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“Looky Lous” and Nosy Neighbors

A lot of homeowners who are looking to sell their houses will be emphatic and tell their agents that they absolutely, positively, do not want to have any OPEN Houses. Why? Because they are convinced that the only people who will come through are all of their nosy neighbors. The other people they don’t want to cater to are sometimes referred to as “looky loos.”  These are people who in theory have nothing better to do than go look at Open Houses on any given Saturday or Sunday.  Sometimes they are looking for decorating ideas. Perhaps they want to peer into the lives of the more beautiful people and actually see how the “haves” versus the “have nots’ live.  I will have to concede on this point.  There is a slight element of truth here and the seller’s objections are somewhat founded in truth.  But as the great Radio personality, Paul Harvey, used to say, 

” …and now, let’s get to the rest of the story.”

Granted, there are people who go to Open Houses and fit this description. But let’s look at the nosy neighbors first.  I often tell agents, this is a special group and you want to pay particular attention to them because two things could be going on with this group. Frequently, your neighbors will have friends and family over and they have had conversations with many of them who have indicated how much they love this neighborhood and wish they could live there as well. If those same nosy neighbors like what they see at your Open House, there are really strong odds in favor of them going back and telling their friends, relatives, about YOUR house.  This happens all the time.  So even if you didn’t like your neighbors, they might be doing you a favor and be the actual cause of the sale of your house.  Of course, another benefit to the agent is that the same nosy neighbor may actually develop some rapport with the agent and they may have a house to sell too. So that’s a definite plus to the agent. But as the seller, why would you care? Oddly enough, there could be a benefit to the seller as well because competition is good for success and another house for sale on the same street might help get your house sold because yours appears to be a better value (larger lot, fenced in yard, an extra bathroom, etc.) Even if the neighbor’s house is a better value than yours, it will more than likely sell and even if you indirectly helped get theirs sold, any house that sells on your street is a good thing for you because it shows that other people really like your neighborhood. Once their house is sold, it’s your turn.  All boats rise with the tide.

Now the other people, the so called looky loos, could oddly enough, additionally become fertile ground for a sale for you too. There are too many instances to list here where people who had no intention of buying anything, go into an Open House and “Bingo” they declare, 

“This is exactly what we have been looking for and we never expected to find it, right here, in our favorite neighborhood.”

So this is what I tell agents. If you have a seller who thinks that Open Houses are not effective, and they raise the nosy neighbor’s objection, concede that there is an element of truth and their suspicions are not unfounded. The benefit, however, of actually snagging a buyer this way vastly outweighs any perceived inconvenience and might make for increasing their success of selling by including an Open House as a part of their overall marketing plan.  The other thing worth keeping in mind is that living in a house and selling a house are very different things.  There is always, repeat, always, an element of inconvenience when you have to sell a house. That’s just the way it is.  Maybe the seller needs to get over it. So, have an Open House. Make the sale. Now go and live happily ever after on the proceeds.

Hey, I wrote the book on Real Estate, literally.”

Author Brendan J. Cunningham is a New York Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, lead of the Platinum Team at HusVar Real Estate, as well as an accomplished writer, Shakespearean trained professional actor, and podcaster.

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