Be careful what you say on social media – It can hurt the sale of your home

Social media can be a great outlet for marketing your home when it is for sale. You can let friends and acquaintances know that your home is for sale and why it is so great. Sometimes your personal network can help source a buyer. However, if you are an active social media user, be careful not to overshare on details. It will be read by buyers and agents and can backfire during your negotiations.

like thumbs upBlogs, Facebook and Twitter can be a fun and cathartic way to share details about your life with others. Selling a home can be an angst-ridden process, worthy of blog posts, facebook rants and anxious tweets about the process. Many people are easily found on the web, and the buyer or real estate agent seeking to gain inside information may find a jackpot when they search for your name. Here are some examples of what to avoid on social media.

  1. Sharing how many showings – “We haven’t had many showings. I hope the real estate agent can get more people to show up at the next open house.” As a buyer this shows me that you are not getting enough traffic, and may indicate that the home is overpriced. More obviously, it shows that the seller is worried and may be more motivated.
  2. Sharing details about the home you just bought – This one is tough. Everyone wants to tell the world about the cool home they just bought, but a comment like “We just bought a house! Now I hope we can get ours sold!” tells the world that you are more motivated to sell quickly and likely for less money.
  3. Sharing details about your future moving plans – Same as above. If I know that you are relocating to Virginia in two weeks and can’t buy a home until you sell your current one in Seattle, I also know that your motivation to sell quickly has gone up.
  4. Sharing frustrations about your negotiations – Negotiating with a buyer is sometimes no fun. You are anxious to sell the home, but your buyer is making unreasonable demands. Ranting on your blog may give away what you are thinking, or even offend your buyer.
  5. Overpersonalizing the home – Buyers want to love a home, but without you in it. When you list a home, removing your family photos is always recommneded so that buyers don’t feel like they are in someone else’s home. Your commentary on social media should follow the same guideline. Make it appealing and tell why you love the home, but leave out the intimate personal details that make it feel like it is still your home.

What you should do on social media

By all means, if you are an active social media participant, use it to market your home to your personal network. Highlight why you love the home and neighborhood, show off your great listing photos and give people contact info to easily set up a showing appointment. If you are an active participant on the web, assume that you will be searched by your buyer and make sure that what you are posting does not compromise your negotiations.

  • Steve Dupree

    Is there any data behind the “remove personal pictures” rule or is it just the conventional wisdom?

    Personally, I might actually prefer and/or pay a little more for a home with a reasonable number of family pictures, showing the unique personality of the human being(s) who currently live there. OTOH I would shy away from a home that looked cluttered (thinking the
    owner probably kept up with maintenance about as well as they did with
    straightening up).

    • I haven’t seen data, but every professional stager I’ve ever worked with insists on it.

      Having shown hundreds and hundreds of buyers over the years, I can say that personal photos are a distraction. I’ve seen people gawk at them, comment on them or otherwise be distracted from the task at hand, which is evaluating the home.

      I think there is a powerful emotional element to buying a home where a buyer forms an attachment to the house. I’ve seen it over and over, and you even hear it sometimes when someone starts referring to it as “their house” or begins mentally placing their items in the home. Anything that implies the house is not “yours”, even subconsciously, seems like a bad idea because it gets in the way of this attachment forming psychology.