Inside an open house: What goes on when the signs come out

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When you see those signs leading to a Realtors open house, dont you sometimes wonder whats going on behind them?

Heres what happened when Prudential Carruthers hosted one at 4801 Peacock Avenue in Belle Wood during a rainy afternoon last Sunday.

A Realtor said that about half the visitors are lookie loos, or sometimes called, with a smile, nosy neighbors. The others could be termed lookie buyers, who are at least thinking of shopping for a home.

This certainly proved to be true towards the end of the day, when two lookie loos and a lookie buyer arrived at about the same time.

Lynne Humphries of Prudential Carruthers greeted them both warmly and answered their questions in ways that showed her extensive knowledge of the home.

Living across the street, Tom Suydam and Bill Wallace were curious about the improvements that had been made to the 44-year-old house, including the updated kitchen and baths. Themselves avid gardeners, they also headed for the quarter-acre backyard with its big hydrangea display, which is also visible from the screened porch.

The men also seemed determined to help make sure that this empty house does not stay vacant long. Whenever someone comes to see it, we tell them that (Belle Wood) is a great place to live, Suydam said. We want some nice neighbors here.

They soon met another visitor, who might fit that bill. We were in the neighborhood, said Caroline Vale of Springfield, after climbing the stairs to the living area. I said we should stop and see what this house is going for.

She is not actively shopping, she said, But we are thinking about it. Her husband Richard waited in the car with the four children, aged one through nine, while she explored their potential new home.

This house might, indeed, meet their lifestyle needs better than their current location, she said. We have the same amount of space now, but we do not have two living rooms, she related. That second living room was the lower-level recreation room, with its full-length brick fireplace.

My kids need a place to put their things, she said, and this large recreation area could indeed serve as a playroom. The home also boasts two bedrooms and a full bath across the hall from the recreation room. Another bath and two bedrooms are located on the upper level, across the foyer from the living-dining area and kitchen.

Vale was also impressed by the dwellings light and bright atmosphere and the gleaming hardwood floors, which continue through the main floor. These had benefited from the recent renovations, when the old carpets were removed and the original hardwood was buffed back to brightness.

Even more, she seemed to enjoy the friendly community atmosphere. As she put it, I like a neighborhood that has sidewalks, where residents can get out and greet each other.

Suydam and Wallace showed that spirit by showing Vale the garden. This place has beautiful hydrangeas, he had said.

One couple has been back to see the house three times, said Humphries, and they also loved the garden. In addition, their children live nearby, giving them an added incentive for moving there.

This was the third open house held at this property. Yvonne Duvall, the listing agent, hosted the most recent one. Humphries explained that she herself did the honors this time because it is a Realtors tradition, like the open house itself. If she is able to sell the house, she will get a share of the commission, she explained, and if the house does not appeal to the visitors, she might lead them to another property that does.

She described this Peacock Avenue home as a lovely house and well priced. And, as Suydam and Wallace demonstrated, The neighbors are real neighbors, too.

When the three-hour event was over, she still had work to do. She said, I must go and pick up all the signs.

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