Deb Karp, a real estate agent at Chicago-based Dream Town Realty, thought she knew what her client wanted in a home. Among other things, the property would need to have three bedrooms and bathrooms, a large living space and a garage. But every time Karp found what she thought was a “no-brainer” that matched her buyer’s preferences, the client wouldn’t bite.

  • Agents can use Pinterest boards to get a better fix on homebuyers' style preferences.

Deb Karp, a real estate agent at Chicago-based Dream Town Realty, thought she knew what her client wanted in a home. Among other things, the property would need to have three bedrooms and bathrooms, a large living space and a garage.

But every time Karp found what she thought was a “no-brainer” that matched her buyer’s preferences, the client wouldn’t bite.

“I figured out that she really would like a different type of style,” Karp said.

Then a light light bulb went off. Karp realized she could use Pinterest — a social media site that lets users discover, collect and share images — to really nail down what her client was looking for.

Karp prompted the client to search interior and exterior property photos on Pinterest and “pin” the ones she liked to a board for Karp’s review.

“Lo and behold, it’s what did the trick,” she said.

The client’s board offered Karp a clear window into the exact types of fixtures, designs and furnishings her client was after. To home in on listings that made the grade, Karp began searching keywords in her multiple listing service (MLS) that captured the home styles that surfaced on her client’s Pinterest board. The MLS’s search tool would flag properties with listing remarks that mentioned those terms.

A search of “exposed brick” soon turned up a listing that she thought met her client’s tastes. She quickly sent the listing to her client. Bingo. The buyer purchased the home.

Screen shot showing part of Kab's client's Pinterest board.

Screen shot showing part of Karp’s client’s Pinterest board.

photo 1

Photos of home Karp’s client purchased.

“You see the pictures,” Karp said, referring to images of the home her client bought. “It’s like identical to her Pinterest board.”

Karp’s technique is easy to implement.

Clients can sign up for a Pinterest account, click “Create a board,” search property photos based on key words, add images to their board and then “Invite” their agent to join their board. To make it even easier for clients, an agent could create a board and then enable a client to add images to it.

“She just went on there and started playing around and putting her keywords in,” Karp said of her client’s home-style search experience Pinterest. “Once I looked at 30 pictures, I got the idea … I didn’t even have to look at some of these [her client’s Pinterest board photos].”

Email Teke Wiggin.

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