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Is TikTok real estate the secret to finding an apartment in this market?

As of March 2022, Ashley Kim, a virtual reality product designer, was living in Providence, Rhode Island while completing her joint master’s degree in design engineering at the Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University. “I’m a big planner, so I was starting to put things in motion for my post-college life, and moving to New York was always my goal,” she recalls. Knowing how competitive real estate can be in the city, she began reaching out to friends who could offer tips and strategies for finding apartments in one of the country’s busiest and fastest-moving markets. .

Around the same time, Casey Han was going through a housing change herself: her best friend and roommate was planning to move from her Brooklyn apartment to San Francisco, and Casey needed someone to fill the room ASAP. . While she knew a few mutual friends who might be interested in the space, she decided to list the apartment online, but instead of posting to StreetEasy, or Facebook Marketplace, she made a TikTok video.

Call it luck, fate, or just a very advanced algorithm, but the video quickly made its way to Ashley’s stream and the two creators connected. After a brief chat on Instagram DM, they set up a FaceTime call and quickly decided to live together. “I think what gave me a certain kind of confidence was that we were the same age, that we shared South Korean roots, that we clearly enjoyed the art of cooking and the life holistic and that we like to be creative through content creation,” says Ashley. Casey shared similar feelings and both agree that living together has been near perfect.

Although it may not seem like it, stories like this are not that unusual. As Gen Z’s unofficial search engine of choice, TikTok has become a valuable tool for anything one might have typed into Google, including finding an apartment. The hashtags #nycrentals, #brooklynrentals and #nycrealestate were viewed 42.5 million, 1.5 million and 376.1 million times respectively. Although notably a more general hashtag, #nycapartment has racked up 2.1 billion views worldwide. Similar hashtags can be found for other cities as well as real estate agents, renters and people like Casey and Ashley flock to the app as a one-stop resource for finding accommodation.

Much like the app itself, 2020 has changed the course of TikTok real estate. “When the pandemic started, we didn’t know what our responsibilities were as agents and what we were allowed to do,” says Madison Sutton, realtor at Serhant. On her TikTok page, Madison posts lifestyle and real estate videos under the username @thenycagent for her audience of more than 100,000 followers. During the height of the pandemic, sharing video tours of available units became one of the safest ways to transact real estate, according to Madison. “It’s been an interesting thing to watch the industry adapt; when I started doing it, everyone thought it was a bit ridiculous. Clearly, that’s not the case: Over the past 18 months, Madison estimates that she’s closed about 150 rental deals through TikTok alone, adding that she hasn’t posted those units on StreetEasy or any other site. other platforms. This isn’t just a plus for Madison; 150 tenants also found their accommodation on the app.

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