I just used a Closed Facebook Group to help a client find and buy a home sight unseen! Tim is in the military, he’s a marine to be precise, and he and his wife Megan were living out of state. They had been transferred back here to Quantico, VA but weren’t able to travel here to see potential homes prior to the big move. Honestly, I thought they were still living in Japan when we started the search. It turns out they were in Missouri, but that is another funny story for later. Luckily, they do have family members that live in the area who were nice enough to step up and help me scout out new homes for Megan and Tim. This was super helpful! Thanks Cindy! I also made them members of the Closed Facebook Group too, along with other family that was in yet another state. Sometimes it helps to have the knowledge and experience of the family, especially when you are a First Time Home-buyer.
Even with family available to help, to make this process effective, we needed to come up with a better way to show them the look and feel of the homes that they were interested in. First I set them up on a search of the MLS using my website. With all of us using this search, we found the best prospects and then, with a final list in hand, I would hit the road- sometimes with Cindy as a trusty sidekick – for a whirlwind tour of videos. Photographs alone were just not enough information to allow Megan and Tim to be comfortable buying a house without walking through it themselves. These photos don’t give a sense of flow and how all of the rooms all fit together. They also don’t always show a high level of detail or show any potential problems that you would have to catch while seeing the house in person. When I list a house, I use a 3D Walk-through Tour to solve this problem of relaying the layout of a home, but most agents aren’t doing this yet. I decided that making my own walk-through videos of the homes for them would solve this challenge. Videos like this can help clients see for themselves how the home moves from one room to the next. What would make these videos even better? The client being able to watch them in Real Time and be able to ask questions while we were there!
This is where the Closed Facebook Group really came in handy. I created the group with Megan, Tim and family members that were helping them with home shopping advice. Then, whenever I did a showing of a home (with or without trusty sidekick Cindy) I would do a Facebook Live video while touring the home and would try to add useful comments and observations along the way. This made it so easy for Megan and Tim to see it. Then they could also watch it again later looking for more detail. Members of the group could also make comments and observations below each video post.
The beauty of the Closed Facebook Group is that it also made it easy for me to get these videos to Megan and Tim and the rest of the group. In the past I have tried to make videos like this for out of town clients, but always had trouble sending them because of the video file size. Facebook solved this problem for me, and solved it quickly and efficiently in real time. It was helpful to have Megan on the other side of the video interface watching what we were seeing. She was able to ask questions while we were there. We did discover that she needed to have the Facebook App loaded on her phone for her to be able to actually watch the videos live. There was a bit of a learning curve to this process, but I think it was well worth it.
The other great thing about the Closed Facebook Group was that I could post all of the Comparative Market Analyses, property reports, and even the Home Inspection Report as files that all group members could pull up and see. This made it super easy to disseminate useful information to any and all in the group to help with decision making. Also everyone could also post comments and questions about each report right there in the group. This was useful since Megan and Tim were First Time Homebuyers, so their parents’ observations and experience were useful additions to this process. Especially since one of them was an electrician and several had experience buying and renovating homes. It always helps to have people with experience in your corner when you are about to become a new homeowner.
The end result was that we found them a great townhouse with a cute little backyard, great for their dogs, that backed up to beautiful bit of woods. It gives them privacy and a great place to play. It’s perfect for their growing family!