Leave it to Silicon Valley to come up with a new idea for a struggling housing market desperate to revive the American Dream.
Jen O'Neal, with the help of her sister, decided to give the house their parents are selling a voice on Twitter. For those living under a rock, Twitter allows fleeting posts of 140 characters or less. It is arguably the furthest thing from interacting with a live, chatty real estate agent.
The ornate mansion situated in an older neighborhood in Tucson, Ariz., tweets daily with real estate agents, investors, shoppers and journalists via the handle @IAMAHouse1
"My sister and I always thought the house had a lot of character, and we thought it would be really neat if it had a voice," O'Neal said in an interview.
Playful and illustrative, the house seduces online passersby with photos and tweets that give it the sort of charm real estate agents and sellers shell out thousands of dollars for in seminar fees:
"They say that eyes are the window to the soul. With floor-to-ceiling windows, my soul is off the hook."
"Went on the market last wk. My owners' kids are grown so they say I'm too big for them now. Apparently size does matter."
"A family of doves built their nest in my eaves. Kinda tickles."
"Is it hot in here or is it just me?" it tweeted complete with a photo of its dashing living room and fireplace.
O'Neal graduated from the University of California, Berkley
and became one of the first employees at the online ticket company StubHub
in 2000. She recently founded Tripping
, a social media site for international travelers to make friends they can visit and stay with. Twitter, for the Silicon Valley startup, comes naturally.
Jenni Morrison, the real estate agent for the O'Neals, said the home has been on the market for about three weeks and is generating a lot of inquiries O'Neal forwards to her directly from the Twitter feed, some from as far away as the U.K.
"She's very bright, and she just had this brainstorm," Morrison said in an interview. "We really had no expectations, but it's been really, really successful so far. With the market the way it is, it's time we looked at a different direction.""
In many areas around the country, especially in Arizona, success is needed. Foreclosures remain elevated there. CoreLogic
[stock CLGX][/stock] reported
Tuesday that 47% of Arizona homeowners are underwater. Morrison said the O'Neal place would have sold for $1.6 million a few years ago. Today, they're asking for $1.25 million.
Still, the troubles aren't getting to @IAMAHouse1.
"He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe," the house just tweeted.
Write to Jon Prior
Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior