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The struggle to stay poker-faced at an open house

The struggle to stay poker-faced at an open house

So, there you are on, a brisk fall Sunday afternoon, still shaking your head in disbelief that it’s going to be dark in 32 minutes, driving home from the soccer game. Making the turn off the freeway, you see the sign.

Horizontal, green on white print, with the huge OPEN HOUSE invitation printed within the shape of an arrow pointing to the left.

You make eye contact with each of your passengers – using that non-verbal raised eyebrow gesture that assumes their approval – and to the left you whip.

And since you’re experienced with visiting open houses, you have your scripts more well rehearsed than the agent you’re about to meet. Let’s see what happens when you follow the rest of the signs and pull up in front of the house.

The Greeting: When you get out of the car to get into the house, you know she’s going to be right there. Big smile on her face, flyers in the crook of her arm, with her other hand extended forward and her eyes meeting yours and latching on for dear life.

“Hi, please come in! I’m Leslie.”

Shake shake shake. You give her your hand, while avoiding eye contact, a strategy you learned trying to keep the middle seat unoccupied on every Southwest Airlines flight you’ve ever taken.

But she cuts right through your avoidance move and says, “And your name is?” Darn. Now you have to talk to her, if you and your carload of soccer players want to get a peek at the house.

My Name is John: Treating this like meeting a stranger at a bar, you give a false name. I’m John. This is my wife Mary. And our girls – Marcia, Jan and Cindy.

Having passed that hurdle, she hands you the flyer and invites you to take a look around. Whooo Hoo! You just got the Golden Ticket. The right to look at the house! Off you go to see what you came to see.

The Grilling: Now that you’ve seen the kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, backyard and living room, you have to get past the agent to get back to you car. And you know what’s coming.

“So, what do you like best about the house?” she asks, blocking your exit.

“Oh, it’s really nice.” You try to be evasive. Until you see the look on your wife’s face, which has an angelic glow, as if she just found the Mother Lode.

The agent also sees this look, a look she is picks up faster than any player in the World Series of Poker.

The Wrap Up: The agent makes a bee-line for the woman she thinks is named Mary, the mother of Marcia, Jan and Cindy, to assure her that the house is looking for a family like hers, how easy the escrow will be, and how cooperative and motivated the sellers are.

And you watch your wife give the agent a huge hug and start giving her your real names, contact phone numbers and the name and number for your lender who has your pre-approval letter ready to go.

Looks like you found your new home!

Leslie Sargent Eskildsen is an Orange County real estate agent. She can be reached at 949-678-3373 or leslie@leslieeskildsen.com. Her website is leslieeskildsen.com.

The Orange County Register – News Headlines : Real Estate News