Whether you love Facebook, hate Facebook, are indifferent to Facebook, are addicted to Facebook, or a combination of all of these, at the very least you recognize the profound changes caused by Facebook and other social media to our modern society. A society that has become, for better or worse, a global one, reaching as far and wide around the world as the equator. There is barely a corner of the earth (if a round thing could have a corner) which remains untouched by social media. A wonderful way to be in close and constant contact with your cousins in the Old Country as well as your colleague three cubicles away, Facebook has shifted our culture out of real time into virtual time and back again. It has shifted our focus. Onto our phones.

All of the reasons social media could be considered fundamentally “good” are based in lessons we learned in pre-school. Share as much as possible. Try to make friends. Trade great pictures. Help each other. When it comes to real estate, can you guess which of these child-friendly bits of advice don’t apply?

Believe it or not, it’s sharing. Yes, sharing, that former pinnacle of human goodwill. Whether you’re giving your sandbox pal half of your crustless PB&J or donating monthly to a local member-supported radio station, sharing something of your own has always been considered a selfless and entirely positive act. But, along with everything else in the known universe, social media has changed all that.

So enamored are we of our own images reflected in our mobile devices and hardwired computers, so enmeshed in the ever-burgeoning feed of trends and activities popping through social media, so habitual is our interaction with our feeds that occasionally we forget to sit down with ourselves and have a talk about a simple thing (no, not real actual three-dimensional life. Yes, though, that too): common sense. When words can become immortalized in seconds, when a rant becomes a rave, when your share becomes an overshare, taking a moment to consider the impact (a.k.a. using common sense) becomes all the more important. With that, back to why the combination of real estate and social media can be like a Molotov cocktail thrown through the window of your own house.

We all use social media to vent on occasion. People who don’t use turn signals are being consistently and belligerently lambasted all over Facebook, all the time (just so you know, guys. Those indicators are there for a reason) and it’s okay to call those irresponsible anonymous persons out on their behavior. That’s an appropriate vent. But what if those non-signaling jerks on that dangerous corner in question are right in front of your house? We all look up EVERYBODY these days online. What’s to stop potential buyers from checking out your social media pages before making an offer on your property? Nothing! And even with privacy settings in place, once your post is commented upon or shared, it might be visible to more people than you think.

Here, from a real estate + social media = possible disaster perspective, is what you shouldn’t do.

If you plan on selling your house (EVER) don’t:

  • Share pictures of DIY remodeling projects to incite buyer questions: did they get a permit, is it safe, was it inspected? If you’ve already done so, delete well before listing your property!
  • Post shots of your flooded basement! (Self-explanatory.)
  • Gripe about the constant noise of local traffic waking both the dog and the baby during naptime.
  • Mention the pink flamingo parade and found-object windchime collection adorning the neighbors’ yard.
  • Say anything (EVER) that could be construed by potential buyers as negative!

Likewise, if you plan on buying, steer clear from:

  • Talking about job loss, financial problems, or their opposite: excessive spending! Keep shopping sprees private if you’re buying a home.
  • Mentioning anything that smacks of desperation around your move that sellers or their agents can use as leverage when negotiating: a time crunch, a specific location that’s ideal, a special property feature you refuse to live without.
  • Posting videos of your family percussion band playing at full volume, just in case sellers actually like their neighbors.

The last word? While social media can be fun and informative, and while sharing is, still, essentially good, when real estate considerations come into play, less is more. You might need to keep some things to yourself to prevent undermining your own best interest.

And all of those house-hunting woes or selling issues you wanted to share and talk about online? Tell them to your Realtor.

BFG