I lost a sale because of facebook!

Real Estate Agent with Fill-In-The-Blanks PDF Flyer Templates www.TurnKeyFlyers.com

I had heard a very interesting story this weekend. Jim  the real estate agent, was looking for a home for Morgan in the price range of $650,000. After 3 months of looking at properties he and Morgan found the perfect single family home in Huntington Beach, Ca. Negotiations ensued for quite some time. Morgan was asking for a $15,000 concession on price which would bring the home to the par average of comparable homes on the block. However, the seller was not budging. 

Morgan had a Facebook account. Some how, some way Morgan found out the seller also had a Facebook account. One evening, Jim calls Morgan and gives him the great news: "...the seller is willing to drop the price by $13,000!" To Jim's surprise, Morgan said, "Not thanks. I don't do business with racists!"

It turns out, Morgan was reading the sellers "Status" updates. In the history, the seller wrote derogatory, slanderous, and anti-Semitic comments regarding the negotiation of his/her house. The comments were in the realm of: "This damn ***** (racial slur) wants to take $15k from me, *****...."

Morgan later found another home. Jim worked hard for this sale and was "inches" from it. Jim's, including the listing agent's, work was made that much harder because of the poor action of the seller on Facebook.

It's amazing the power of the internet and social media. Like any power it can be used for both harm and good. The question here is: should we censor our clients' social media (Facebook) activities?

How would you react as the buyer's agent? Or even better, what would you do if you found out your client was making negative comments on their Facebook account? Would you drop the listing?


Follow-up post (3/24): Twitter & Facebook Can Kill The Deal!

Comments (75)

Coral Gundlach
Compass - Arlington, VA
Real Lives. Not Just Real Estate.

So disturbing.  Good for your buyer for walking away, as his agent, I would have supported that.  I think if I had a seller who was doing that, I'd have to cancel the listing.   I don't deal with racists either!  AND  this is a great reminder to never put the terms of your negotiations, etc on Facebook, whether public or private, don't post it!

Mar 22, 2011 06:11 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

This is an intersting topic.  No one can predict what will be said, or why.  Not sure how I would handle it if confronted. 

Mar 22, 2011 06:15 AM
Timothy Mattingly
Louisville Homes Team Louisville KY louisvillehomesreport.com - Louisville, KY
Louisville Homes for Sale

Reuben-Interesting.  I actually tell my clients to stay off Facebook in this manner.  I cannot stop them, but I advise them not to post anything about their home or any part of any negotiation.  After the sale has closed they can post they have sold their home. 

Mar 22, 2011 06:25 AM
Andrea Merriott
PalmerHouse Properties - Smyrna, GA

So I guess now we have to address status updates in our listing presentations somewhere between keep your house clean and make your home available for showings.  Personally, I would fire the client.  It would be so easy for the buyers to go to social media platforms and blast you as an agent.  It is so easy for the buyer to transform that negativity to you.  To save your reputation, firing the seller is the way to go.

Mar 22, 2011 06:31 AM
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


First of all, the seller's comments are reprehensible. 

Secondly, your information about privacy on Facebook is startling.  I think I am going to change all my privacy settings.  Even though I don't post offensive comments, you never know if your "friends" will.  Better to be safe.  Thanks.

Mar 22, 2011 06:44 AM
Reuben Fine
Fill-In-The-Blanks PDF Flyer Templates www.TurnKeyFlyers.com - Rossmoor, CA

@Evelyn - TRUE! You bring up a great point... Not only do you have to be careful about posting message on your own profile and your client's, but you have to pay attention to what your "friends" about you as well.

Mar 22, 2011 06:54 AM
Jeanne Gregory, RE/MAX Southwest

I recently went on a listing appointment with a, shall we say, senior citizen.  The house was a disaster.  It looked like a scene from "Hoarders".  As we discussed price, the seller starting talking about the racial makeup of the neighborhood and how it had changed since he bought the house.   His remarks were very derogatory.  But when he let loose with a racial slur aimed at our president, I politely closed my file and wished him a nice life.  No way I'm jeopradizing my license for some angry racist.  It was shocking to me to hear it in private conversation, but to put something like that on a social network is insanity, not to mention financial suicide.  If this scenario were happening to me, I'd drop my seller like a hot potato!

Mar 22, 2011 07:10 AM
Donald Reich
Prudential Centennial - New Rochelle, NY

Reuben, great point about what your "friends" say. Don't be shy about deleting a friend's comment on your wall. If their comments make you look bad, get rid of them!

Mar 22, 2011 07:34 AM
Kerry Jenkins
Prime Properties - Crestline, CA

WOW, I can't believe someone would actually post that kind of stuff, but not everyone has a filter and social media seems to take away the normal cautions that people have since it seems to be removed somehow if you're behind a computer!!!!

Mar 22, 2011 08:32 AM
Reuben Fine
Fill-In-The-Blanks PDF Flyer Templates www.TurnKeyFlyers.com - Rossmoor, CA

I wonder if they'll start adding "social media ethics" to the education requirements for licensing? It would probably be a good idea.

Mar 22, 2011 09:33 AM
Art Welch
Superstars Realty - Buckeye, AZ

This goes back to the old sayings " If you don't have anything good to say, don't say it "  It is really sad this happened, what's really sad it the seller is blaming the buyer for wanting a good deal??

Mar 22, 2011 11:32 AM
Lydia Lucas
Prudential CT Realty - Milford, CT

As the buyer's agent, I can't blame the buyer. If he or she isn't happy, then I won't force them to go through with a deal, especially in such a situation even if I was "inches from the deal".

Mar 22, 2011 12:05 PM
Jennifer Hall
Montana Homestead Brokers - Laurel, MT

I would fire that seller immediately, as mentioned in several posts above, their negative comments can be seen as a reflection on the listing agent.

It is unbelievable what some post on facebook.  I have a renter who I recently gave a 30 day notice.  She posted pics of her new puppy in my home, with no mention to me.  HELLO!

Mar 22, 2011 12:10 PM
John Doe
Erie, PA

Reuben, I love the idea of "social media ethics" being added to the requirements. I would even suggest that they promote the use of social media in ways that are beneficial to real estate professionals in order to help move the industry forward. Social media is one of the major "languages" that today's consumer communicates in and many are behind the curve (I too have much to learn). If we want to give the best service to today's consumer, it is critical to communicate in their language.

Fantastic stuff! 

Mar 22, 2011 07:42 PM
Coral Gundlach
Compass - Arlington, VA
Real Lives. Not Just Real Estate.

I just had to jump back in here.  It amazes me how clueless some people are about the internet.  It's been around and a big part of our lives for almost 20 years, and people still don't get that what you say can be copied, pasted and spread around?  Steve, above, points out whe need social media ethics, which is a nice idea, but I am shocked we need it.  If you would  not gather a million (plus) people in a (very big) room and shout these stupid things on a microphone, then don't write/say it online, even on FB where you think you have privacy.   

Mar 22, 2011 10:57 PM
Reuben Fine
Fill-In-The-Blanks PDF Flyer Templates www.TurnKeyFlyers.com - Rossmoor, CA
Mar 24, 2011 12:56 PM
Margie Kopp Sorrell
Coldwell Banker Lake Oconee Realty and Lake Country - Greensboro, GA
Lake Oconee Real Estate

Somehow, over a year later, I'm stumbling upon this post. I can think of many stories that have made national news in regards to posting things on your Facebook account and it getting you in trouble. All of my friends who are teachers have to be uber careful not to post pics of them out on the town with a drink in their hand. It can be grounds for being fired. Crazy how the internet, as great as it is, can also be a very fine line to walk.

Apr 02, 2012 12:54 AM
Donald Reich
Prudential Centennial - New Rochelle, NY

Margie's comment, made me laugh! I remember as a Senior in High School, going to see the Greatful Dead in Concert, and there was a young teacher from my school, smoking pot and sitting on the laps of various guy friends. Now imagine if I had snapped a picture and put it online . . . .

Apr 02, 2012 01:26 AM
Reuben Fine
Fill-In-The-Blanks PDF Flyer Templates www.TurnKeyFlyers.com - Rossmoor, CA
Margie - so true! Here's the 'dangerous' thing; YOU MIGHT NOT POST 'UNSAVORY' PHOTOS TO GET THEM SPREADING ALL OVER THE INTERNET! With FBs facial recognition and having your friends 'tag' you to a photo, pictures of you might be circulating without you being aware. So what do we do about it? Refuse to take photos in public places? Will 'social' media making us more 'unsocial'?
Apr 02, 2012 02:24 AM
Ashley Connolly
Northeast Water Wells Inc - Jaffrey, NH

Wow thats insane i cant believe this story people are unbelievable

Sep 17, 2012 06:10 AM