You’ve done your research. You found a realtor you love. It seems like the right time for you and your family to make a move. So, you’ve signed that listing contract, and the sign has gone up in the front yard. It’s time to sell!
But wait! What’s that in your next-door neighbor’s yard this morning? Is that a For Sale sign? Can’t be! How dare they! They can’t sell their house at the same time you’re selling yours. It’s just not fair! Can they do that?
Of course, they can! There are certainly no hard and steadfast rules about two homes beside or near each other going up for sale at the same time. As a matter of fact, it may be all your fault! Perhaps your sale sign prompted your neighbor to take the action they’ve been contemplating, and so they decided to take the proverbial plunge, too.
In fact, this scenario might be more common than you imagine, especially in an area that’s quite transient or one that’s enjoying a great seller’s market. Or perhaps your neighbor simply thinks you have “insider” knowledge about the market and figures that maybe – since you listed your home - that it’s the right time to sell.
But how is this going to affect you and your sale? Or will it?
Playing off one another
Sometimes, neighbors decide to list their home for sale after seeing another house on their street go on the market because they want to piggyback on the marketing efforts of the first person who put their house up for sale. That sounds rather unfair, doesn’t it? Your agent is doing all the work, yet your neighbor is benefiting from his or her marketing prowess.
The truth is, however, that unless your neighbor is a FSBO (For Sale by Owner), you can both play off each other’s advertising. Very often, when a potential buyer decides to look at YOUR home or THEIR home, they will likely choose to look at both. That could as easily work in your favor as in theirs, especially if your home is more in tune with what the buyer seeks.
You might even go so far as to suggest a joint open house. It sounds strange, but it will likely bring more buyers to your street, and, again, both of you may benefit from this cooperation. Ask your realtor what they think about that idea and if he thinks it may work, have him contact the listing agent for the neighbor’s home.
Taking the advantage
Most realtors would agree that it doesn’t matter how many homes are for sale on your street or how much like yours (or unlike yours) each might be. The truth is that every home is different, and so is every buyer. A certain buyer may not be looking for something like your house but may love your neighbor’s home…or vice versa. One never knows.
However, if you want to have the upper hand, it all comes down to one thing. Your home must be priced, right! If you’re gung-ho to outsell your neighbor, then start by choosing the right price at the beginning of your listing, guided by your realtor, who – in turn - is being guided by current comps from recent sales of homes like yours, as well as current listings.
In addition, prepare your home for selling by making it as attractive as possible. Spruce up dingy paint, do a quick bathroom makeover, plant a garden, etc. Do whatever it takes to make your place a home that buyers want to see more than once.
Also, make your home easy to view. Don’t be the seller that limits days and times for showings. You’ll want as many buyers as possible to go through your home, and you may just have to be open to some last-minute showings. For example, if a buyer has an appointment to see your neighbor’s house and sees your sign while there, they may ask to see your home, too. Be open to that possibility and keep your home looking showing-ready at all times.
Remember, if you do all the right things, follow the advice of your realtor, and remain an open and cooperative seller, the fact that your neighbor or neighbors are selling too should make no difference as to the price you receive for your house and the amount of time it takes to sell. Proceed with confidence, and don’t be intimidated!