By Dawn Whalen
Whalen Realty Group at F.C. Tucker Company
A few years ago we wrote a piece describing how social media posts can impact the buying or selling of a home. There’s been several changes to social media since 2019, and we thought it would be beneficial to update potential sellers and buyers about the impact personal social posts can have on a real estate transaction.
Videos and reels have become a major player in social media since the pandemic started in 2020. People want to see what others are doing, learn new skills and explore new places. However, what happens when those images reach a potential buyer?
It’s not really private
There is no such thing as private in the world of social media. Even if a social media account is set to private, it does not stop followers, friends or family from taking a screenshot or talking about the information posted. A homeowner may think it’s cute dog-shaming their pet for chewing the door or a cabinet, but if one of the owner’s friends or followers knows the potential buyer, it could lead to trouble. If that damage takes place after the property is under contract, it could lay the groundwork for the buyer to back out of the sale. It is not uncommon for a buyer to research the sellers of a property, which makes it important for sellers to have their social media accounts cleaned up when the listing goes live.
Kids follow other kids
Anyone with kids knows that kids talk to other kids and follow them socially. If a kid is moving, he or she is going to tell their friends and those friends may know members of the family purchasing the home. Teenagers are more likely to post images to TikTok or Snapchat that could negatively impact a real estate sale. For example, our agency represented a buyer that backed out of a sale because their kids saw a video of the sellers’ kids throwing objects onto the roof. Closing was coming up and the home inspection was already done, at which time the roof was in good shape. The buyers didn’t want to risk buying a home with new roof damage, and other unseen damages, so they backed out.
Social media is not the place for negotiations
In an effort to reach more potential buyers, many sellers share their house’s listing on their private pages, and in some cases a friend ends up purchasing the home. While it’s great that a friend or colleague wants to buy the property, negotiations should not take place via social messages. Trying to negotiate pricing, changes or updates directly, instead of through the listing agent, can put the sellers in an uncomfortable position.
Sharing a home’s details on social media has become common for many sellers, and viewing pictures and listings is common for buyers. Some buyers even follow hashtags to stay current on what’s happening in a specific region or a type of architecture. Experienced realtors are familiar with the pros and cons of social media when it comes to real estate, but as a buyer, it’s important to remember that once the listing is live, any photos shared online have potential to reach the buyer. Remind children to not share images of them doing things in the home or the yard while the house is for sale or pending. There are numerous ways for a buyer to research a homeowner and the property, so don’t make a mistake that could put a sale at risk. We suggest sellers make two posts about their property. The first is when it’s live and people can view it, and the second is on closing day.
Dawn Whalen is owner of Whalen Realty Group, at the F.C. Tucker Company, and has worked in residential real estate for more than 17 years. She’s a licensed realtor, broker, is a member of MIBOR and a Homes for Heroes preferred realtor. She can be reached at Dawn@whalenrealtygroup.com.