re a good judge of character, you’re not! Con Men are Con men for a reason… they’re good liars. And if you think you can defend yourself, you’re dead wrong.  Attacks happen quickly and you’re probably not trained for lightning fast responses like an Army Special Forces Ranger.


An Open House ad is simply another way of saying "Hey Baby, come get me! The door is open and here's the address!" And of course never, never say vacant  or immediate possession in an ad or in MLS.That's like waving a red flag in front of a bull. There are many more Realtor-related purse snatchings, rapes and molestations than you ever hear about. . .don't be another victim.

As for your other daily activities here are some tips:

With apologies to Floyd Wickman I’ll pass along a term this great sales trainer started. I can’t explain it as well as Floyd the Master, but here goes:

CITO! It means COME INTO THE OFFICE.  And that’s exactly what you should say to every single potential buyer. Whether they call on your ad or your sign or are referred by someone you know, start with the CITO (pronounced “see toe”) and you’ll save tons of time, gasoline and make a lot more money.

 It makes sense to meet them before rushing over to a property and here are two extremely good reasons:

  1. Your personal safety
  2. It’s good business

 Learn to say, “Let’s get together at my office.  We’ll have a cup of coffee and review some things before we head over there.”  (If pressed, tell them you have an office policy about personal safety and you have to meet them first. Normal people will understand.)


Once they arrive you can get them settled in the conference room and show them your buyer presentation and ask to see their pre-approval letter.  Of course they don’t have one so you can send them off to take care of it before showing property.  After all, they want negotiating strength, don’t they? And most sellers need to know they’re approved, right?  There’s no point in seeing houses today without the pre-approval letter!!! You just accomplished two things… you’ll have a preapproved buyer and you’ll weed out the lookie-loos and the con men. DO NOT show houses until the approval is ready.  You won’t lose out on anything by waiting.  You’ll gain.


Anyone who won’t drop by your office first is probably not a real buyer for you, anyway.  It’s a 99.9% certainty they won’t buy from you.  So forget about them, don’t waste your time and protect yourself from evildoers. Use the extra time to prospect for real customers.


This initial meeting is a wonderful way to bond with buyers and explain issues like buyer agency, inspections, showing procedures, contracts, earnest deposits, etc. This works equally well with strangers, friends and relatives.  Win them over first and your whole job will be that much easier down the road. You’ll have credibility with them and enough knowledge about them to do a better sales job.


Granted, you won’t see a lot of agents using the CITO. Okay, let’s look at this way… you’re smarter than they are! You save more time and gas than they do!  You have more buyer loyalty than they do! 


CITO.  Goofy word.  Smart choice.

Happy sales to you until we meet again, Jan.


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9 comments (Add your own)

1. Julia Thomas wrote:
Very good article Jan. One more bit of wisdom is after the sale, make sure your buyer's change the locks. Also, monitor your supraekey activity, and look into any activity that is not registered as a showing. Jan is absolutely correct, if they won't come into the office, they will not buy a house. It is just common courtesy to provide documentation before being allowed to go into someone's home. Let's all be safe.

Wed, February 24, 2010 @ 9:13 AM

2. Debbie White wrote:
Thank you Jan for this information. We do get complacent and become "pop tarts" and run out the door to meet everyone who wants to "take a look". Well said. You mentioned this blog entry and the reminder that of your blog during the Missouri/Kansas Core last week, which was excellent by the way. Thank you!

Mon, March 8, 2010 @ 11:34 AM

3. Dustin Woods wrote:
KCRAR should implement and hold a class once a month for Women Realtors, helping them get licensed to Carry Concealed Weapons on the job 24/7!
Women should definitely carry a Taser, Pepper Spray, & even a gun to listings/showing appointments!
It would be a very popular class.
Waldo isn't what it used to be & the rapist has yet to be caught. I just got a listing pending in Waldo in Rockhill Gardens after 4 months of the rapist on the news in Waldo. Buyers were definitely aware of the situation.

Wed, April 21, 2010 @ 10:03 PM

4. Jan Pringle wrote:
Thanks for your comments, Dustin. I'll add that concealed carry classes are available thorugh many state licensed groups and it really wouldn't be a subject suitable for KCRAR when we have so many real estate related topics to try and cover. However, we care a great deal about everyone's safety and therefore we publish a lot of material on the topic. If everyone would actually practice what they've been taught . . .they'd be in pretty good shape! As a reminder to everyone: never cut corners "just this one time!" Always conduct a pre-meeting, get everyone preapproved first ,and never show after dark. And never hold an open house alone!

Thu, April 22, 2010 @ 11:38 AM

5. Teresa Dunn wrote:
Jan, I agree with Dustin. I carry a Taser & mace. Haven't used them yet but they make me feel very secure. I had 2 occasions when I was a new agent both at Open House events where I felt threatened. I know several agents besides myself that would be interested in a concealed carry class.

Sun, April 17, 2011 @ 2:09 PM

6. Donna Klopp wrote:
Please do not think it is just woman realtors that are murdered, you are living in a fantasy world if you do not think men will not and have not been killed I know it happened in KC Mo. We just have to use caution and common sense I think it
is really not a good idea to do open houses anymore it is far to risky.

Tue, April 19, 2011 @ 4:12 PM

7. Carol Rondinelli wrote:
You're so right, Jan! I've always felt this same way and do not run out to show just one or two houses to a stranger anymore - - -They either want to work with me as their realtor throughout the process or they're just using me when they want to see a house immediately and don't want to bother "their" realtor.

It's sad, that realtors are not treated like professionals by most of the general public. However, I feel that we as realtors promote that "less than professional" image when we continually run out like a puppet on a string to show and we continually let them walk on us instead of being firm with our charges for our services and we "roll-over" and say "Yes, I'll list and sell your house for nothing."
We are professionals, we work hard and we deserve a decent payment for it!
We're lucky to have you, Jan, as our instructor. I loved your CE class last week and you are so funny and make the classes interesting. Thanks!

Wed, April 20, 2011 @ 10:25 AM

8. Becky Schneider wrote:
You are so right Ms. Pringle. We might add the importance of a SIGNED buyer
agency----I explain it like this: The law requires I disclose who I am working
for and it keeps everyone honest. Sometimes they want to part of this and
the ones that don't you won't miss.....BE SAFE AGENTS, save your time and money...

Wed, April 20, 2011 @ 12:56 PM

9. Kapri wrote:
Very true! Makes a chnage to see someone spell it out like that. :)

Wed, October 3, 2012 @ 8:58 PM

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