I’m quite familiar with the look.
Sometimes it says, “How dare you show this property and let my parents drag me to umpteen open houses on Sunday afternoon when I’d rather be playing with my toys?”
Or it says, “Please don’t let them buy this condo because I hated it the instant we walked in. I want a blue house.”
Or it’s something like this, “I can see you’re as trapped as me. You have to stand here and be nice and greet everyone and you can’t leave until 4 o’clock. And I have to come in and look around and not touch anything and I can’t leave until they say it’s okay. Since we’re both stuck here, have you anything to offer me in the way of refreshment or entertainment?”
Or maybe, “You might fool my parents with your friendliness, but you can’t fool me. Stand back three feet or I’ll start screaming.”
Don’t get me wrong. I love kids. (I even raised two myself.) But children coming through the front door of an open house can be as nervous-making as an unsteady high-heeled matron holding a latte in one hand and a shih tzu in the other while navigating the white-carpeted stairs.
You never know what you’re going to get, including:
- Serious disruption of staging – vases smashed into smithereens, chess pieces sent down the toilet, pillows thrown out the window.
- Nasty messes – unflushed number twos hiding in the powder room, newly planted impatiens wrenched from the ground, every glass surface streaked with yogurt paws.
- Pandemonium – door slamming, stair running, door locking, cat chasing, crying, biting and violent pulling on parental arms just as they’re about to request your business card.
I prefer quiet children who tell their folks to get lost while they sit on the front steps with me. Like Maizy, a seven-year-old who attended my last open house.
Maizy: Do you live here?
Me: No. I am the real estate agent. I am showing the house for the owners.
Maizy: Do you like this house?
Me: Yes. I think it’s a terrific house. How about you?
Maizy: I guess so. I like our old house better but Mommy says we need more room for my baby brother.
Me: I bet you’re a great big sister. Is it fun being a big sister?
Maizy: (puzzling her lips together and to one side) No. He’s pretty boring. But he’s still little. Do you have some candy?
Me: No. I might have some Altoids.
Maizy: I like Altoids.
Me: Is it okay with your parents for you to have an Altoid?
Maizy: Oh, yes, of course it’s okay. They let me have Altoids all the time.
Me: (offering the Altoids tin) Here you go. Help yourself.
Maizy: Thank you. This is so boring.
Me: Yes, I know what you mean.
Maizy: Are you bored? I thought grownups didn’t mind boring things.
Me: Well, perhaps not as much as kids mind them.
Maizy: I don’t want to be a grownup.