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Turn your listing into a “TikTok house”

TikTok, the app that became phenomenally popular during the pandemic, has spawned “collab houses” where social media influencers/celebrities create and promote content. Those houses are sprinkled around the more exclusive Los Angeles neighborhoods and have names like Hype House, Sway House and Clubhouse—befitting of their impressive amenities and luxury decor.

Enter: 943 24th Street. The sprawling “one of a kind masterpiece” in Santa Monica originally listed on Redfin for $5.8 million. That was in August 2020. A month later, the price dropped to $5.5 million. After six months on the market, the six-bedroom, nine-bathroom Spanish-style mansion had only booked two showings. 

“Obviously, something wasn’t right,” said Los Angeles real estate agent Rochelle Maize, executive director of the Luxury Estates Division at Nourmand & Associates, who specializes in repositioning homes so they sell for top dollar.

“The creative side of me tried to figure out the house and how to position it to get the most money out of it.” Maize and her team certainly got creative to transform the house that wasn’t getting enough hype into Hype House West, the “newest TikTok house.”

We might be in a blazing hot, multiple-offer market, but that doesn’t mean you should let your marketing game go cold. TikTok—the newest social media platform that’s become wildly popular during the pandemic—is more than an app your teens are using to show off their dance moves and lip-syncing skills. Just five years after the social media platform’s 2016 introduction, it’s become a potent marketing platform with 800 million monthly users.

A what house?

Don’t know what a TikTok house is? That’s OK. We didn’t, either—even though they’ve been a thing for five years. In Boomer and Gen X terms, “collab houses” or content houses are palatial mansions in exclusive zip codes used as party pads for TikTok stars to live, play and post from, and often get paid handsomely for doing so.   

Maize was brainstorming ideas for the stale Santa Monica address with interior designer Bret Bauer of Vesta Staging when he mentioned that a group of TikTok influencers had purchased one of the homes he’d staged, furniture and all. That’s when Maize came up with Hype House West. The homeowner—who happens to have her own brand of alcohol, a perfect party house partnership—updated the place in 2012, but its original Redfin listing was “drab, nothing really had been done,” Maize said. “It was just thrown on the MLS.”

To draw applicants, Maize and Bauer decorated the 6,300-square-foot home as a series of “viral-worthy vignettes,” including a pool and slide, a music studio and a bar. Maize wanted to “put a spin on it to make it the best house for COVID-19 because it’s got everything—you don’t ever have to leave.”

Hype House West will be all over TikTok for the month of April, as a parade of top-tier influencers—who applied through Maize and were considered based on their list of followers—will be granted blocks of time to film at Hype House West. In exchange for the incredible backdrop, the influencers agree to tag a list of purveyors and contributors, which, of course, all equates to “free” advertising.

TikTok for the rest of us

Not every house can be a “Hype House” but the popular app offers opportunities for real estate agents looking to expand their advertising reach. Any house can be a TikTok house with the right kind of marketing savvy.

While most TikTok marketing for real estate won’t include enticing influencers to film and post free advertising videos, the social media platform provides plenty of regular-folk opportunities to widen your advertising reach. How wide is that reach? TikTok in the U.S. has 80 million active monthly users: 30% of those are between 30 and 50, and another almost-30% are in their 20s. At the risk of botching the math, that’s 48 million potential homebuyers.

So, what can you do to increase your presence and marketing efforts on TikTok? Here are a few ways to get started: 

  • Adapt your existing marketing materials to a TikTok-friendly format. Each TikTok vignette is only 15 seconds long—a fitting amount of time for a slideshow, a drone video or a quick how-to.
  • Use relevant hashtags and judge your success on engagement levels. Some of TikTok’s popularity is based on its algorithms, which are designed to allow relatively unknown posters to go viral quickly. 
  • Define your audience. Maybe it is social media influencers, but, more likely, it’s a neighborhood or other (hashtag-able) demographic that will draw attention to your listing. 
  • Make good content. Hashtags and targeting are useful … when paired with content that provides value. Do you have tips? Insights into the loan application process? Videos of a behind-the-scenes open house preparation? 

The first way to get started on TikTok is to—well, just get started on TikTok. Download the app and familiarize yourself with the site and its overall content and theme(s). Then check out other real estate agents who are already in the TikTok sphere. From there, it’s not hard to take what you already know about selling houses and use that expertise to turn your listing into a TikTok house.

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