Ready for this? You wake up at 3 a.m., cannot sleep, put on some clothes and visit a couple of open houses. Or, you cannot cram your closing meeting with your escrow officer into a normal part of the day, so you set up an appointment for 2 a.m. at the all-night title office.

Kinko’s does it. Home Depot does it. Most grocery stores do it, so why not real estate?

Prompting our ideas about this bizarre prospect was a new product developed by Lighthouse Marketing, which is offering a solar-lighted for-sale sign. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based firm promises agents the signs will “work for you day and night.”

The Internet has already turned home shopping into a all day, all night, everyday experience. It is only a matter of time before the service and marketing side of the business will begin to peddle homes in the dark.

Face it, the average agent is already onboard, dishing out their cell and home phone numbers to most clients. This is an open invitation for late-night calls from frantic home buyers who have the heebie jeebies about their fist purchase. Indeed, few experienced agents have not fielded many calls after dark from this frightened bunch.

The founders of Kinko’s once said that their decision to stay open all night-initially prompted by procrastinating college students who were late to finish assignments-began to make real economic sense because all sorts of other interesting people were busy on projects at wee hours of the morning. Of course, some are depressed souls who have nowhere else to go and others wake up in the middle of the night ready for some action.

Strung out home buyers anxious to find the right house in a seller’s market would be prime candidates for the all-night real estate firm.

Of course, there are some drawbacks to this plan. Lighted signs in some neighborhoods will brighten up the streetscape. In others, the NIMBYs will screech loud.

Moreover, the demand for housing is already far too strung out, adding more caffeine to the mix could be volatile.


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