Have you cruised Trulia to find our how much your friend's new condo cost? Want to see the sprawling new beach house of your company's CEO, just weeks after massive layoffs?
Real Estate Stalking — using the internet to find out how much a property is worth and what it looks like — has become de rigueur for young professionals who want the inside scoop on their acquaintances' homes. They use popular sites like Trulia, Zillow, Redfin, and Realtor.com to check out the price tags and estimated worth of properties, which are a pretty good indicator of someone's financial status overall. It's like next-level Facebook snooping.
Realtor.com reports that according to a poll of over 500 homeowners conducted by Branded Research, 52% of respondents admitted to hunting around the internet to find information on their friends' and acquaintances' homes.
"I look up the real estate values of everyone I know and love and hate," one woman, who requested to remain anonymous, told Apartment Therapy. She's even gotten so good at it that she often has friends reach out to her to help with their own stalking. She considers the hunt to be another form of "prospect research," the technique used by professional fundraisers and development teams to figure out which donors can potentially give significant funds.
According to the survey on Realtor.com, the age group that enjoys real estate snooping corresponds to the common ages of first-time homeowners: 76% of poll respondents in the 35–44 age bracket admitted they've snooped on their friends' real estate deals. 72% of respondents aged 25 to 34 also admitted to creeping, while only 25% of folks over 65 have attempted to find their friends's properties.
But it's not just friends' homes that people are scoping out online; people admitted to Apartment Therapy that they search their bosses, landlords, and other authority figures. Still, some people admit that they've sworn off the chronic stalkage, finding the disparity between their own financial status and that of their friends to be "too depressing."
What about you? Have you done any real estate snooping lately?