This week alone I must have been sent a dozen invitations to champagne-fuelled property launches. The last time I was being sent this sort of invitation was before the financial crisis.


22nd May 2024


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Should you sell your house on social media?

Estate agents are increasingly using platforms like Instagram to sell prime properties — but it can be a risky strategy

Camilla Dell

This week alone I must have been sent a dozen invitations to champagne-fuelled property launches. The last time I was being sent this sort of invitation was before the financial crisis.

There are 20 per cent more sales listings for £5 million-plus properties than this time last year, data from the house price analyst LonRes shows, but the number of these homes under offer is down 43 per cent.

This has led to a surge of sellers attempting to stoke up interest in their prime properties with parties and publicity. Some properties are struggling to sell and estate agents are trying different tactics, including social media.

I am on Instagram, but have chosen to have a private profile, and my firm, Black Brick, is on social channels to inform and educate rather than boast and promote.

I don’t believe my clients want me to be the star. Or care to know intricate details about my private life. It’s not about me. I believe sellers and buyers should take caution when thinking about selling or buying through social media platforms.

Sellers, don’t believe that a little bit of glitz and glamour will shift your home in a market that is looking increasingly crowded with options. Champagne-fuelled launch parties and plenty of social media exposure on Instagram and TikTok is not the answer.

The properties I see pop up on my social feed are often overpriced or compromised, or both. Sometimes they have been on the market for long periods, with various agents pushing them on their feeds with slightly different shouty loud music.

The real answer is to market these properties at the right price to begin with. Last summer we were asked to advise on the sale of a special property in a prime area of London. The seller’s expectations were high. We told them this, but they were adamant to achieve their price.

We suggested an off-market strategy to test the waters without the danger of overexposure. We showed the property to the best buying and selling agents in super-prime London. One buying agent had a buyer. They came to see it twice, but could not get their head round the price.

We advised the seller to lower it. Instead, they instructed a property influencer with over 200,000 followers. That didn’t work. So they engaged yet more property influencers. I must have seen the property on my social feeds a dozen times now. It still has not sold a year later, even with its now much-reduced asking price.

If you are a seller, the danger of going social is that you deter potential buyers (as much as you may attract others) and you achieve a lower price. The biggest premiums I have seen being paid by buyers are when properties are exclusive, off-market and special.

It can be a significant security risk for certain buyers to have the floor plan on the internet. We once bought a country estate for a client that unfortunately had been promoted on several websites and social media. Our clients’ lawyers then spent a large amount of time contacting various publications to have the property removed.

That’s not to say there isn’t a place for social media. Done well, it can be helpful and entice interest, but be sure to do your due diligence. Is the influencer a genuine industry expert with a track record interested in doing the best for you and your property, or a TV wannabe more interested in using your property to promote themselves and gain followers?

Recent analysis of acquisitions made by my firm, Black Brick, during the past 12 months shows that buying agents and their clients rarely buy properties that are all over social media. Over the last year, only five of the 30 homes we acquired for our clients had appeared on social media. Many of our clients value privacy and discretion when purchasing prime property. They don’t want to buy something the whole world has seen.

Ultimately, the best and most desirable properties just don’t require that kind of exposure to find suitable buyers. The best way to sell your property is to price it realistically and discreetly show it to the right people before.
Camilla Dell is the founder of buying agency Black Brick

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