The Perils of Too Much Information

There is no denying the impact that social media has had on our lives.  Websites like Twitter, LinkdIn, and Facebook make it possible to communicate with people 24/7 no matter where we are in the world. All of these sites all have their places in our lives and our businesses and they can be a fun diversion….when we use a bit of common sense.

Facebook in particular has become a hot spot for all sorts of information sharing and I admit to spending more time there than I should some days.  I learn things, I pass along information that I think my friends would like, and I enjoy the occasional debate over hot topics. But sometimes I’m amazed at what people post about their relationships, their jobs, and frankly the intimate details of their lives. Some posts make me outright uncomfortable because it is just TMI – too much information. In one case, I decided to “unfriend” a woman who posted daily details and photos of her young child’s progress at potty training.  There are just some things I don’t need to know.

This same tendency for “over sharing” can be the un-doing of many a job applicant.  Think those pictures of you having way too much fun at a frat party won’t hurt your image or your chances of landing that job you want? Think again. Today’s employers consider a search on Facebook just another stop in vetting job applicants.

Social media has it’s benefits, though, and can be an effective way of carrying a message to a wide and varied group of people.  So how can Facebook and other social media outlets be used to help you sell your home? Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.

• If your Realtor has produced a video or a virtual tour for you, DO get the link and post it on your timeline.  Ask your friends to share it with their friends. Just make sure there is appropriate contact information so anyone who is interested knows who to talk to.
• If you don’t have a video, DO ask for a link to your Broker’s website where your home is featured, and share that link.
(Side note: If your Broker doesn’t do videos or virtual tours and doesn’t have a website, you should consider hiring a different Broker)

BlahDON’T use Facebook as a place to vent about your home’s short comings. As a seller, you are required to disclose what you know about your home such as any trouble you have had with the HVAC, or a roof leak. But the place for that is on a Property Disclosure form provided to you by your Broker.  Facebook is NOT the place to talk about how you cleverly patched that hole in your roof so no one can see it’s damaged and it’s NOT the place to talk about how steep your driveway is or how loud your neighbors are. At least not if you’re trying to sell your home any time soon.
• If you’ve already moved to a new location DON’T tell the world of Facebook that the home you are selling is now vacant.  It’s the same reason you don’t announce that you’re leaving the next day for vacation.  That kind of information is dangerous in the wrong hands.
In today’s information world, you don’t have to be the FBI to find out pretty much anything you really want to know about a property including how much some one paid for it, whether or not there is a mortgage, or how many times it’s been on and off the market. It’s all out there somewhere if you know where to look for it. The same is true for  a lot of your personal information.  Now, in addition to public records, today’s savvy buyers are using Facebook and websites like it to gain more information about sellers including the home they are selling.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to using a little common sense. To paraphrase that now famous slogan for Las Vegas…what you post on the internet stays on the internet.

Telephone Etiquette 101

A bazillion years ago when I was working in retail we were taught that if you have a customer standing in front of you and the phone rings, your telephoneobligation is to take care of the customer in front of you first. If you absolutely have to answer the phone, you take their number and ask to call them back, then return as quickly as possible to the customer standing at the counter.

That small lesson has stayed with me all these years and it still irks me when I’m in a store and I’m “bumped” while a clerk answers a phone call and proceeds to provide the caller with “excellent service” while I wait…even though I was there first.

For me, the same theory applies to phone calls. Call waiting and Caller ID are great, but some people abuse the idea.  If I’m on the phone with someone, and the important call they’ve been waiting for all day comes in…..no problem. Go take that call and get back to me when you can. But when I hear the words “hang on…I have another call coming in” that sends a clear signal that I’m no longer important and whatever it is we’re talking about isn’t important.

It’s even worse if I’m standing face to face with someone and in the middle of a conversation and they put me on “hold” while they answer their phone. I have no choice but to stand there awkwardly while they carry on another conversation.  Again..if it’s important and something that requires immediate attention. No problem. A simple “Excuse me, but I really have to deal with this….I won’t be long”  will suffice.

There is no law that requires we answer a phone just because it’s ringing. That’s why we have voice mail. If my phone rings and I choose not to answer, it’s because I’m on the other line, or talking to someone else in person, and giving that person my undivided attention. It is rare that a caller doesn’t leave a message if I don’t answer…and if they don’t leave a message, then I guess it wasn’t very important anyway. Besides, my phone saves the number and I often will call back to acknowledge the missed call just in case I did miss something important.

If you ever call me (828-551-6290) and I don’t answer, it’s because I’m being courteous and attentive to someone else at that moment, but I will be happy to return your call promptly. And when I do, you can trust that I am giving YOU my undivided attention.