Would You Buy Your Home on TikTok?
Forget Zillow. There’s a new online tool to help find (or sell) your dream home, but there are pros and cons.
Virtual home tours have become increasingly popular as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, 42% of respondents in a recent poll said they’d be willing to make an offer on a home after seeing a virtual tour. Instead of relying on open houses and in-person events, many real estate agents have turned to social media in this new era of homebuying.
While Facebook and Instagram are go-tos for most agents, many real estate professionals have found high engagement and clients on TikTok. As of September 2021, the app had a total of 1 billion monthly active users and growing. It’s also the most engaging social media app where users spend more time per session compared to other platforms.
“TikTok is growing and it’s not just young kids anymore,” says Brett Rosenthal, a Realtor from Philadelphia. “I find that tons of homebuyers now use TikTok more than any other social media network.”
Before you buy, get to know the pros and cons of looking for your home on TikTok.
PRO: Buyers can save time in the search process.
Before social media and smartphones, buyers would need to travel to every home for a private appointment or an open house. Now, agents and sellers can film short video tours of the property and easily share the videos on TikTok (and other listing and social media sites).
Ashley Perkins, an agent based in Boston, says she had a listing that was challenging to sell at first, so she decided to share the home on TikTok. The post ended up going viral and the home quickly sold.
@ashleyperkinsrealestate Rare to have a single family with garage parking and direct elevator in #boston 445 Marlborough listed for $7,749,000 #fyp #luxuryrealestate ♬ I Can’t Stop (Ekali Tribute) – Flux Pavilion
“From that TikTok, I was able to secure another stunning listing that sold for $2 million a few weeks later,” Perkins says.
Potential buyers can view unlimited homes on TikTok without the constraints of travel time or the homeowner’s schedule. After finding a home on the platform, buyers can easily and quickly send the link to their real estate agent or contact the post’s creator for more information.
CON: Buyers may not get all the home information they want.
Since TikTok content is meant to be bite-sized, it can be difficult for users to see the entire home in a single video.
Jennifer Spinelli, founder & CEO of Niche Home Buyer, says, “TikTok videos may not be able to show all the details of a home listing. For example, a video may only be able to show the exterior of a property, while potential buyers may want to see the interior as well.”
Not all home tours on TikTok are created the same, so buyers can follow up with the listing agent or post creator to schedule an in-person viewing of the property if the initial video is interesting.
PRO: Buyers can get tips from real estate professionals.
Kseniya Korneva, a Tampa Realtor, says she shares real estate investing advice or home buying tips on TikTok to help users know what to expect if they’re trying to buy a home. Content that teaches users about real estate or how to work with their mortgage lender tends to perform well with viewers, according to Korneva.
“I like to put out educational content that can help debunk some myths,” Korneva says.
@kseniya.tamparealtor ? Here’s what you need to buy your first home! If you’re a first time homebuyer, the process might seem daunting to you, but I’m doing a 3 part series going over everything you need to know about buying your first house. 1. You need at least 2 years of a stable job reported on your tax returns (unless you were just in school) 2. Your credit score will have to be at least a 580 to qualify for a house, but most lenders prefer a 620 minimum credit score 3. You will need to save at least 6% of the purchase price for your down payment and closing costs. It depends on the loan program you use, but this is a safe amount to save 4. Make sure your income is higher than your debt. Your lender will want check your “debt to income” ratio to make sure you qualify for a mortgage. ✨ follow for part 2 where I’ll go over how the home shopping process works! #firsttimehomebuyer #howtobuyahouse #buyingahouse #tryingtobuyahome #homebuyer ♬ So Much Happiness – Lux-Inspira
CON: There can be misinformation circulating on the platform.
While there can be helpful tips on the platform, there are other users who share content that may not be accurate. Korneva said users should always double check the facts or information they see on TikTok since the account may not be a credible source and regulations can vary from state to state.
“Buyers should look at the creator’s profile and check if they’re a licensed Realtor or mortgage lender,” Korneva says. “They should also always ask a local Realtor or lender to confirm the information.”
PRO: Buyers can discover homes outside their search parameters.
TikTok’s algorithm is personalized to each user’s interests. If buyers continue to search for home listings and interact with those posts on the platform, more related content will be recommended on their account.
Brandy Aguirre, a real estate agent in Arizona, says the reach of some of her posts has been surprising, and it exposes her listings to a massive audience. She says she loves showcasing her personality and connecting with clients by using humor in her videos.
“I’ve had videos that have had 100,000 to 1.6 million views and so many others that only had 100. But even the videos with only 100 views are valuable considering the time it would take me to get myself in front of 100 people if I were door knocking or making phone calls,” Aguirre says.
@brandyaguirreaz #reaestatehumor #arizonarealestate #arizona #realestate #realtor #azrealtor #queencreekaz #queencreekrealtor #gilbertaz #gilbertrealtor #scottsdaleaz #paradisevalleyaz #apachejunction #apachejunctionrealtor
In addition, buyers can follow real estate agent accounts to be exposed to various properties. Janine Acquafredda, an associate broker in New York, says seeing homes on TikTok has driven some of her clients to look at homes they might not have considered without seeing the property online.
“I had two buyers that I was working with for years in New York City who never looked to move out of the city until they saw my videos on TikTok,” Acquafredda says.
@janineacquafredda 3 bedroom, 2 bath, single family, limestone rowhouse FOR SALE! #forsaleinbrooklyn #brooklynrealestate #brooklynhomes #brooklynhomeforsale #fyp #realestate ♬ Ambient-style emotional piano – MoppySound
CON: Buyers may come across outdated content.
Although potential buyers can quickly review TikTok videos to search for a home, they may come across listings that are no longer for sale. As of September 2022, Redfin data shows homes spend an average of 32 days on the market, so posts that are older than a couple of months may be outdated.
Buyers who are constantly looking for listings on TikTok and come across older content may find that they’ve missed their chance on a home. Users should keep the date of posts in mind and always check with creators to see if the house shown is still available.