Sellers and Buyers: Less social media means more

Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Alliance Realty - THE Gail Spada TEAM

Sellers and buyers: Less social media means more

Posted on June 1, 2011 by Gail Spada

Imagine this scenario: You've listed your home for sale and as your REALTOR® is showing it, you mention, with a tone of disappointment, how long it has been on the market. In the course of casual conversation you also share that your spouse has accepted a job in another state and, even though you're looking forward to the move, you're a little worried about the timing.

After your REALTOR® pulls you into another room and puts duct tape on your mouth, you realize it probably wasn't a good idea to let your prospective buyer know you are so anxious to make a sale because now, in all likelihood, they will factor that perceived desperation into a too-low offer.

Most folks probably would not offer that much insight into their personal circumstances in a face-to-face conversation. Yet, some sellers - and buyers, too - are carelessly posting information on social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, that could undermine their negotiating strategies.

Just as sellers and buyers are advised to observe the silence-is-golden rule during showings, that restraint should extend to online communications. In fact, it is even more important to be tight-lipped in the virtual world, where anyone with rudimentary research skills can access up-to-date personal information about almost anyone else.

A seller must assume that an interested buyer is going to research not just the property, but the property owner. (They probably will do the same for real estate agents and vice versa.)  They will Google your name and seek you out on Facebook, LinkedIn, Digg and, if they are under 35 years old, almost certainly Twitter.

Let's assume that sellers and buyers will know better than to post details about a proposed transaction, such as an offer or counter-offer, or specifics about financing. Maturity and a preference for privacy would dictate the common sense not to be so direct.

But it's the subtle, seemingly innocuous, social media posts that can provide "the other side" with information they might use to put you at a disadvantage.

Need examples? Check out these:

  • A seller updates his unemployment history on LinkedIn to reflect that she has a new job in another location. (Or, worse yet, changed the status to "looking/available.")
  • A seller Tweets "My agent just told me Buyer X loves my house. At last, a serious prospect!"
  • A buyer posts on his Facebook wall that his offer on a new home has been accepted. Then he goes on to say, as an afterthought to his friends, "I can't wait until my house sells and I can get out of this neighborhood."
  • A buyer likes your house and is formulating a bid. He visits Facebook and sees the seller recently changed his personal status to "divorced." A quick check of public records confirms you are in transition.

Get the idea? In each example, the buyer/seller has provided the other with personal information or opinions that could affect how offers are made or received. And even if it doesn't skew negotiations immediately, it might become an unnecessary distraction later.

Once these words are out there, they can't be taken back. Privacy settings on the social media platforms can help, but they are confusing and they certainly carry no guarantee. The Internet has made the world much smaller, and friends have friends who have friends.

The really good news, of course, is that social media and other online databases also are a tremendous resource for both sellers and buyers, if they are used properly. But, just like spoken words, the cyber-message should be received and delivered with perspective and precision. In this respect, less can be more.

One final thought: Before you click the "share" or "send" button on your latest post, visualize your real estate agent holding a a roll of duct tape!

THE Gail Spada TEAM hopes you have found this information useful. Your feedback is encouraged. Until next time, please remember our pledge: When it comes to buying or selling property in Hernando County, we make sure ... it's all about YOU!

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THE Gail Spada TEAM hopes you have found this information useful. Your feedback is encouraged. Until next time, please remember our pledge: When it comes to buying or selling property in Hernando County, we make sure ... it's all about YOU!

About Gail Spada

Gail Spada's real estate career began 20 years ago when she attained her license as a New York State Certified Commercial Real Estate Appraiser. It didn't take long to discover her love for the industry. Gail has worked diligently to stay on top of her game, she is a Florida Licensed REALTOR® and has earned the following designations/certifications to include: GRI , ePRO, AHWD and SFR.

Comments (2)

Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

Gail, what a great reminder that what we put out on social media sites is very public and may come back to haunt us.  Your examples are great and should be required reading for every prospective buyer and seller. 

Jun 19, 2011 02:28 AM
Gail Spada

Hi Leah.....Thanks for reading my blog and for your comment........ It is so important to be aware of what we actually put in writing, especially online.........Check back often!   

In the meantime, check us out on Facebook


Jun 20, 2011 05:50 AM