We’ve all had it happen. Maybe we’re driving down our street or walking the dog and we notice that a home in our neighborhood has just been listed. What’s your first thought?

Probably, “I wonder what the listing price is.”

Then maybe you think about square footage or upgrades or backyard space. But generally, we all start at price.

Why is that? Because we want to protect the value of our home, which is usually our biggest asset. And one good way to do that is to opt in to receive instant, automated updates on homes in your neighborhood.

It’s easy to get started. Simply sign up online.

You’ll soon be able to see what improvements your neighbors have made to add value to their homes. Are they upgrading kitchen cabinets to lighter colors? Redoing bathrooms? Putting in elaborate landscaping or a deck?

Someone recently told me that she went to an open house in her neighborhood to get ideas for paint colors and furniture placement. Even though she’d only been in her home a year, she wanted to do small upgrades every year to reflect market trends, and going to open houses and looking at photos online helped.

Insider’s tip: Lighter paint and cabinet colors (think white or ivory) will make your home sell faster. Here’s a link to our paint guide.

You’ll also notice how quickly homes sell in your neighborhood. If properties are being snapped up quickly and in multiple bid situations, you can better gauge your own selling timeline. Or maybe you notice certain homes sell faster than others because they have open floor plans, lots of natural light, a dedicated home office, or a master on the main. Whatever the case may be, you’ll see patterns and then be able to reflect on how your home stands up against the competition.

And what buyers want has shifted due to the novel coronavirus.

According the National Realtors Association Market Recovery Survey, “Thirty-five percent of members reported buyers have changed at least one home feature important to them due to COVID-19.” Topping the list is home offices, followed by space to accommodate family member new to their home (older adult relative, new baby, or new pet), larger house with more personal space, and yard for growing fruits or vegetables.

Insider’s tip: If you’re looking for a high return on investment, call us so that we can offer specific advice based on your neighborhood or check out this blog: Does your home have what buyers want?

Ready to get started? Sign up here, or call our office at 704-625-6127.