My Neighbor’s House Is For Sale! How Can I Compete?
Published May 31, 2017
How to sell your home at the same time your neighbor’s place is on the market, and still remain friends.
It can feel intimidating to put your home up for sale at the same time your neighbor does, but remember that it’s not who’s on the market first that matters - it’s about the sale itself. Here are some strategic moves to make your home stand out to interested buyers touring multiple homes on the same block.
If you’re like most people, then you fell in love with your home and the neighborhood when you purchased it. But as your life changed over time, you decided to move onto something different. You started planning to sell your home, and created a nice timeline. Then as you take out the trash one morning, you see a for sale sign in your neighbor’s front yard. What do you do now? The last thing on your mind is that your neighbor would be doing the same thing as you.
There are ways for both of you to sell your home and still keep the peace. To stand out from the home right next to you, you’ll need to create a unique layout, amp up your curb appeal, and make sure your home is spotless. Marketing is also going to play a key role to selling your home efficiently, so when you look for a realtor, be sure to ask about their approach in this department.
Tour Your Neighbor’s Home
Getting an idea of how your neighbor’s home flows and how they decorate can help you stage your own home. Make sure to pay attention to the details like the condition of their walls, floors, light fixtures, and windows in each room. Take your time here. Notice if their kitchen has newer appliances, and if their bathrooms have recently been upgraded. This will give them a higher appraisal number, thus increasing their home’s value.
Check out what amenities the home comes with. Is there a working fireplace, security system, or a large back yard? These features can be hard to compete with if you have a similar home layout but lack in the extras department. Even though you can’t magically add a beautiful exposed brick fireplace, you can still offer valuable amenities.
Deep Clean and De-clutter Your Home
This is going to be a large undertaking, and you might need to enlist the help of your family or professionals to make sure your home is squeaky clean. Consider washing walls, pressure-washing your driveway and exterior paint, and cleaning your carpets. By the time you’re done cleaning, it will be much easier to maintain this high-polished level of cleanliness during your showing schedule. The hard part is getting there, but spotless windows and sparkling kitchen backsplashes sell much better than dingy, “lived in” rooms.
Put away any items that are too personal, like family portraits and knickknacks. You want to make your home look like a model home as much as possible without sacrificing your day-to-day routines. People of course will know you still live here, but it’s also hard for them to imagine their lives in your home if there are personal mementos on every level surface and wall. Think about it like this: your home should be a blank canvas for them to project their lives onto. The more neutral your space is, the easier it will be for buyers to envision themselves there.
Repair and Repaint
Anything minor needs to be fixed immediately. Think about what you saw while touring your neighbor’s house, and make sure you cover those trouble areas. After you’ve gone through and cleaned your home thoroughly, you’ll be able to see the places that need repairs easily. These repairs will upgrade your space, helping add to your amenities list.
Sometimes a nice new coat of paint can really help liven up a room. To start, freshen up your living, dining, and bedrooms with one topcoat of paint. Next, cover your front door, garage door, and any other smaller detail that stands out to you. Conceal any scuffs on walls behind doors and on outdoor staircases too, paying special attention to your highest traffic areas, such as a mudroom or a front entryway.
Chances are your neighbor has similar plants in their front yard. You’ll want to make small changes in your landscape to be different, but don’t go overboard. No custom lawn art or garden gnome collections - just make it look polished and well kept. Your yard will be the first thing people see when they drive up to take a tour, so give people a great first impression.
Uproot every single weed, and take a few minutes every day to check for any new ones. Freshen up the planters, haul away all the dead leaves, and give everything a good watering. If you have fruit trees, pick up all fallen fruit. Also, clean your rain gutters while you’re hauling away dead greenery.
Staging: Make It Different
Now it’s time to take your notes from your neighbor’s tour and put them to work. Arrange your furniture differently, and pick a different color scheme. Then, walk through your home as if you were a buyer, and note any trouble areas that need adjusting. This is also a great time to do a thorough check up on the cleanliness of each room too.
Kitchens and bathrooms will make the most impact during these tours. Make the bigger appliances shine, and clear most of the smaller ones from your counters completely. Take the trashcan out of the bathroom, as well as any bars of soap. You’ll really only want decorative towels on display, one nice candle, and a roll of toilet paper in there during a showing – no toothbrushes or toiletries taking up valuable counter space.
Marketing With A Pro
Get a realtor that knows the local area well, and has experience using trusted marketing methods to attract the largest audience. This is going to help you stand out from your neighbor. A tech-savvy realtor will know the best ways to take photos of your home, make informational flyers, as well as craft an excellent online listing. Don’t forget to put some photos in a local paper as well, to broaden your audience. Social media can also help give buyers a better idea of all that your home has to offer; ask your realtor for recommendations on how to further attract potential buyers.
Stay Focused On The Sale, Not The Competition
Don’t waste too much of your time and resources by trying to outdo your neighbor. Remember, you still want to be friendly after this, so burning bridges now will only make you both bitter. Having two very attractive homes for sale on the same block can be an advantage to pulling in potential buyers, so stay cordial during this process and trust that your home’s charm and value will draw the perfect buyer in no time.