“How Facebook Helped Me Sell My House”

by hookedonhouses on June 29, 2012

There seems to be a trend brewing in real estate. More and more readers have told me they’re selling their houses themselves by promoting them on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. I have to admit I’ve always been dubious about whether that worked, especially in this tough real estate market.

So when I heard from Laurel of SoPo Cottage, who told me she sold her renovated 1900 Victorian within 3 days, I had to know more. Here’s how she did it, in her words:

We were trying to prove you can sell a house with Facebook and a blog. We put our house on the market and had an Open House Saturday and Sunday. We had over 100 people come through the place and are now looking at multiple offers.

I was planning on getting my real estate license and using the usual marketing channels. But I quickly discovered that when you’re working on a house 10-12 hours a day (fixing it up), you don’t have the time/energy to complete your license.

And as our margins started getting smaller, it became apparent that we needed to do a FSBO (For Sale By Owner) to make a profit.

Here Are 7 Steps We Took to Get the Word Out:

#1. We worked to build the readership of our Facebook page and SoPo Cottage blog. And it took some work! Given Facebook’s algorithms, to appear in their newsfeed we needed to be posting every day– ideally 2-3 times per day. It’s a challenge to come up with something clever multiple times a day (okay, so I failed on that one….not so clever…and only once a day).

#2. We put up a sign in front of the property, directing them to our social media for more information. My Facebook reach almost doubled within 24 hours of the sign going up in the front yard. Even though we also posted our phone number, we got very few calls. Most people went online.

#3. We posted a ‘Coming Soon’ banner on the Facebook page as we got close to putting it on the market.  We put this up about 2 weeks before our Open House.  We made sure we did a ‘pin to top’ – that put it at the top of our FB page for a full week.

#4. We added 2-3 posts on the blog each week with more in-depth information and lots of photos of the house.

#5. We hosted an Open House. Word of mouth (virtual or live) is powerful, and the more people you can get in the door is better–if they like it, they’ll be letting their friends and family know. We posted an ‘Open House’ banner on our Facebook page, 4-5 days before the big day. Also, ask you friends that are well networked if they’ll ‘share’ your posting. We got lots of additional folks from that!

#6. We put up additional signs with balloons the day of the Open House. It ran both Saturday and Sunday and found a lot of people returned the next day or told their friends who came the next day.

#7. We posted on free sites like Zillow and included our blog address. We also used Zillow’s link to do a one-time MLS (multiple listing service) post, which helped generate additional traffic and got us wider exposure.

It didn’t hurt that their Victorian was all fixed up and looking its best!

So how did all our marketing strategy pay off?  We had so much traffic come through the doors of the Open House, we don’t really have an accurate count. Our guesstimate is we had 50-70 people each day.

And because people had read about the work we were doing online, they already knew the house when walked in the door!  It was so funny to hear them say ‘Oh look, here are the Martha Stewart kitchen cabinets’ or ‘look at the Pottery Barn light fixtures!’

We had people want to make offers immediately, but we asked everyone to hold off until Tuesday.  That way, they had time to work with their bank and have all the necessary paperwork in place.

By Tuesday evening, we had multiple offers in hand, from some wonderful people who really loved the house. The hard part was having to call the folks that didn’t get it and deliver the bad news.

Would we use this approach again? Absolutely. It was a lot of fun and we got to meet a lot of interesting people, both online and in person. We’ll be continuing the blog and the Facebook page. But I’d really like to have the additional support of a real estate license for the next transaction!

Many thanks to Laurel for sharing her story with us. To see more photos of the renovated Victorian they sold and to follow along with their current reno project, visit SoPo Cottage.

P.S. Have you used any unconventional ways to sell a house that worked? Tell us about it!

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Luciane at Homebunch.com June 29, 2012 at 7:50 am

This is so interesting! By the way, am I the last person that isn’t on Facebook? ;-)

I think we gotta do what we gotta do to move on in life. Bravo to those that act and don’t just sit and wait.

Have a Blessed weekend!!!

xo

Luciane at HomeBunch.com

hookedonhouses June 29, 2012 at 8:01 am

Hi Luciane! I highly recommend Facebook for bloggers. It sends me more traffic than any other site each day. And many of my readers now comment on the FB page instead of on the blog. I think it’s easier for them to do it there, which is fine with me. I love how easy it is to chat with my readers on Facebook.

I also set up a Google + page but I haven’t really figured it out yet and don’t do anything with it. Eventually… :-)

Laura June 29, 2012 at 10:23 am

I wouldnt worry about G+, Julia. It doesnt seem anyone’s on it unless they’re outright FB haters (like some of my computer nerd college friends) :)
The main bonus for G+ was the friend circles, but FB picked that up immediately …. and I think most people realized it wasnt worth it to try and transfer all the photos, posts, etc to a new page.

hookedonhouses June 29, 2012 at 10:47 am

I think you’re probably right about that, Laura. I don’t know many people who are on it yet, and a lot of us already feel pretty overwhelmed keeping up with the social media sites we’re already on!

ange June 29, 2012 at 7:54 am

We sold our last house on fb as well, by posting that we were moving, that’s all. Someone messaged us saying they had a friend who might be interested in our house. Sure enough, he was and he bought it after looking at it. It was crazy, we didn’t even put a sign in our yard! Great post Julia and so glad to have met you at Haven!

hookedonhouses June 29, 2012 at 7:59 am

Wow, that’s amazing that you didn’t even have to put a sign in the yard. It was great to meet you, too, Ange!

Nadege June 29, 2012 at 8:10 am

I am unsure as to whether Facebook can help sell a home. However, with a home this beautiful, I think it would have sold even if it had been advertised via “back of a box” yard sign.

Connie@Connie Nikiforoff Designs June 30, 2012 at 9:18 am

Nadege….Any kind of social media or online listings do certainly sell homes. The reason is “curb appeal starts online” these days rather than the old days where people would see a for sale house on a street and then inquire about it.

I didn’t use FB when doing our own FSBO but probably would have had it not sold with our other online methods.

And I agree! I would have bought this house in a heartbeat! It’s gorgeous and I’m in love with older homes.

Leo at Cottage at the Crossroads June 29, 2012 at 8:39 am

No doubt, Facebook is the strongest social network. As a former Realtor, I must say this has got to be worth persuing if you are selling. Nice home.

Sarah @ housecrazy June 29, 2012 at 8:55 am

I’m curious to know where the featured house was located… it’s great that they got a very quick sale using FB and other means, but I really think it depends on the specific market in which you are located.

hookedonhouses June 29, 2012 at 10:52 am

The location and the house itself always matter, for sure! I’m hoping what you all take away from this is that it pays to get a little creative in getting the word out, even if you’re using a real estate agent or happen to live in a great location.

I’m hearing stories like this all the time now, and I thought Laurel explained her process in a way that would inspire you guys to think outside the traditional house-selling box!

Brenda June 29, 2012 at 10:00 am

I was curious also about the location also as that is often the selling point. In addition, it’s near a beach, need I say more :)

Laurel @ SoPo Cottage June 29, 2012 at 12:11 pm

What’s the old adage in real estate? Location, location, location. But when you’re selling a house yourself, you still need to get the word out. I’m still amazed how much social media helped us do that. BTW – I promised the buyers not to divulge the street address, so they wouldn’t get ‘lookers’. But it’s in the Portland, Maine metro area.

And thanks so much everyone for the kind words!

cbean June 29, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Your house was/is beautiful and you did an excellent job of staging it. So glad you were able to sell it. For those in the market maybe they’ll be encouraged to try a new way of reaching out to potential buyers.

Mike June 29, 2012 at 10:07 am

This post is really interesting. I will be revisiting it! Jamie and I are planning on relocating around 2014, but given the current market value of the condos in our neighborhood, we think we may have to try FSBO just to break even, because we’ve lost so much value that there won’t be any equity to pay an agent’s commission. Very good tips here.

Kristen @ More Than Mulberries June 29, 2012 at 10:10 am

That is so interesting – sounds like they really put the effort in and it paid off for them. I’m sure there were a lot of lookie loos (I mean, the chance to see inside a house that’s you’ve been following via blog, etc? Of COURSE you would go see it!) but you never know who might have a friend, relative, co-worker to whom the info could be passed along. I’d take doing this and having a sale in 3 or even 14 days over a house sitting for months.

Western Warmth June 29, 2012 at 11:14 am

Interesting post, as always, Julia!

Isabel @ Zigma Ground Solutions June 29, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Indeed, social media is extremely helpful these days. I have always believed that businesses which are passing up on social media is passing up on a huge opportunity. By the way, Pinterest is also very wonderful but you have to employ a little more creativity and artistry.

Kim June 29, 2012 at 5:21 pm

What a great post! I love how there are so many creative ways to sell a house now, than there was years go.

I love that house. It’s beautiful inside and outside. Laurel did such an amazing job renovating her house.

Kelly June 29, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Great post! The market is tough and this was a very creative way to sell and make a profit!!!

Melinda June 30, 2012 at 4:50 am

A really interesting post, Julia. I’m passing this along to friends who are getting ready to sell.
A nagging question, I wonder how the owners managed to keep track of that many people during the open house days? I would have a hard time weeding the real potential buyers from the lookie-lous!

Cute house!

Connie@Connie Nikiforoff Designs June 30, 2012 at 9:14 am

Melinda….The “lookie-lous” do come through open houses. Like any other product, you’ll always have “tire kickers”…(those people who are “just looking”). But you never know who THEY know who might really be looking for a home. It’s all part of sales…any sales. Eventually a true buyer comes along :-)

Connie@Connie Nikiforoff Designs June 30, 2012 at 9:12 am

Yes! We did a FSBO too and what we did in our local market worked very well.

We have a local online site called bismanonline. You can post any non-commercial ad for free or you can pay a small fee to list a commercial ad. We did a commercial ad (about $20/month) With a commercial ad,you can list 20 photos which is crucial when listing a house for sale,. compared to the 3 photos in a free ad.

We also listed on a couple other free FSBO sites (sorry I can’t remember which ones but I just googled that and several came up.)

We held open houses every Sunday and got incredible traffic! We had For Sale signs up as well with brochures in an attached “pouch” so people could take those as well.

Since both my husband and I have been in sales/marketing and we now have our own businesses, we knew we could market out product as well as anyone else. It became almost my full-time job until we sold it. Had it not been the holiday season, we figure we could have sold it even faster. :-) We figured it cost us about $150 to market out house (and our time of course). But it was a far cry from what realtor fees would have been.

And like the people at SoPo Cottage, it certainly helped that everything in our house was all spiffied up. Of course, we did have a little “advantage” since I’m a decorator and home stager ;-)

hookedonhouses June 30, 2012 at 9:18 am

That’s great–thanks, Connie!

Aaron @ QuinnImagery June 30, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Beautiful house! Congratulations to the sellers (and the buyers who’s offer was accepted!).
It’s not easy doing a FSBO, but my wife and I decided to give it a try, selling our own home by ourselves. We used Craigslist only. No MLS, no Assist-2-sell. Just us, Craigslist, and my wife created a webpage for our vintage 1930 house, which had tons of photos, even a Youtube video of the before and after of the horrid yard that took us nearly five years to repair. We sold in just 30 days, at a time when homes for sale in our area were sitting on the market for a year.
I know not everyone can or feels comfortable going the FSBO route. It’s quite the learning experience that’s for sure! :)

Interior Domain June 30, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Thanks, Julia. This is hugely valuable information for the many people that are struggling to sell a home right now. Laurel did a great job!

65andcounting June 30, 2012 at 6:55 pm

I would suspect that selling on Facebook etc works fine when the home is in a smaller market. As a jaded New Yorker, I can’t imagine feeling safe with so many unknowns coming through my house.

Julia Klimek July 1, 2012 at 9:01 am

Seems they did have to put in a fair amount of work. I occurs to me that word of mouth (even FB “mouth) is the way to go these days.

Crystal Clear Windows July 2, 2012 at 4:42 am

Certainly word of mouth is a great way to generate interest!

Congrats on getting such a successful response, love the house by the way too.

We use Facebook to promote our products but I’m going to go back to the drawing board and try to think how we can emulate your strategy for our doors and windows business here in the UK. :)

Frustrated Seller July 9, 2012 at 9:54 am

Facebook posting did not work for me. I’ve posted the link to my house twice and did not get any likes, shares or even comments. I’m beginning to think that my home-selling experience is cursed. We’ve been on the MLS for 104 days with no offers but plenty of lookers. People like it, but not enough to make an offer. Friends come over and say it’s beautiful, but alas, no offers. I think FB might work for some people, but not for those of us who are cursed or doomed in the current market. FB is not the be-all-end-all fix. It takes multiple marketing platforms and even then, you still might sit for months or even years.

hookedonhouses July 9, 2012 at 10:18 am

It’s sad but true. I know people who have tried everything under the sun but remain frustrated in the real estate market. Sorry to hear nothing’s working for you, either. Hope your luck changes soon!!

Frustrated Seller in Kentucky July 12, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Thanks for your kind words. Here’s the link to my listing.
http://www.trulia.com/property/1039480290-235-Orchard-View-Dr-Paducah-KY-42001

It’s a great house and great location. Country living in the city.

Even my St. Joseph statue isn’t working. We planted him nearly a month ago. The other person who planted one with me for her house already sold. We’ve only had one showing and an agents’ open house since then.

hookedonhouses July 13, 2012 at 7:57 am

I’ve got my fingers crossed for you!!

Megan Hull November 1, 2012 at 12:57 pm

I know this is an old post, but I have to tell you my FB story.

We had our house on the market for months, with no offers. My husband was working several states away until we could sell and move. We finally got an offer on our house and were getting ready to close when I got a FB message from someone that I did not know, from Florida. Our mutual friend had posted the link to my house on FB, and this woman saw it and loved it. I told her we were set to close, but I would call her if anything happened.

Two weeks later, the moving truck left our now-empty house to take our belongings from Connecticut to Missouri. The very next day, the deal fell through. I contacted this interested woman and I put her in touch with our realtor. She bought the house without ever having set foot in it!

It’s not the same as marketing your house on Facebook, but I just wanted to support the point that you never know where your buyer is or how they are going to find your house. Try everything!

Stephen773 July 16, 2013 at 11:22 pm

You can definitely sell your house using Facebook.

Try http://www.propertybooster.com

It’s free to use & you can promote your property on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Buyers then message you directly through Facebook Messages.

Here is a sample listing:

http://propertybooster.com/?_1_Sample-Street_San-Jose_California_95101_USA

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