Man sells house on Twitter

Home tweet home

UPDATE March 10: Melbourne Man Kurt Opray sold his house for $A135,000 above the asking price after promoting through a social media campaign (see below).

Now that the dust has settled, NBR asked Mr Opray, dis his real estate agency get the usual commission? After all, he seemed to make all the running.

"Yes, my agents got a regular commission," Mr Opray replied.

"My view was that I was augmenting what the agents were doing. The reality is that I can not honestly tell you to what degree the result I got was driven by what I did, what the agent did or simply the natural appeal of the house itself."

He added, "That said, the popularity of the blog and all the anecdotal evidence points to the conclusion that what I did certainly did not hurt."

Mr Opray is now helping two people in regional Victoria sell their homes, using a similar campaign via Twitter and Wordpress.

Kiwis cut realestate agents out of the picture
While NBR hasn't uncovered a local example of a Twitter account for a house, there is at least one example of social media being used to cut agents out of the picture.

Wellington iPhone and iPad game developer Peter Frampton (@majicDave) tweeted he was thinking of putting his house on the market. Another software developer, Michael Koziarski (@nzkoz), spotted the Twitter post - and subsequently bought Mr Frampton's house without it ever being put on the market.


Feb 22: A Melbourne man is being hailed as an innovator after using Twitter, backed by a personal blog, to help sell his house for $A1.05 million - $A135,000 above the asking price, and 33% above the median for the well-heeled suburb.

Kurt Opray set up a Twitter account - @NorthcoteHouse - for his California bungalow, using it to promote its auction, and feed traffic through to his blog about the property.

An excited Herald Sun report failed to mention a key element: Mr Opray's day job. The Melbourne-ite is a social media expert at a marketing company called Impact Data.

Nevertheless, the online tools he employed - Twitter, and a regularly updated blog set up on the free, user-friendly WordPress.com, jazzed up by photo albums posted to Picasa and YouTube hosted videos - are readily usable by anyone with only basic web know-how. 

Mr Opray ran his DIY social media campaign in parallel with more conventional marketing by the selling agent, Rob Elsom, director of Hocking Stuart Northcote.

The agent told the Australian Financial Review he was "astounded" when 80 people turned up at the auction of the three-bedroom, one bathroom home - around 30% more than he had expected.

The turnout was not such a surprise to Mr Opray, who had been monitoring a spike in traffic to his Wordpress blog.

"I know my house better than any agent. Who better to sell my house than me?," Mr Opray said to the AFR.

Agents: you still need us
Real Estate Institute of Victoria spokesman Robert Larocca told the Herald Sun that Mr Opray was an innovator. He expected his social media campaign would up by others.

Mr Larocca earlier told the AFR that Twitter would not make real estate agents redundant.

“Twitter can’t replace normal marketing, but it can increase interaction with buyers,’’ the REIV spokesman said.

On this side of the Tasman, real estate agents have swarmed to Twitter. Many follow NBR's account (@theNBR), and some have not adverse to add "@theNBR" to the end of one of their tweets promoting a property, knowing that means their message will get seen by NBR's 6000+ followers (earning them a warning, and a blocking if they try to repeat the freeloading; most behave - or at least limit themselves to the soft-sell promotion of retweeting NBR real estate stories).

NBR is not immediately aware of any homeowner who has set up a Twitter account to promote a property (if you have, please leave a comment below).

But there are increasing instances of people using their regular Twitter accounts to promote a sale.

One is Trade Me alumni and former IAB chair Michael Gregg, who has tweeted to push his Marlborough Sounds home listed on Trade Me Property, with Harcouts as the agent.

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Adding a twitter handle to the end of a tweet does not make that tweet viewable to that accounts followers...

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