Can social media sell your house?

by Alistair Helm

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The successful sale of the property by the Glen Eden couple this week without the use of a real estate agent might be put down to the smart use of social media or as the  NZ Herald article cited “House buyers flock(ed) to tweets”.

I personally do not think that Twitter in particular or Social Media in general had much to do with the successful sale of the property. The property sold because of two very simple but crucial facts:


1. They generated awareness and interest in the property


2. They created a means by which buyers were able and motivated to make a decision to buy the property

Let me explain because whilst seemingly simple the reality is that to sell a property you only actually need to do these two very simple things.

The property owners of 2/80A Captain Scott Road, Glen Eden in Auckland chose not to use a real estate agent. Instead they used the services of Home Sell, a private sale property company. I do not know which of the various packages they subscribed to – that was their choice – all of them include just 2 components that are fundamental. Good quality photos and a listing on Trade Me Property. Everything else offered by Home Sell and other types of private sale companies are hardly necessary. Good quality photography probably costs around $250 plus an advert in Trade Me for $349 (based on their CV)

All you need to create interest in your house for sale is to be on Trade Me and to have great photos. Do this and you will achieve the first of the two requirements to sell your house. The owners did leverage general media to potentially increase awareness. They reached out through all the media channels to tell them that they were selling “via social media”. Truth is they weren’t – sure they had a Twitter page but with only 21 followers of which 10 were people or organisations who I would say had little interest in the property, so I would judge that they did not really engage a following on Twitter which lead to a buyer. Facebook would have been a much better vehicle to generate interest.

As to the second of these things, what this property owner did which I think was incredibly smart was to arrange an auction. They went out an secure the services of a licensed auctioneer.

An auction can be undertaken even for a private sale – not a fact that is widely known. Licensed auctioneers can be retained to undertake a private sale in exactly the same manner as with a licensed real estate auction. Auctioneers operate under the Auctioneers Act of 1928 and are not governed under the Real Estate Agents Act 2008, unless they are also licensed real estate agents.

The reality is that the vast majority of private sellers fail to sell because they start incredibly well by succeeding in attracting interest in their property thanks to Trade Me. They then get people to visit the open home. They very often generate real interest because as owners they are great ambassadors of the property and the neighbourhood to prospective buyers at an open home. However after people have left the open home, the owner is not skilled, motivated or capable of following up to secure an interest to sign an agreement. This is where the auction come into play. Visitors to the open home see the auction as a call-to-action, a need to focus and make a decision. No need for the homeowner to do any follow-up calls, if they have interested potential buyers then just by having an auction date they are putting the impetus on buyers.

The property at 2/80A Captain Scott Road sold at auction on the 31st July for a price described by the sellers as 35% above CV which in the current Auckland market looks to be a good price. The auction process ensured that interested buyers stepped up to bid. It was the auction process that really ensured the successful sale – not social media.