After years of tossing property listings into news feeds and groups, real estate agents finally have a formal way to post them to Facebook. The social media giant has rolled out a marketplace that lets people post all manner of things for sale, including houses.

  • Agents can post property listings in Facebook's new "Marketplace."
  • Facebook is featuring Marketplace prominently on its mobile app, signaling "big plans" for the feature, one agent says.

After years of tossing property listings into news feeds and groups, real estate agents finally have a formal way to post them to Facebook.

The social media giant has rolled out a marketplace that lets people post all manner of things for sale, including houses.

facebook-marketplace

“Marketplace” builds on the popularity of a countless number of existing “buy and sell” Facebook groups.

More than 450 million people visit such groups every month — “from families in a local neighborhood to collectors around the world,” Facebook said in announcing “Marketplace.”

Signaling the company’s strong commitment to Marketplace, an icon linking to the section appears in the center of the app’s bottom navigation bar.

By clicking the Marketplace icon, users pull up a search page where they can filter for listings based on location, category and price. One of the categories under “Classifieds” is “Housing,” opening the door for the development of a new property listing repository.

Nick Baldwin, an administrator of the Facebook Group Lab Coat Agents, has taken advantage of the new feature by posting a $699,000 listing in Glen Ridge, New Jersey.

nick-baldwin-facebook-marketplace

A property listing posted by Nick Baldwin to Facebook includes a link to the listing on Baldwin’s agent team website.

The listing included a property description and a link to a full listing of the home on his team’s website.

Baldwin says that the fact that it’s possible to include links in listings on Facebook’s marketplace is a “major differentiator” from Craigslist, which prohibits the practice. Some tech observers view Marketplace as a bid by Facebook to take on Craigslist.

“The reason I feel agents should pay attention to this is because [Facebook] rearranged their app for it,” he added.

“They put the marketplace in the most prime location … this leads me to believe they have big plans.”

What’s on the listing pages?

On listing pages, buyers can see a seller’s information and general location, and they can click tabs to “make an offer” or send a message.

Once a buyer and seller begin negotiating, they can transact however they like. Facebook doesn’t “facilitate payment or delivery of items” in the marketplace.

To post a listing to the marketplace, sellers can tap a camera icon to grab a photo of an item (or a property), fill out a name, description and price, and specify a location.

Indicating that Facebook has no short-term plans to replace existing buy and sell groups with Marketplace, Facebook lets sellers post listings to Marketplace and a specific buy and sell group simultaneously.

Many real estate agents monitor or even manage buy and sell groups — sometimes tapping the groups for new business.

Agents also use Facebook groups to establish themselves as neighborhood experts and market or discover properties posted both on and off the multiple listing service (MLS), including “coming soon” listings — listings that agents plan on posting to the MLS after “pre-marketing” the properties.

Email Teke Wiggin.

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