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Issue Date: June 2007 Issue

Check out your neighbor’s open house without looking obvious.

Kristen Hampshire
Amylee Myers isn’t nosy, exactly: It’s research.

The owner of Real Creative Design is looking for decorating ideas and to satisfy her lake-view fix. “For me, the best house is on the lake,” says Myers. (She and her husband are “inland challenged” in Avon.)

“I like to stop in and be the prospective buyer,” she reasons. Her justification is twofold: She targets clients in the real estate market for her design services, and “it’s just nice to be nosy and check out a good view.”

But if you are the overly inquisitive type, beware Peggy Auble, an agent with the Gregg Wasilko Team of Realty One in Rocky River. She can usually spot the curious neighbor before he admits it. (And most everyone eventually says, “I just live down the street,” she says. It’s just a matter of whether they review the price sheet first.)

Auble held 75 open houses last year and estimates that half of the people who tour them are neighbors.

First, there’s the body language: the creep, the poke, the craning of the neck. “They pop their heads in and say, ‘Hello?’ ” Auble imitates. Hesitation and a tip-toe approach to the pricing information is a dead giveaway.

Other visual evidence: workout clothes or “very casual attire,” Auble says. Out for a walk around the neighborhood, just passing by — these are equally casual greetings neighbors offer when they enter the open house.

Then there are verbal clues: “We’re just starting our search” usually means the search party lives next door. Chances are, they’re searching no farther than the subdivision.

Monday, December 20, 2010 9:15:11 PM by Anonymous
I'm wondering why a real estate agent would not welcome neighbors. The whole idea of an agent trying to be a private detective is just odd, and counterproductive. Having neighbors around can help a sales person in a variety of ways.

Firstly, it creates traffic and interest in the house to other potential buyers. Think about it the more people you have, the more pressure an interested buyer may have to put an offer on the home.

Secondly, why not take the opportunity as an agent to show your skills to potential future home sellers? These are all people that may be looking for a positive, upbeat, and friendly salesperson in the future.

As a final thought, I feel it's absolutely ridiculous that an agent would be judging a book by it's cover. My father, a previous owner of a lucrative real estate agency, told me a story about a couple that came in dressed in leather harley attire. The agent on call ignored them, believing that they were a waste of her time, but my father stepped in before the couple left. It turned out that these folks were incredibly wealthy, and motivated to search for their home. He soon made a very generous commission when they bought their million+ dollar house.

For an agent, or any salesperson for that matter, to have such a negative attitude about "nosy" neighbors is naive, rude, and short-sighted.

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