Tuesday brokers opens are a tasty tradition

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I wish my young couple would come look at this, Boots Leavitt exclaimed. A Realtor at Coldwell, Banker in Alexandria, she was attending a Tuesday brokers open house in a $649,000 brick townhouse on Belle Haven Road.

In particular, Leavitt felt sure that these clients would be impressed by the lower level, with its brick fireplace and glass doors leading to the flagstone patio. This is gorgeous, she said. Even better, it was within their price range.

Other agents obviously felt the same way. The day after the open house, one of the guests offered a sales contract that was accepted on a clients behalf.

This made it a good investment for the listing agent, Nancy Tompkins of Coldwell Banker, who had hosted the traditional Tuesday open house with its accompanying buffet lunch.

Catered by Mary Moore of Old Town, this one featured saffron chicken, a lavish salad and fruit plate, caramel scones and brownies with iced tea. Such a spread can easily cost $250 to $500, Tompkins said. The listing agent pays for it all, as part of the marketing expense.

This buffet was strategically placed, overlooking some of the homes finest features. It was spread out on the table in front of the parlor bay window, above the patio, where an ornamental maple tree provided impressive views from both the parlor and patio levels.

There is also a logical explanation for the traditional Tuesday timing. Agents often spend all weekend showing homes, Tompkins explained. They then discuss the result at the Tuesday office meeting. There, they also learn about the days open houses and may tour them together in caravans.

We are still working on Tuesday, Tompkins added. But those Tasty Tuesday open houses are a way of mixing business with pleasure.

Having hosted brokers open houses for 14 years, she said that the listing agents added the luncheon during a slow sales cycle as a way of attracting buyers agents to tour the properties.

It helps us keep up with the market, Tompkins explained. For this reason, she said, I try to go to as many as possible, once or twice a month. Even if I dont have a buyer in the right price range at the time, I might always get one later.

About 25 Realtors attended that day, making it a good turnout. We never know in advance if we will have five guests or 50, Tompkins explained.

Peggy OConnell of Long & Foster provided a typical response by saying, The patio is beautiful!

While these gatherings are separate from the public open houses that are usually held on weekends, the public is not always excluded from the traditional Tuesday brokers opens, either. As this one ended, two browsers came by and Tompkins graciously guided them through the home.

One group is not usually included, however … namely, the owners of the house on display. The host often asks the guests for their advice on matters like pricing and repairs, as Tompkins explained. The Realtors might hesitate to answer honestly in the owners presence, for fear of  hurting their feelings.

There would have been little danger of that in this case. As Rosie Borders of Century 21 Accent Homes put it, I will remember this one. From her tone of voice, it was obvious that she would do so very fondly.

In addition to the major marketing function, the luncheons serve another purpose, Tompkins added. Like any other community, Realtors have traditions, and this one helps to bring them together.

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