A story of preparation: Coffee & New Listings

We’re heading out of town and stopped in a new coffee shop to give it a try.  Expected a little wait since they are, after all, new.  When it appeared that the staff was adjusting to the Saturday morning crowds, I thought that perhaps their systems needed a little more work.  While I waited almost an hour for 3 coffee drinks (along with tens of others), I had time to think about systems in my own industry. 

A good analogy is the first week of a new listing.  The first-week-on-the-market systems are critical because that is the week the property will see the most “eyes”,  a short period of time with the greatest opportunity to capture a prospective buyer, and agent’s, attention.   Good preparation for that first open house is crucial.

Let’s just take the similarities of entering a new coffee shop and visiting an open house from the “customer” point of view:


Breath in the freshly roasting coffee, take in the buzz of friendly gatherings, in anticipation of that first warm sip.  You think, 5-10 minutes tops…it’s gonna be good!

You walk up the steps taking note of the front yard, landscaping, front door, you go into the Open House expecting an agent with a professional demeanor and material about the house on nice print quality paper (assume spelling, copy, address, contact info, etc. has been checked), a knowledgeable agent who knows the neighborhood and comparable properties in the area, the current inventory, days on market, number of expired listings or forsalebyowners.


The line moves quickly enough to give my order and then I wait, and wait… orders are being called out but not all drinks are claimed.  Hmmmm, what’s that about?  They’re pretty popular this morning, new business, everyone is checking them out…no problem, I can be patient.  Why aren’t people picking up their drinks??

You look around the house, looks pretty good.  So you take a closer look.  You notice stains on the ceiling, small cracks on the kitchen counter, personal belongings (i.e. clutter) taking up permanent residence all around.  Your initial enthusiasm about the house is waning, you feel a little discouraged, yet you think, these are minor issues – look past it – the location is great.  Then you look at the asking price.


Patient patrons peer around heads to see if it was their name that was called.  I notice my friend, she mentions in passing that they have been waiting over 30 minutes…I begin to look around the coffee shop and see how many tables DON’T have cups on them.  I start to think, wow, I may be waiting a reallly long time.  OK I’d like to try out this new coffee place but 30 plus minutes for 3 coffee drinks is too long.  Do I walk away from my $12 bill?  I look around to see what others are doing.  Some ask for a refund, instead they get a “raincheck” type card to come back another time to get coffee.  We stay, invested in the time already, we don’t want to go to another coffee shop now.

You start to wonder if you will ever be able to afford to buy a home in this area.  You wonder how the seller can have the nerve to list his home for this price in this condition.  You take your frustration out on the agent.  If an agent is not prepared, an opportunity is lost.

Vexation. Some walk out of the coffee shop without coffee…senses assaulted…expectations shattered…sigh.

You walk out of the Open House with a less than stellar impression of real estate agents, the real estate market, and anything associated with real estate.  You continue to rent or own the house that’s too small or too big or not in the location you really want – end of story.

Surrender. This is not the day to try this new coffee shop, but we wait anyway.  They have some things to work out.  Accept it.

I guess I’ll just keep looking since this is not the right house.  Seller, agent and buyer will never know.  The customer has already formed an impression.