Apr 13, 2024 - Real Estate

Chicago real estate agent says a quarter of deals start with TikTok

Illustration of a real estate for sale sign with a fire emoji on it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

TikTok is how Chicago real estate agent Kati Catalogna lands a quarter of her deals.

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

What they're saying: Today's home shoppers have "vetted you based on your personality and what you're putting online, before they even reach out," Catalogna tells Axios.

  • "People are going to your page, watching your videos [to see] if you're knowledgeable and can provide them the service they want," says Catalogna, whose posts often top tens of thousands of views.

State of play: Catalogna and some other real estate professionals say punchy social media videos particularly click with younger, first-time home buyers.

  • 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.

Between the lines: Finding leads is top of mind for many agents. Home sales fizzled last year, and a big settlement could curtail the commissions real estate professionals get paid.

Data: CrowdTangle; Chart: Axios Visuals

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.

  • He posts what he calls "the most interesting homes across America," from castles to brightly colored mansions.
  • "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.

The big picture: Mezrahi posts what he calls "the most interesting homes across America," from castles to brightly colored mansions.

  • "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.

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

The latest: A startup cofounded by "Million Dollar Listing" star Josh Flagg aims to build a "media empire" with shows and podcasts starring real estate influencers like Mezrahi, Axios Pro's Kerry Flynn reports.

avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Chicago.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Chicago stories

No stories could be found

Chicagopostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Chicago.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more