Apr 13, 2024 - Real Estate

What happens when a Twin Cities home listing goes viral

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

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Going viral can help sell an eccentric home, but brace for snark, says Twin Cities real estate agent Alec Roth.

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

What they're saying: Commenters scoffed at the stonework and location of a $1.6 million Minneapolis home Roth shared with an Instagram account last fall that features historic homes.

  • "You have to have a really open-minded client," Roth, with Edina Realty, tells Axios.
  • "People are tough, and those from other states don't realize what you spend there is not the same as in Minnesota."

Reality check: The house ended up selling for slightly under the asking price. Roth says quirkier homes seem to get the biggest boosts from social media.

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," he said at a South by Southwest panel.
Data: CrowdTangle; Chart: Axios Visuals

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

Between the lines: A manicured Excelsior mansion caught Zillow Gone Wild's attention last fall, and it's still on the market for nearly $9 million, according to the listing.

The big picture: More agents are catering to those who scroll listings on their phones by capturing vertical videos of a home, Roth says.

  • 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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