How an open house differs from an appointment

At an open house, buyers come and go at their pleasure.

They’ll sign their names and contact information on a sheet.  Sometimes, what they write actually is legible and even factual.  Often not.

To the broker holding the open house, that sheet is somewhat less important than the possibility of turning one of those buyers into his or her buyer of either that property or another one.  When the possibility is great, the information is verified and the broker gives chase by phone and e-mail.

(If the broker manages to sell the property to such a buyer, the commission is doubled, and the opportunity to engage in a conflict of interest is created.)

Fair enough.

But what happens when a broker calls or e-mails another broker to schedule a private showing of a Manhattan, co-op, condo or townhouse for a customer or client, even if it is the second time?

What happens is that the broker will insist on the presence of the second broker nine times out of 10.  That’s another peculiarly New York phenomenon that boggles my mind.  I’ve tried to determine the reasons.  I’ve decided that among the explanations is that the broker doesn’t:

  • Trust himself or herself to be ethically responsible by refusing to poach a customer;
  • Want to be falsely accused of being ethically irresponsible;
  • Like to be bothered extolling the property’s attributes;
  • Tolerate being almost alone, preferring a lot of company.

If the practice of sending customers to see a place unaccompanied when necessary is common elsewhere, then I don’t see any defensible reason for denying that convenience here.  I just don’t discern the difference between buyers’ going alone to an open house and going alone to a private showing.

Am I missing something?

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201
Web site

2 thoughts on “How an open house differs from an appointment

  1. Malcolm, a conscientious broker will want to see a property with his customer. You may see qualities – good or bad – that your customer may miss. Remember the selling broker is working for the seller and your job is to guide and protect your customer. If my customer sees a property on their own at an open house and wants to bid I alway try to go back and see it with them for a second time. It would be easy to just send customers to see apartments and sit back and do the negotiating, but this business is built on relationships not deals.


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