British Man Tweets His Way to a Home Sale (Just Like Twitter Founder)

Twitter helped a man in Great Britain sell his house as a for-sale-by-owner, The Daily Mirror reported.

Peter Bouvier closed on the Southampton home about three months after his tweet -- that's after a real estate agent had been unable to sell it despite months of trying.

The Daily Mirror crowned Bouvier the "first person to sell his house on Twitter," and other outlets quickly followed suit. But is he really the first? And can tweeting really help sell your home?

In an email exchange with HousingWatch, Bouvier recounted his tweet success. "The house was on with the estate agents in 2008, and we had no luck at all, so we took it off the market. Then in 2009, I had the idea to sell it via Twitter myself," Bouvier said. The tweet directed potential buyers to find out more from a blog he erected.

Maybe Bouvier was the first person in Southhampton to use Twitter to successfully sell a home, but we doubt he was the first one worldwide to do so. Quite a few people have tweeted about homes for sale, including Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.

Stone's home at 1409 Greenwood Terrace in Berkeley, CA went up for sale last year and he of course exposed it via a tweet that prompted tons of media attention, including a mention on Luxist.

Stone's tweet also directed potential buyers to a website about the home, although it was to his agent's site. The attention, no doubt, helped move the home fast. He closed on the sale of the 800-square-foot two-bedroom house only two months after his tweet. Zillow shows it sold for $550,000, down from its $575,000 list price.

Bouvier wasn't aware of Stone's tweet. Using social media was a natural decision for Bouvier, who is a social media editor for NHS Direct, an offshoot of the National Health Service in England. The tweet proved promising immediately.

"We received emails from all over the world. More than 30 people came to view," he told the Daily Mirror, whereas under the agent's watch he says he had only had a handful of viewers in six months.

Bouvier saved money by not having to pay an agent's commission, even with dropping the price from the agent's £179,950 to £175,000. The two-bedroom home sold in December for £171,500. "And we were happy with that," he said. He, his wife Abigail, and their two children, are currently renting in Liverpool near their families while waiting to purchase in the area.

There are skeptics out there who say that social media outlets and blogs don't sell real estate. But this writer, who has used them to sell her own home, says that social media is one of a few tools that can help sell a home faster. At least Twitter might be a better bet than say, burying a St. Joseph statute, but there's no reason you can't do both.

See homes for sale in Berkeley

Sheree R. Curry is an award-winning business journalist who lives in a Minneapolis suburb.

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