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.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Twin Cities.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Twin Cities stories

Twin Citiespostcard

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


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more