There’s an old saying… Don’t hang your dirty laundry out on the line, unless you want your neighbors to see your (poop) stains.
As one may imagine, this statement is not specifically talking about your laundry. It’s really talking about your personal business. The more you announce your personal business to your neighbors, your friends, or anyone else… The more of the chance of those statements coming back to haunt you.
And with the Internet and more importantly social media… Anything you post online lives forever. Nothing could be more true when it comes to real estate.
Whether you’re a fan of social media or not… I’m sure that we all have seen a post like this. Your neighbor is complaining or looking for help because the recent storm caused a leak in their house. Or somebody down the street is complaining because they have the worst neighbor ever. Or maybe they are simply asking a question like… Who should I call to get mice removed out of a house.
These things all seem innocent enough on the surface. But you have to consider the fact that people are reading these messages. And since most people remember what they’ve read, Or at least some version of what they read, You should strongly consider what personal information and business you put out there for the world to see
Here’s an example… Slightly adjusted to keep things anonymous. 6 to 9 months ago a soon to be client was posting about how they had a bad leak in their home they were asking for contractors who could fix the leak because there was water getting in the home. As in most cases… Their social media friends jumped in and suggested all kinds of local contractors who could help them out. Which is great, but they had people who had connections they could offer.
A month or so later… The same person goes online asking “what’s the best way to get rid of mold.” Just like before, people chime in with suggestions.
Fast forward a few months later. Having nothing to do with any past issues with the home… The same person gets transferred, and needs to sell their home. They called a local realtor, list the home for showings to begin. Since the leak and the mold and everything else has been fixed, and for the record was fixed properly, there is nothing to disclose to the realtor or to potential buyers.
After a few showings… The listing agent wonders why they’re not making any progress. Then, one day when showing the house themselves, the listing agent happens to run into a neighbor and they start chitchatting. In the conversation the neighbor says something to the effect of…” isn’t that the house that’s full of mold”
Of course the listing agent doesn’t know anything about mold, and like I said, all of those issues were properly fixed, the Realtor questions the seller and does some research. As it turns out everyone in the neighborhood thought that the house had mold issues. And like a lot of neighborhoods… Neighbors like to “gossip” if you will.
So the house in question was dealing with a high stigma that was unnecessary and unwarranted. And ultimately with something the seller and the listing agent dealt with until the day they sold the house.
But it doesn’t have to be mold. It could be other structural issues, neighborhood problems, an odor from a local farm, or anything else. What do you post about your home and neighborhood could potentially affect your future sale or a neighbors future sale.
Now, I’m not saying not to post anything on social media about your personal life. That is a choice each of us have to make. But if you are one of those individuals who likes to post about personal issues you’re dealing with… Consider a few things you can do to try to minimize the damage. Here are three things you can try.
1) Once the issue you had is resolved… Post about the resolution. Post it as a new message, or posted in the same message thread from before. If it’s a verbal comment you made to a neighbor… Make sure the neighbor knows that the issue was resolved. In these situations… Hopefully whoever is hearing about an old issue also hears about the resolution.
2) Go back and delete the old message. Like I said earlier, things live forever on the Internet. But you can minimize the damage by deleting your message after you get the information you need. For example, once you get a contractor to fix your leak… Don’t leave the message on your social media forever. Delete the message, this will minimize the lifespan of the message.
3) Don’t post the message to begin with. Or don’t tell your neighbors to begin with. Rather than reaching out to social media… Do a Google search, or the old fashion Yellow Pages if you’re town still has them. Or if you’re looking for a reference… Ask if you trusted individuals, rather than the general public. A close friend, a family member, the local Chamber of Commerce. These resources are a safe way of getting the information you need without putting your business out for the world to see.
And in closing, even though this blog is focused on the effects on real estate… The same affects can be true with other personal information online. The things you tell your neighbors and the things you post online can also affect you future getting jobs, acceptance to college, or if you’re a business owner…potential customers.
For most people, your home is your greatest investment. You do not want to diminish the value of your home due to invalid or misunderstood information
If you’re interested in buying or selling a home on Virginia or Maryland’s Eastern shore… Chincoteague Island, Trails End, Captain‘s Cove or anywhere in the immediate area… Give me a call.
Bob Faith, Dockside Properties
Licensed in VA & MD. EEO