I’ve been helping buyers and sellers for over a decade, and I know that sometimes, issues arise that just aren’t found on Google. That’s why I’ve decided to catalog some of my most interesting client questions here, in a series I’m calling “Ask Sharon.”
If you have any super-specific questions about buying, selling or owning a house, send them my way and I’ll do my very best to answer them for you. (I can also answer them confidentially, if you’d prefer.)
The first question is one I’ve gotten a few times over the years, and it’s a tricky one. Let’s dive in.
I am thinking of selling my house, but there’s one hold-up that I just can’t get past. I have super nosy and judgmental neighbors, and I already know they’ll be buzzing about how much my home is listed or sold for. I really want to avoid them coming into my house, but I know that anyone is invited to enter during an open house.
My question is, Is it okay to sell my house without any open houses? Or is there any other way I can ensure that my neighbors don’t enter my for-sale home?
Stumped but ready to sell
Oh dear. I can sense that these neighbors are a particularly annoying bunch, and I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with them for so long.
First, I’ll say that a seller is never required to do anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. I’ve had sellers who require me to be at every single home showing (rather than allowing buyers to enter with the help of a lockbox), and I’ve had luxury home sellers who request that each buyer show that they are pre-approved for the house before entering. I’ve also had sellers with young children who can only accommodate showings during certain time frames. When at all possible, I do my very best to work with my sellers and accommodate their specific needs and desires.
So, the simplest answer to your question is that you do NOT have to approve an open house into the listing and marketing plan that we’ll develop together.
However, if that is how you wish to proceed, then I’ll be sure to work overtime to ensure that the highest number of potential buyers are seeing your house online. Because while many open house attendees are “looky-loos” — including folks from the neighborhood who have no intention of buying, or early-stage buyers who aren’t ready to make a move — others are taking advantage of being able to see many houses in the course of one day, without having to make private appointments. On some occasions, “nosy neighbors” visit a nearby home out of curiosity and then share how great it is with friends and family… possibly (albeit rarely) bringing a buyer to the home! However, if you are not comfortable with an Open House, we will focus on the strategies that you are comfortable with…
To pique interest in your home, I will:
- Run targeted advertisements on social media and top home search portals
- Create a personalized blog for your home that can be shared on different sites
- Utilize professional photography and floorplans to show your home in the best “digital light”
- Create distinct property walk through videos so that buyers can get the full picture of the home, its layout and best features
- Send out direct mail marketing pieces to potential local buyers
- Send out email blasts about your property to local realtors
And, I’ll also host what’s called a “broker open,” which is a private, invite-only event where real estate professionals can tour the house. Typically, broker opens occur on weekdays when both the seller and potential buyers are working. Agents and brokers can tour the house, then report back to their clients about a brand-new property that just hit the market. It’s truly a win-win for everyone!
Keep in mind that as we sell your house, it’ll likely be in its best shape in years! By taking on small improvement projects like painting, landscaping and staging, you may end up feeling a new, unexpected pride in the property. And you may decide that you don’t mind hosting an open house, even if it does mean that this group of neighbors will come to poke around. Whatever you choose, just know that I’m behind you all the way.
In summary, I want to reinforce that as your REALTOR®, I’ll always follow your lead. I’ll never ask you to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, and I’ll encourage open and honest communication on both ends. Whether it’s playing defense against nasty, gossipy neighbors or helping you to determine the right price for much-beloved home, I’m always on your team.
With great affection,
P.S. If you have a real estate question of your own, feel free to reach out! I am happy to help!