Want to be my neighbor? There are several homes for sale in our neighborhood right now, and three of them had open houses on Sunday.

Neighbors *love* open houses. Spying through windows is interesting and all, but there is nothing like walking right inside. Unfortunately for the neighborhood spies/gossips/performance artists, these open houses were all on renovated/uninhabited homes, so there were no photos, books or closets for spying.

The really interesting part was the chance to see similarities and differences in home layouts, and where people found extra room for closets, kitchens, air-conditioners, extra bathrooms and half-baths, and all the other stuff that was not necessarily in the houses to start with.

There are basically three or four varieties of rowhouses in our neighborhood, all built from the 1900s-1920s. (Our house is one of the older ones, a federal-style rowhouse from 1908.)

A crew of neighbors went traipsing around the open-houses like a sort-of progressive dinner party, except without the whole eating and drinking part, which was a bit of a shame. Maybe next time I’ll bring refreshments.

In addition to the open houses, we also toured the recently-sold house of another neighbor a few doors down. Two brothers renovated it while living there and did a really beautiful job. They are rightfully proud of their work and like to show others. We also wound up taking the neighborhood posse on a tour of our house, because it seems to have the most original (meaning old, not unique … though actually both are true) architecture of the rowhouses on this stretch of the street.

The spying desire was probably best fulfilled at our house, as we displayed the sort of photo-book-closet-laundry – shoe-pile – weren’t-expecting-you mania that you never get at the staged open houses. There was a moment when I said, “Yeah, check it out, we have these weird, triangular, old closets that they don’t have anymore at the houses next door!” I then enthusiastically opened the closet, and the rolls of toilet paper that were precariously balanced on those awkward trianglular shelves all came tumbling out on my head — leaving unorganized piles of toiletry bags on display behind them. “Yeah, anyway…,” and I sheepishly cramed stuff back into closet and shoved the door shut by leaning against it.

Despite the embarrassment of my own home tour, it was a fun day in the neighborhood, walking along, talking to the sellers and neighbors, picking up other curious neighbor friends along the way … and checking out how much you can see inside our house from the other houses (note to self: be more vigilant about closing the blinds).

I think some of the neighbors who have been here for a long time also enjoyed checking out the pricetags of the for-sale houses. But since we bought in 2006, that whole aspect is still a little frightening/depressing. So I just try to focus on how much I like my neighbors and my house and my quirky triangular closets, and don’t think about how much it cost.

For any prospective buyers out there, I will tell you that homes are sitting on the market longer and prices are going down. The average home sale price in D.C. still went up last year — unlike much of the rest of the country. But here on our block, I can tell things have slowed down. The brothers managed to break even on their house, but it looks like the other poor souls who renovated houses on our block last year are going to have to sell at a loss.

While our merry band of neighbors marched along from one house to the next, I saw one of the real estate agents looking out her window, watching us. When we entered the house she was showing I said, “Hi. We’re the curious neighbors.” “Hello, curious neighbors,” she said. “Maybe you have a friend who would like to buy this house?”

Maybe I do.

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