People today use Facebook to share all of life's little ups and downs with friends, often forgetting that good friends are not the only ones who might be looking at their Facebook page. When you’re buying or selling a home that could be dangerous.

If your home is for sale, you want the world to know, so do post good photos. Do tell your friends how to reach your agent to make an appointment for a tour. You can even state the list price.

After that, you can talk about your favorite features in the home – how the sun comes in the kitchen window in the morning, or how you enjoy your outdoor kitchen.

If you’re buying, you can tell your friends that you’re looking for a home in a specific neighborhood and even describe the perfect home.

What you must NOT mention is money. You must also not mention motivation.

The agent on the other side of your transaction is always listening and looking for clues to your motivation and your willingness to accept the price that his or her client wants to pay or receive. And anything that agent learns will weaken your negotiating position.

Your agent may be telling their agent that you said "I won't pay over $572,000" but if the agent just read your Facebook page where you told your friends you'd go as high as $585,000, the agent will advise the seller to counter at $585,000.

The same is true in reverse. You as a seller may say you won't go under some price, but if you've already told the world on Facebook that you'll take $10,000 less, your chance of getting your price is nil.

You can also hurt your negotiations by talking about how anxious you are to move or how soon you need to move. Even something seemingly innocent can cost you money. So simply don't mention your motivation at all.

What about your "in-person" friends?

Don't tell them either. None of them would deliberately harm you, but people talk, and they don't always pay attention to who is listening. Obviously, they'll know if your house is for sale, but don't discuss the negotiations or how eager you are to get closed and get moving.

Warn your children.

Remember that smart agents won't just be looking at your own Facebook page (or pages.) They'll also check to see what your children are saying on their own pages. That means you must remind your children repeatedly not to talk about the transaction nor their feelings about buying or selling.

Tell the kids they can tell their friends after the transaction has closed – but not to say a word until that happens.

One more thing: Don't discuss your transaction in public places. If you and your agent (or you and your spouse) discuss your negotiations in a restaurant, anyone from your server to the couple at the next table might be acquainted with the people you're negotiating with. If you haven't actually met the other agent and his or her clients, you never know - the people at the next table might even be them!

Take care to keep your confidential information confidential.  And when you work with me – I'll do the same.

Posted by Eric Peterson on


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