Open House Tour: Lessons Learned #1: Allow Plenty of Time to Plan Showing Routings

This past Sunday I was up at 6 am. "Ugh," you say? "Slept in," I say! For my day job (yes, yes, I'm going to be one of those dreaded "part-time real estate agents" for several years) I typically start work around 4am, so sleeping in until 6 is a real luxury.

Open House

Anyhoo, hubby had agreed to view some open houses with me and all I had to do was pick out the ones I wanted to see. I sat down for some quality time with Realtor.com to find open houses in our area in the price ranges I wanted. From my prior research, I'd learned that the median home price in my area runs about 300K. My plan is for my median closing to run about 750K thus I was filtering for homes above 600K. Plenty from which to choose!It took some time and a lot of talking to myself (you get really weird looks from your significant other and your dogs when you do this), but I ended up with 10 homes to visit ranging from 575K to 2.9mil. By the numbers:

  • 10 because more than one of the brokers with whom I interviewed said that can be a pretty standard number of homes to visit in a day with a client and I'm a bit skeptical.
  • 5 homes in the 600K - 900K range figuring this will probably be my typical price range.
  • 5 homes in the 1mil - 3mil range with the thought that since I'll certainly take on clients looking for homes under 600K I should also be willing to take on those above 900K as well, I just happen to have more personal experience with the under 600K homes already so this time I went higher; ok, ok one was only 920K, but I rounded that one up to 1mil because of location - three of these were in a single neighborhood within blocks of each other with prices at 920K, 1.9mil, and 2.9mil, and all of them looked and sounded good online so I wanted to see what the differences really were; the other 2 at 1mil each were outliers for contrast - one in the country with 10 acres, and 1 brand new home. 

In a spreadsheet I noted:

  1. Client
  2. Date
  3. Start time
  4. End time
  5. Street address
  6. City, State, Zip
  7. Brokerage
  8. Listing Agent
  9. Phone
  10. Beds
  11. Baths
  12. Half Baths
  13. Stories
  14. Garage Spaces
  15. Sq Ft
  16. Lot Size
  17. Price
  18. Price Per Sq Ft (calculated)
  19. Commission (calculated at a "typical" 3%)
  20. Taxes on that Commission (calculated at a hopefully overly-generous given deductions 40%)
  21. "Net" Pre-Expenses take away (calculated) 

I've trialed many of the current routing software options available but haven't found one that does exactly what I want. As I refuse to spend money on something I feel I can do just as well for free with a spreadsheet and Google or MapQuest I set out making a spreadsheet. I spent quite a bit of time arranging that to suit my desires. Since I intend to reuse it when routing showings for future clients, it was time well spent yet it was not time I had budgeted per se so I was feeling a bit rushed at that point. 

My next step was to visit MapQuest (Why did I chose MapQuest over Google this day? That answer's a story for a different day), input the addresses, and juggle the order until it looked like we would, theoretically, be able to make it to all 10 within their respective open house time frames. Though we'd be making a few gentle loops around the area, we'd not be backtracking overly much so I felt it appeared semi-organized. I also suspected we'd not actually make it to all of them, one in particular that had a mid-day two-hour window that just didn't seem likely, but I was willing to give it a go.

While I had had a goal of being at the first home when it opened, this all took me longer than I thought it would. Enough time that I feel lesson learned #1 = allow plenty of time to plan showing routings, or in this case, open house routings. All told I'd say I spent about 3.5 hours putzing around getting this ready, a good 2 hours of which was just picking the targets and massaging the route to suit. I know that this will go faster as time goes on but I definitely feel I should allow at least a 2-3 hours for my first few.

By a little after 11 am we were ready to roll with the ordered list of homes, Realtor.com app on my phone, and the full route loaded into MapQuest. The first home opened at 11, so my first goal was missed by a mile. Oh, and I had been planning to wash my Jeep. With no time left, our transportation would be muddy. So truly, two goals missed! Despite that, we were finally off and running, yippieee.

Or were we?

Stay tuned!

:0)