For those with social media accounts, especially Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, it’s important to be aware of public settings and posts when you’re in the process of buying or selling a property, and this extends to anyone else living in the home. On more than one occasion, a seller’s or prospective buyer’s post has terminated a sale, or put it into limbo before closing. Below are a few stories our agency has seen firsthand, and not all the outcomes are positive.
Social media research
With access to so much information online, it’s common for buyers and sellers to research each other while going through the homebuying process. Plus, you never know who could be mutual friends between the two parties. For these reasons, we highly discourage buyers from posting statements about how much they may love a property because it could negatively impact negotiations. Additionally, posts stating how much the property is being sold for, details of the home inspection and the negotiation process are bad ideas.
Don’t let kids share pictures of the house
While Snapchat posts can disappear, it’s difficult to know who may see the post before its gone, or takes a screenshot. We had a buyer back out of a sale because the seller’s children posted themselves throwing furniture out of windows onto the roof. The post was seen by the children of the potential buyers and shown to the parents. The home inspection had already been completed and they weren’t sure if they’d need roof repairs or a new inspection, so the buyers ultimately backed out of the sale because they lost faith in the seller’s honesty and willingness to disclose information.
Be careful when friends try to negotiate directly
We had a client who shared their home’s listing on their Facebook page and a friend ended up buying it. While it’s great that the parties knew each other, the buyer tried to negotiate directly with the seller instead of through their agent. It may seem easy to negotiate with a friend, but an agent can serve as a buffer so no one feels awkward asking for more money, changes and updates. It’s hard to gauge how someone may react when being asked to spend money to change a home in which they’ll no longer live.
Keep photos to yourself
When showing a home its common for potential buyers to take pictures in order to remember what they like about the property or may want to change. While this is fine for the buyers, we discourage posting those pictures on any social platform. We had a client whose home was being shown hours after it was listed and the potential buyer posted pictures on social media. The potential buyer was friends with the seller’s boss and the seller hadn’t yet told their boss they were planning to move out of state, and it caused the seller to disclose information to their boss before they intended.
These are all examples our agency has dealt with when it comes to buyers and sellers using social media. The best piece of advice is to keep posts about the homebuying or selling process vague or don’t post about it at all until after closing. There are so many ways for someone to look up information on a property and person, that making unnecessary posts could inadvertently have a negative impact. Make your first post about buying or selling a home about the closing when it’s a done deal.