House Shopping? Friend a Realtor on Facebook

Everyone knows it helps to have friends in the right places. But if you're in the market for real estate and don't know a realtor personally, you can still make like virtual buddies on Facebook (or Twitter!) and get instant access to the latest listings. It turns out realtors everywhere are using social sites to share hot properties.Findings in REALTOR magazine's 2011 Technology survey revealed that "despite common warnings to not be too promotional on social networks, 48 percent post listings on Facebook."

That's good news for you, house-seeker. Eventually, you'll find it tiring to search Zillow or Trulia day in and day out. But if you add a realtor to your friends list on Facebook or Twitter, you'll have local listings just popping up in your social stream. As a bonus, you might get first dibs on new properties — it's probably much quicker for a busy real estate pro to update Facebook with mobile pictures of a new unit than to update a website.

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So how do you get social with the real estate crowd? While you're navigating professional sites, look around for social media links and icons. If the realtor has a professional "fan" page where they share up-to-date listings, they'll link it there. If not, you can always try to search the realtors name and city on Facebook or Twitter; many share listings with their personal networks and won't mind if an interested buyer drops in.

(Image: 1. Illustration, UnitedEducational.com, 2. RealBird Listing Publisher)

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