Monday, June 4, 2007

Nosy Neighbors SELL Homes!

Open houses are not for every home. In fact as the buyer’s market of 2005 stretches into 2006 and 2007, I find myself sitting in fewer and fewer residential properties on beautiful sunny Sunday afternoons awaiting that perfect buyer.

This is not for the reasons one might expect. I actually love doing open houses and have been very successful at them. And by success I mean not just for myself by meeting new potential clients to take to “other” homes. I mean that I have actually SOLD homes at houses I have held open for my sellers.

Now first of all, everything must fall into place…

  1. The house has to be great.

  2. The location has to be wonderful.

  3. The price has to be right.

Open Houses work for me!
One of the number one reasons agents and sellers avoid open houses is the infamous “NOSY Neighbor”! Some agents insist that these unwelcome attendees are the only ones who show up. Homeowners dread the thought that Mrs. J down the street who walks past the house everyday is going to come in and tell everyone what the house looks like inside. And how this is a bad thing when your house is for sale?

The Nosy Neighbors are the open house attendees that show up about 30 minutes after the signs are out and the door is opened. They come in with an apologetic, “Don’t mind me, I just live up the street and always wanted to see what they did with the place.”
Remember now, I like open houses so I welcome these neighbors like the guests that they are. I have found neighbors to be the best source of buyers. The so-called “Nosy” ones are usually the people who LOVE their community. Neighborhood residents are engaging. They tell stories about the home and how much they will miss the people that live in it. And, on some occasions, these neighbors excite the real buyers in the room.

Late last summer, with the Twin Cities spiraling into a full-fledged buyers market, I was able to secure an acceptable purchase agreement for my seller the day after an open house. Around 20 minutes after opening the door, a couple of delightful young mom’s with kids in tow, walked up the driveway and through the door. “Just from around the corner and stopping to take a peek”, they said. I knew that this particular home was very well priced with an attractive, modified two-story floorplan. But the home next door was also for sale and had been for over 2 months. The Blaine location was ideal but being within shouting distance of the regional Anoka County airport was not. So I had my work cut out for me.

Since I had just open the doors, these gals were my first visitors and I was alone in the home. So, they pulled up a chair and started to swap stories. They knew the Grandma that had lived in the home as she walked the winding neighborhood streets and sometimes got lost. They were aware of the home for sale next door and provided details of the condition of that listing. As the conversation went on, more people started to arrive, but the “nosy neighbors” stayed comfortably in the kitchen enjoying chocolates from my candy dish.

When new guests came in to view the home, I did my regular greeting, “Hi there. My name is Teri. Feel free to take a look around and ask questions. Don’t forget to sign in!” etc. One young couple with a chubby little bundled dressed in pink seemed very interested in the home. The questions became very specific right away and the young mother shared that she had viewed the home yesterday with her father and agent while her husband was working. It was ironically the exact same floor plan they had just priced out building with the exact same builder but in a different development a few miles away. They had stopped in so the husband could see the home too.

As those in custom home construction know, a brand new home built to the buyers specifications is thousands more than an existing home that is 4-5 years old. This is due to price increases in materials and labor for the most part. But also there is value in what the homeowner adds after purchase like privacy fencing, window treatments and landscaping.

When neighbors realized that this young couple was very interested in the home, they chimed into the conversation. One gal asked this if this was their only child and started to tell about the other kids and families in the area. They must have felt a kindred spirit in this young mom as they started to create an energy and excitement about the neighborhood that I alone could not have created.

The young couple was SOLD.
The next day, their agent presented a non-contingent purchase agreement as the young couple decided to risk owning two homes in this buyers market rather than let this ideal home slip through their fingers!

Some might think that this is a fluke occurrence and that the neighbors could have been a detriment in this situation. I have held many open houses and this situation is not unique. Neighbors who love their neighborhood, help SELL the house. They pick up information for relatives and friends that are currently in the market for a home and pass it on to them. People sell neighborhoods they love.

So let this be a lesson to all sellers and sellers’ agents. Don’t avoid open houses because neighbors might drop in! There is no such thing as a “Nosy Neighbor”. Neighbors can be Assets to the Sale of the home! And neighbors, don’t apologize as you enter one of my open houses. You are more than welcome!

Here's another great post on Open Houses: Open Houses-Do they Work in a Buyer's Market?
If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage properties! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2007