Real Estate Advice: Visit Neighborhoods at Odd Times

Posted by Steve Vincent on Feb 24, 2014 10:01:02 AM

In Buyers, Real Estate inspection, home buying tips, finding a good neighborhood, preparation for selling

Drawn houseI read a story the other day about a new 'trend' in real estate buyer behavior.  It think the word 'trend' is probably a little over-stated . . . seems only a few buyers in rare instances are doing this, hardly a trend.

In a few instances recently, home buyers have made their offers contingent on a 'real estate sleepover.'

Yep, they want to spend the night before they commit to the new home.  Sounds odd at first, doesn't it?  But when you think about it, maybe it's not such a bad idea.  Most people look at homes during daylight hours, occasionally in the early evening.  The entire ambiance of a neighborhood can change after dark and without some mechanism for inspecting at this crucial time . . . well, you might be in for a surprise. Enter the 'Real Estate Sleepover.'

Neighborhoods Matter, but a Real Estate Sleepover?

As a Broker, I am sometimes asked about the demographics and makeup of a neighborhood.  Fair Housing guidelines carefully define what I can and cannot say about a neighborhood and sometimes I get questions I just cannot answer.  Thanks to the Internet, there is abundant data online about crime rates, schools, neighborhood demographics and so on.  But data alone rarely gives the comfort level to some that this is the right neighborhood.

That's why I often ask nervous home buyers to visit their prospective neighborhoods during odd times.  I suggest they go to the closest super market between 4 and 7 pm (peak shopping hours).  I tell them to drive by neighborhood schools about time classes end for the day to get a feel for kids and parents and that whole dynamic.  I ask them to drive from the neighborhood to their workplace during morning commute time to get a feel for traffic.  All of these activities are aimed at helping people become comfortable with their choice of neighborhood.

The lengths to which sellers will go to get a quick or a great offer is shifting as well.  Today we have professional 'Stagers,' who - for a fee - will do everything from rearranging furniture to re-furnishing a re-sale home so that it shows like a model home.  In more than a few cases professional staging was vital in getting a great offer.  Some sellers have re-worked landscaping or substantially remodeled their homes to maximize their return.  We've seen investors, otherwise known as 'flippers,' totally renovate or remodel outdated homes prior to marketing them.

But as a home seller, how far would you go to secure an offer?  Would you permit or encourage a sleep-over?  Would you offer your back yard for a cook-out or pool party?  Of course, in these cases, we at The Vincent Group and GreatNest would be there to advise you - and clearly, in some cases it would not be a good idea - and to secure the proper agreements and deposits.

Thankfully in today's Greensboro, High Point and Winston Salem real estate market, sellers are in pretty good shape.  Housing is in demand and properly priced homes sell with few seller concessions or inconveniences.  Usually all a seller has to do to have a marketable home is properly prepare it for market, price it appropriately, make it easy to be seen via lockbox and unrestricted availability, and choose a broker with an effective marketing program - like GreatNest.  When you talk about selling your home with us, we will advise you about what might help get it sold quickly and for top dollar ... and in most cases it will be things like a little paint here and there and a thinning-out of closets!

You can see more on preparing your home for sale in 'Preparing Your Home for Sale' and still more in 'Preparing Yourself to Sell.'

Find the best neighborhood, search schools, look at demographics and crime rates, compare areas and view sold homes to judge value all with our Market Insider tool.