Question Details

Phyllis McAr…, Real Estate Pro in San mateo, CA

Open house Dress Code?

Asked by Phyllis McArthur, San mateo, CA Wed Jan 5, 2011

Usually I have a suit on and am "dressed up" for an open house (yes open houses still work here). Last week I took clients to an open house where the agent was not dressed in what could be determined professional. She was sprawled out on the couch in wrinked slacks and tennis shoes. Did I mention she is a highly respected agent in our area? When we left one of my clients commented on the agents appearance. I said nothing, just listened.

What is the reaction to this?

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Yes, the situation could have been better. But the big question is did the buyer like the home??
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 5, 2011
Why not just put out a cot and hang a sign on it that says, "wake me if you have quesitons, otherwise leave me alone"?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 6, 2011
Unprofessional, but it's surprising how many agents at open houses are unprofessional. I haven't seen many examples like the one you described. But during football season, how often do you see male agents (usually), casually dressed, watching the football game on a TV and barely acknowledging the existance of other agents or potential buyers? I see that a lot. Or two agents (not stereotyping, but often two women) showing a house, and engaged in a conversation with each other and ignoring others? Or an agent (could be male or female--I've seen both about equally) engaged in some extended conversation with a neighbor who clearly has no interest in buying the house, meanwhile ignoring potential buyers?

Returning to your point: I agree that the agent's unprofessional appearance was inappropriate for an open house.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 5, 2011
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
Yes, I agree with James, you need not worry about your clients being swayed to work with the hosting agent. Dressing the part of a pro does matter - I am often told by both clients and other agents that they notice that I dress professionally when I work. Even if working from home, I put on my work clothes. I take myself more seriously when I dress the part, I'm sure others do as well.

All I have to say about the hosting agent is "good heavens!" what was she thinking!

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 6, 2011
My thoughts about dress code for open house are, you need to dress appropriately for the demographic of clientele that will be visiting the home. I'm sure the visitors will expect that of any agent holding an open house. I know agents acting the way this one did doesn't look too good for our industry, but at least you won't have to worry about agents like that picking up too many clients.
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 6, 2011
Hello Phyllis, the way people dress very often reflects their commitment and dedication to the task at hand. Although we should not judge a book by its cover a poorly dressed professional could be a red flag. Here in NYC a dress code is under consideration for taxi cab drivers, certainly a professional image for agents should be considered important.
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 6, 2011
Sprawled on the couch with wrinkled slacks - unacceptable. The attire, however, is mostly irrelevant.
At my Open House events you will find the team dressed in sports attire, safari and even seasonal garb. Rarely would business formal be the right description. What is crucial is the hosting party must be distinguishable from the pool maintainence crew. Those of you representing buyers should also be distingishable from your clients. The buyer agent in the cargo pants and T is not distinguishable from the vacationing Jersey Shore buyer.

I'm always amazed folks have time to sprawl or watch the game during an open house. What are their open house goals?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 6, 2011
I would more concerned about what the thoughts of the seller that she is representing would think about napping on their couch.

In my neck of the woods, we have some very successful agents that dress in anything but professional attire. My conclusion would be that most buyers are not paying much attention to that. However, I do not feel comfortable meeting a client, showing a home etc. unless I am dressed professionally. Also, the company I work for has a dress code.................even though there are some that ignore it.
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 5, 2011
I'm not sure about the "dress code" aspect, but I'm certain about the behavior aspect - a host or hostess does not greet visitors while prone on the couch!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 5, 2011
Like the others I think it wasn't just the attire of the agent that was a turn off. It was the behavior. I think it is "dress for the house". You will not find me in a suit if I am sitting a plat with only a trailer, If I am sitting horse property you will find me in jeans. But whatever I am wearing you can bet it looks sharp and I will meet you like a hostess should.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 10, 2011
Hi John, I loved your answer! Yes, just wake me up if you have something to bother me with.

I guess it really depends on what tasks an agent is working on, I remember Picking up a client to show her a property in San Mateo, She looked at me and asked "Why are you dressed up?" I said to her, "Because I'm showing you homes." She smiled and said nothing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 6, 2011
Hi Phyllis
I look at open houses as an opportunity to dress to impress & capture new clients. However,your experience to the sloppily dressed agent doing an open house doesn't surprise me. I have often walked into open houses with clients where we were not greeted at the door, they had no information available for buyers & they were sloppily dressed as well. Makes you wonder how do they get these listings?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 5, 2011

Any level of business is truely an extension of society.....doctors, lawyers, educators, etc. all have their share of liabilities.....why would we expect real estate to be any different than other professions.

Sounds like this agent is either not feeling well or is dealing with APS. (after party syndrome)

Believe that this type of behavior will eventually catch up with her........

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 5, 2011
Not everyone projects a professional image. This agent must have felt that having an open house was more of a chore than an opportunity to meet buyers . Your buyers now have an impression of that agent and possibly her agency that they will not forget.

All the best,
Gary Geer
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 5, 2011
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