Adventures In Real Estate

Your Online Presence Speaks Volumes

Vetting Home Buyers on Facebook

We’ve all heard horror stories about how someone’s online activity has gotten them in trouble out in the real world. I personally know more than one person who has been fired from a job for ranting about their boss on Facebook.

There was a recent high-profile case of a Yelp! employee who was fired for writing a disparaging blog post about the company on Medium, and similar stories pop up in the news every week.

You could say the internet is like Las Vegas: what happens there stays there. But unlike Vegas, your web activity is available for all to see.

Anyone with half a brain knows to be judicious with their online etiquette to protect themselves against prying eyes of current and potential employers, spouses, partners, parole officers, etc.

However, I recently learned that it pays for home buyers to mind their Ps and Qs online as well.

You could say the internet is like Las Vegas: what happens there stays there. But unlike Vegas, your web activity is available for all to see.

I was working with a seller—let’s call her Marilyn—who had listed her house with J. Harris & Associates Real Estate just a week prior.

Right out of the gate, we had two offers on the house. One was a lowball, which Marilyn rejected outright. The second was a good offer with an odd contingency that made us all a little nervous, so we countered and bought a few more days to consider.

Then a third offer came it. It was also decent, so it came down to which offer to choose?

The next time we met, Marilyn made her choice. I asked her how she had decided. She replied, “I checked out the buyers on Facebook. These people (who wrote the first offer) seem like good people. Nothing creepy.”

Now, Marilyn is probably 70 years old, so it’s not like she’s tweeting, posting, ‘Gramming, and Snapchatting on a daily basis. In fact, she said she hardly uses Facebook at all.

But, when it came time to make an important decision: determining who would be the next owner of her beloved home in the woods—a home that she and her husband had built, nurtured, and cared for with their own hands for so many years—Marilyn knew where to turn to suss out any potential dirt. Or “creepiness,” as she put it.

Vetting home buyers on Facebook may not be as common as employers checking up on potential employees, or jilted lovers stalking their exes, but this experience with Marilyn indicates yet another reason for keeping your digital footprint clean.

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