Some neighborhoods have a weekly cul-de-sac baseball game, others are like ghost towns, where neighbors avoid each other completely. Wherever you live, Nextdoor, the neighborhood-centric social media platform, wants to connect people in your area, and it could be a good platform to sell your house.
Including Nextdoor in your selling strategy means you’re leaving no stone unturned, and you’re fully stretching those connections you have within close proximity. Just check out this woman’s story who sold her house on the platform. It’s not that you can’t sell your house if you don’t use Nextdoor, but it provides free exposure in one more place and uses relationships as an effective selling tool—it can’t hurt.
In this article, you’ll find some of the top questions that arise about real estate on Nextdoor. In addition, we’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks for using it to sell your house and a how-to for posting your house on the platform.
Nextdoor is focused social media
Nextdoor is social media with a concentration. It’s just like every other social platform out there in that it has functions like posts, comments, shares, likes, pictures and direct message abilities.
But Nextdoor is different in that it’s specific to neighborhoods. In fact, you can’t even get into a neighborhood network without first verifying you live there. This means those who live in your area have access to your posts, and you have access to theirs. It also means you don’t have access to anyone’s posts outside your area. It’s like a Facebook Group, specific to your neighborhood… except it’s not on Facebook.
People use Nextdoor for all kinds of purposes: to give neighbors recommendations on local vets and mom and pop restaurants, to gripe about dogs pooping on their lawn, and yes, to discuss area real estate listings.
If you’re looking to sell, Nextdoor is a good place to showcase your home, but there are caveats and rules you must abide by unless you want to get your posts deleted by the neighborhood moderator (who might also be that nosy neighbor across from you).
Where do real estate listings appear on Nextdoor?
Two sections of Nextdoor’s site host real estate listings: the For Sale Free section and the Real Estate section, and your ability to post to one of these two sections depends on who you are.
As a neighborhood resident, you are allowed to post a listing of your house in the For Sale Free section. You should not “overpost,” per the site’s guidelines. Don’t try to spam your neighbors into buying your house.
Your agent, on the other hand, cannot post in the For Sale Free section of your neighborhood forums. They can, however, run advertisements for homes that they’re selling in your zip code via the Neighborhood Sponsorship program. (Agents sponsor a specific ZIP code.) These ads are geo-targeted and will show up in the Real Estate section. This paid avenue allows agents to get in front of very specific audiences but prevents agents from spamming all the neighbors with the real estate equivalent of paper take-out menus wedged in your doorjamb.
So, you do not need an agent to list your home on Nextdoor, unless you want it in the Real Estate section, because you can’t post in that section without the right creds.
Who can see the real estate listings on Nextdoor?
On a platform like Craigslist, you can check out who’s selling a couch anywhere—set your parameters and whether they’re 10 miles away or 100 miles away, and listings show up as you please.
Unlike Craigslist, a Nextdoor user cannot see posts outside their own immediate area. Nextdoor isn’t very specific about how this “distance-based algorithm” works. In fact, they just call it your “broader local area,” but based on the map, it seems it will allow viewers to see listings 10-15 miles around their home.
If you’re hoping to attract out-of-towners to your cabin in the woods listing, you’ll have to turn elsewhere (maybe Craigslist?) or speak with your agent about placing paid ads in Nextdoor’s real estate section.
Remember though that Nextdoor is focused social media. People are on there with the knowledge that it’s localized. If they’re in the For Sale Free or Real Estate section, they’re likely interested in your surrounding area, otherwise they’d be looking on another platform.
Real estate agents can take part in Nextdoor’s “Neighborhood Sponsor” program, which allows for ad placements, as well as direct messaging abilities in the specific zip codes they sponsor. If a neighborhood resident in your agent’s sponsored area has a question about their home value or how to go about listing, the agent can answer it.
As a home seller, this isn’t really applicable to you except that 1) you want an agent who is working hard to market your house listing and 2) you want an agent who knows the area well.
Benefits of using Nextdoor to sell your house
People want to be there.
People are on Nextdoor for the same reasons people are on Facebook, or any other social media platform—to stay connected (or at least feel like they’re staying connected) to whatever it is they want to be connected to. It could be their friends, their family, their hiking club or in this case, their neighborhood. Having an account with Nextdoor is not like taxes, it’s not mandatory, so people are on the platform because they want to be, which is a bonus for advertisers.
There are fewer trolls and scams.
There’s no anonymity on Nextdoor. Not only do you have to use your name but you have to verify your address to have any neighborhood permissions. It’s hard to be an anonymous, baiting Internet troll when your neighbors know where you live. This means Nextdoor has far fewer fraudulent and troll accounts “clogging” up the network.
If you’re trying to reach just those in your radius, you can’t do much better than your next door neighbors, even if it’s reaching them online rather than when they take their garbage cans out.
It’s built on relationships.
Butch Leiber, top-selling Phoenix-area agent, compares Nextdoor to “a virtual dog walk” — a way to keep a pulse on your area — except without the sunburn, mosquito bites, and tired pooch.
On the platform, you can (virtually) stroll around the neighborhood, say hello to the new family on the corner, ask for recommendations for date night restaurants from the lady who’s lived here for 20 years, and see what houses have just listed or sold.
Those who have roots in the area, and have formed the relationships to prove it, have the most clout on Nextdoor; real estate agents included. Leiber fits this criteria. He’s lived in the area for 25 years and operates his real estate business purely on a referral basis.
Leiber uses Nextdoor in two ways. He says, “As a consumer, I’ve used it to stay in touch with what’s happening in my neighborhood; as a Realtor, I market to my neighborhood.” He takes part in Nextdoor’s Neighborhood Sponsorship program so he can be the go-to agent when locals have questions. He says it’s a way to “provide information to people,” conduct polls and share market stats. He says it’s simply another way to get his name out there and be seen more often.
Drawbacks of posting your house on Nextdoor
Areas aren’t exclusive to agents.
Because every social media and house-searching website has paid advertisement opportunities, some agents find their marketing budget is best spent elsewhere. Nextdoor does not offer exclusivity to agents. It allows up to five neighborhood sponsors per zip code, and cyclically displays one of the five to Nextdoor users in that neighborhood. Leiber says he “can but does not” sponsor zip codes outside of his own.
Organization for posts is lacking.
The organization of Nextdoor’s For Sale Free section is dependant on those posting to properly categorize. If someone decides their bike or Corelle dishes are “housing,” (as someone did in the screenshot) and posts these items in the housing category, there is nothing stopping them (except eventually the neighborhood moderator if they spot it). This means when people view the For Sale Free Housing section, it’s got more variety than you’d think.
There are always crazy people.
Just like on Facebook, there are inappropriately political family members, curmudgeonly complainers and, as Leiber puts it “nosy neighbors like the lady on Bewitched.” There is some fear mongering, bad grammar and, of course, oversharing. It’s part of being on the internet, but is a drawback for many users.
The ROI might look better to you than your agent.
There is very little for you to lose as a homeowner if you post your home on Nextdoor in the For Sale Free section. It’s free to post and it’s exposure, so why not?
Keep in mind though, there are some drawbacks if you’re a real estate agent paying actual money to post listings on Nextdoor. It’s ok to ask your agent about how they’re marketing your home, but know that Nextdoor is just one way to advertise and might not be in their mix of marketing. That doesn’t make them a bad agent.
How to list your home in the For Sale Free Section of Nextdoor
Here’s how you, as a home seller, can list your home on Nextdoor:
1. Sign in and click on “For Sale Free” on the left-side column.
2. Then select “Post an item” in the top right corner.
3. This button will bring up a form, which you can fill out with your home’s details. (Take a lesson from the Real Estate section: Agents know that specific details, flattering wide-angle photography and clear contact information help sell a house.)
When it comes down to it, Nextdoor is just one more place to put your house out there. It’s not a dealbreaker if you do or don’t. It’s not the be-all-end-all if you do. It’s not a magic bullet. But it can help you with exposure and your agent with relationship building, and neither of those are bad things for getting your house sold.
Header Image Source: (Kobu Agency/ Unsplash)