How Social Media Cost Johny $5000

We’ve often told sellers that when a buyer walks through the house they sometimes know more about the house than the seller does.  PortlandMaps offers a wealth of information about a property.  On the other hand, Facebook and Google can tell a lot about either party (or their wonderful Realtor).

Buyer Johny looks at a house and subsequently makes an offer.  Johny has been warned that if the seller is there to keep a poker face.  You don’t love or hate the house.  They don’t meet so its never becomes an issue.

Savvy Seller gets the offer and is somewhat torn between accepting the offer and countering back.  Do I take the risk of the buyer walking away in an attempt to get a little more money or do I just grit my teeth and live with it?  Johny’s agent had him write a brief “love letter” as to why the seller should accept his offer but anyone can pen a good cover letter.  It’ll be his first house, it’s at the top of price range but meets all the requirements and he promises to be a good steward of the house if the seller will let him have it.   Savvy Seller wishes he knew more about the buyer’s true motivation.  Wonder who this Buyer Johny is…

Facebook search for Buyer Johny

Buyer Johny hasn’t changed any of the default privacy setting in Facebook and Savvy Seller is now reading Johny’s wall posts and status updates.  Here’s a sample of what is shown:

  • I’ve got to get out of this rental.  The neighbor’s dog won’t shut up and I swear the couple upstairs are nocturnal.
  • Got pre-approved today.  Can afford a lot more than I want to spend so should have lots of options.  One step closer to getting out of this hell hole rental.
  • Got a raise today!!!
  • Made an offer on a house today.  I have to have it.  Love it.  Perfect.  Offered less than asking…fingers crossed.  I really hope I don’t have to pay more to get it.

So much for the poker game.  Johny has given Savvy Seller the social media equivalent of a neon sign declaring his love of the house.  Completely unintentional but the damage has been done as it makes the seller feel much more confident in the decision to counter.  The status updates are a much truer representation of Johny’s feelings than the “love letter” is.  Savvy Seller counters $5000 and Johny decides he can’t let it slip away.

Is it fair to say that Johny’s updates cost him $5000. They may not have been the only factor in the decision to counter but it certainly didn’t help his cause.  If Savvy Seller hadn’t changed his privacy settings Johny might have learned that Savvy Seller has been unemployed for six months and had just found a new job in Seattle so is really motivated to sell.  This scenario is only somewhat contrived and is aimed at underscoring that not everything stays where you hope it will on the Internet.  It’s based off a status update from a Realtor friend last night.



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