If you’re thinking of selling your house, you might be wondering how it compares to the competition. And if you do sell, an appraisal will ideally examine the comps used for reference, which will be recently sold homes in your neighborhood. That makes it a smart move to gather intel on neighboring homes when they go on the market — specifically by attending their open houses.
So what is an open house? Generally, an open house means the person selling it is letting potential buyers come in and view the property without having to make an appointment. Open houses are typically held on weekends. They’re also something nearly half of buyers attend, so open houses can be a big deal.
Go into observation mode
Although you may feel as if you’re being nosy, you can learn a lot of valuable information from your neighbor’s open house — not only by visually assessing how your home compares but also by listening carefully.
What are potential buyers noticing? Are they fawning over the stone patio or screened-in porch? You may notice that potential buyers are disappointed that an oversized, aging tub made the bathroom feel too crowded, for instance. If you have an underused tub, maybe now is the time to follow your instincts and remove it — before you go to market.
Also look for things they’ve improved upon or updated to get some ideas on whether your home needs renovation work. If you notice every open house you attended has granite countertops, but you’re still rocking laminate, consider upgrading. Or if you noticed they easily created an open floor plan by knocking down the wall between the kitchen and dining room, maybe you should do it too! Make note of areas of the home that have a “wow” factor based on what potential homebuyers are noticing. That might give you some ideas regarding sprucing up your own home.
Befriend the real estate agent
The real estate agent selling your neighbor’s house can also be a wealth of information at an open house. If they aren’t busy tending to other home shoppers, ask them about the market trends for the area, and how quickly they expect the house to sell — and there’s no harm revealing you’re a neighbor looking for information so they’re not giving you a hard sell. Moreover, if you like them, get their card and consider listing your home with the same agent. After all, they’ll have experience selling in your exact neighborhood, which will allow them to be better equipped to do their job and potentially land a quick sale.