Once your house is staged, you are now ready for opening night, which I thought was the Sunday Open House. But, like Broadway, there are previews. These are called caravans.
I guess the real estate people use the word “caravan” because it is when bands of hungry real estate brokers, like nomads in the desert, wander around your house.
First, there are real estate agency caravans where the house is open to the other agents who work with your broker. This Tuesday event is the “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” visit. “I’ll attend the houses you’re listing and you look at the houses I’m listing. Maybe we can make a deal before the house goes on the market and we can both make out like bandits.” So there’s good attendance.
Brokers with potential buyers actually do want to see the house first in case it matches the needs of their buyers. Brokers without potential buyers want to be able to tell any home seekers they meet about the new house on the market.
The second caravan is when the house is open to all brokers. This is usually on Thursdays. The secret is that brokers who want lunch go first to the open houses serving food. Then, if time permits, they’ll visit the other broker open houses. Our broker served food. Quite tasty lasagna. She left two pieces for us so we could eat it for dinner. That’s how we knew we had a broker who could keep her clients happy.
The brokers having picked over the bones of our house, we were now ready for Sunday which is the day for the unwashed masses, or everyone else, to walk through your home.
Final spruce up is required. Clean up spilled lasagna. Re-vacuum and re-dust. Wipe fingerprints off the sliding glass door. Re-clean the toilet bowl, and make the kitchen spotless.
It was supposed to start at 2 pm on Sunday – giving people enough time to go to church, eat lunch, and start trolling the streets for Open House signs. We waited nervously for our broker. 1:30, 1:40, 1:45…was she going to show up? Two cars pulled up in front of the house at 1:50. Early birds, ready to get a drop on the new house on the block. We kept the front door firmly locked. We didn’t want to have to show our own house.
Finally, at 1:55, the broker arrived. She was busy putting Open House signs all over the neighborhood. She said hello, laid out her flyers, cards, a tray of cookies, and bid us farewell. The fresh baked cookies sent a sweet aroma and an image of domestic bliss throughout the house.
As we pulled out of the driveway, people were already at the front door.
We passed by the signs for our open house. Like castle turrets, they surrounded the house in all directions. We went to late lunch, we went to the park, and awaited the verdict on our home.