Apr 22, 2024 - News

What happens when an Austin home goes viral

An illustration of a for sale real estate sign with a fire symbol in the middle.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Trendy Austin homes with natural light, lakefront views and sleek interior designs are going viral on social media.

Why it matters: "Screen appeal is the new curb appeal," Zillow senior economist Orphe Divounguy tells Axios.

State of play: Most people scroll accounts like Zillow Gone Wild for fun, but social media buzz is one way for serious home shoppers to notice your listing, real estate agents tell Axios.

What they're saying: Austin real estate agent Amir Lancaster, who regularly posts videos of local luxury homes for sale, said he's found success in building a brand and finding serious buyers.

  • "Being on social media and having the presence and reach I have is what sets me apart from other agents," Lancaster tells Axios, adding that it's even helped him reach out-of-state clients.
  • Lancaster has been a real estate agent in Austin for over two years and said his content is like a "digital resume for people to find out if they want to work with me."

Zoom in: Lancaster, also known for his time on reality TV and as a pro-rugby player, has over 132,000 followers on Instagram.

  • One of his most popular videos featured a Hill Country home that includes a speakeasy. The video garnered over 62,000 likes on Instagram.
  • It's not all about the home, Lancaster adds, "The reason it went viral is because a lot people thought I hit the front door as I was turning around."
  • The funny moment led to more shares and views, which helped Lancaster bring multiple potential buyers to the table.

Between the lines: Lancaster knows he's reaching a younger demographic on social media who may not be quite ready to buy, but he believes his social media footprint will pay off down the road.

Follow the money: "Zillow Gone Wild" creator Samir Mezrahi parlayed his popularity into a new HGTV show that cashes in on viewers' nosiness about other people's houses.

  • "When I'm bored on my phone, I like to look at houses everywhere. And I think other people do that, but there wasn't a space for people to talk about that," Mezrahi said at a South by Southwest panel last month.
  • He posts what he calls "the most interesting homes across America," from castles to brightly colored mansions.
Data: CrowdTangle; Chart: Axios Visuals

What he found: People "really love libraries, so if the home has a really nice library, that's an automatic post," Mezrahi said at SXSW.

The big picture: More agents are chasing social media clout. TikTok saw a 40% increase in posts tagged #RealEstate during the first two months of 2024 compared with the same period in 2023, Bloomberg reports.

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