Last year, a Zillow survey showed that 36% of buyers would even buy a property out of the blue. But despite all the desperate buyers willing to skip the in-person visit, most people still expect to see a home first.

At the height of the pandemic, realtors across the country found the TikTok social media platform to be an ideal way to safely show homes to potential buyers. Now, some say the video app has revolutionized the way they sell real estate – and it’s here to stay.

Madison Sutton is a 25-year-old agent in New York. She specializes in off-market transactions and what she calls “hidden treasure apartments”. But during the pandemic, she was looking for leads because so many people were leaving town.
Sutton created his TikTok account, @TheNYCAgent, in early 2020. She had “no expectations for it,” citing the pandemic as a catalyst for starting her account. But as soon as she started posting apartment tours on the app, she said interest in her TikTok and properties increased.

“There were days when I got two or four hundred requests for an apartment,” she recalls. “What TikTok did, I couldn’t have hoped, planned or calculated in my entire life. It has completely changed my life.”

Sutton said 100% of his business now comes from TikTok and his commissions have almost doubled.

Almost three quarters of TikTok users spend more than an hour on the app per week, according to Statista. Endless scrolling and the use of algorithms keep users coming back for more. It is this format that Sutton finds an asset. “Where else in New York City could you see 10 apartments in 10 minutes other than TikTok?” Sutton said.

And while typical house hunters worry about scheduling in-person visits, those savvy online can watch in-depth videos Sutton takes with the flick of a finger.

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Part of what makes TikTok so useful for realtors is the fast video interface and the algorithmically curated For You page. Videos that appear on a user’s For You page are collected based on their unique interests, region, search history, and interactions with advertisers. Since TikTok uses such engagement metrics to determine interest in a video, a new content creator doesn’t need a large number of subscribers or a paid promotion for their video to go viral. and reaches a large audience.

It only took a week for realtor Prince Whiting in Fort Worth, TX on the platform to get his first hit. Since inception @TheHouseofWhiting in January 2021, he amassed 2.2 million likes on his videos. The exposure it gets on its content is virtually free, unlike its previous method of paid print advertising.
The hashtags on TikTok related to house hunting have gotten millions of views.

“I would say about 90% of the views are on the For You page and not on the people following me,” Whiting said. “Everyone has the opportunity to go viral. Just because you have 100 million or a million followers and that tick to verify.”

Whiting said that unlike other social media platforms, the popularity and consistency of TikTok hashtags like #homesforsale (24.4 million views) and #luxuryrealestate (556 million views) make it easier for him to reach people willing to buy.

As with all new social media, there is of course a learning curve. With six years of real estate experience and no knowledge of TikTok, Dallas real estate broker Joseph Felling admits it took him a few tries to find his niche on the platform.

Felling said he has found the most success in showcasing the low prices of Dallas homes compared to other major metropolitan areas in the United States. More than any other platform, TikTok has enabled it to reach customers outside of Texas.

“I think Covid has really made people experience that there is more to it,” Felling said. “It’s so crazy how many Californian buyers I have had over the past year because they are able to sell their million dollar property in California, move to Texas and get a much larger property for $ 500,000. “

He said he now gets around 75% of his leads from TikTok and his sales have almost quadrupled. As a result, Felling ceased to market its properties in print publications.

Dallas-based real estate agent Joseph Felling says TikTok is a great way to reach out-of-state buyers looking for more affordable housing.

The future of real estate

The brokers CNN spoke to have all joined TikTok in the past two years, and they all think the app is the future of real estate.

It was certainly a huge hit: in September 2021, TikTok reached 1 billion monthly active users.

“We live in such a visual society,” Felling said. “Video is the wave of the future. This is how you’re going to get people’s attention.”

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Sutton also said that a more visual medium allows potential buyers to imagine themselves living in a particular city. She often mixes local video content in her feed, showing her favorite restaurants and markets in nearby neighborhoods.

Most importantly, real estate agents can use TikTok to strike up a conversation with their buyers. Sutton said she has built lasting relationships with clients through TikTok who come back to her often for the next leg of their home search journey.

“[TikTok] creates that relationship which is much more long term, “she said.” I may not have had access to these clients, or they may not have been exposed to someone like me.”

According to Sutton, there is nothing wrong with opening an account. “If you’re a real estate agent you should be on TikTok. No questions asked,” she said. “Even if a video does not perform well, it’s not about performance. If any of those people who see that video find their home… I did my job.”


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