Have you checked your TikTok screen time lately?
If you’re anything like us, it’s through the roof. Christmas shopping, recipes, searching for the perfect brunch spot to meet your in-laws.
But what about searching for your next home? A new apartment?
Recent research suggests young people are turning to TikTok more frequently for restaurant, travel and product recommendations – and the real estate market is no exception. Here are four ways TikTok is shaking up the real estate and rental markets in Nashville.
Gavren Dochterman (@gavrenn) has only been making TikToks for eight months, but his viewers already turn to him for luxury real estate sneak peeks around town.
One recent video of a penthouse apartment in the newly opened 1200 Broadway racked up more than 220,000 views and over 10,000 likes. Dochterman revealed the five-figure rent of the three-bed-three-bath at the end of the 55-second video, prompting viewers to take a guess while admiring the stunning amenities showcased in the pocket-sized tour.
Continue scrolling through Dochterman’s feed and you will find short clips of celebrity Nashville homes, luxury real estate tours and historic highlights. The real estate agent and content creator has amassed a following of almost 18,000 on the short-form video platform.
“My TikTok content has helped my real estate career,” Dochterman told The Tennessean. “It has formed new connections with people who I never would have come across otherwise. I can go outside and shake a hundred hands in a day, or I can make a video, and it will reach a quarter of a million people.”
Dochterman has begun mentoring other real estate agents who want to take their business to social media.
“If you have a listing and you are just promoting your listing and not promoting yourself along with it, you’re not helping yourself,” Dochterman said. “I think it’s important for people to be in front of the camera.”
Sarah Lynn (@sarahlynnrain) knew she wanted to move to Nashville the first time she visited. But she went about her apartment search a little differently from the average person.
Lynn made a TikTok video for every apartment she toured — 12 floor plans, 10 buildings, four neighborhoods. She shared every detail of her process, including price, pros and cons, videos and pictures.
“I thought, ‘I’m going to take a video of every single one to keep it straight in my head,'” Lynn said. “I had looked up these apartment buildings on TikTok, and they weren’t on there. Looking at a video is better than looking at a picture of a floor plan, so I thought it would be cool if more people did this to help each other out.”
As it turns out, Lynn’s viral apartment search helped other people making the move to Nashville. One viewer picked the same building as Lynn after watching her videos, and the two are now friends.
The trend speaks to an emerging way users are sharing and finding information on the social media platform. A Google-commissioned study of U.S. users ages 18-24 found that nearly 40% use TikTok or Instagram to search online, meaning younger users are turning toward social media to search for lifestyle content and product recommendations.
“I will use TikTok to find a good brunch spot in Nashville,” Lynn said.
She said people have continued to interact with her apartment–focused content months after she documented her search. She makes a monthly commission from home décor products she shares on her page. What started as a personal video journal became a way to make extra money and connect with people in her new home.
A National Association of Realtors survey showed 12% of Realtors reported using TikTok as part of their real estate business. That’s a good bit less than the 89% who use Facebook, 59% on Instagram and 53% on LinkedIn, according to the survey.
Respondents indicated that the main reason they use social media to begin with was to promote listings and to build and maintain relationships with existing clients.
But the Realtors exploring TikTok are finding different benefits to using it.
Summer Edeen with RE/MAX Advantage in Nashville (@HelloSummerEdeen) said she uses TikTok as a way to gain exposure to clients and agents that are local or out-of-state.
“I like to mix both real estate and personality videos as a way for people to get to know me,” she said. “I do daily vlogs such as a ‘Day in My Life as a Nashville Realtor’ or house-tour video walkthroughs. People love Nashville already, and I feel like I get to take them inside the world of real estate through my videos. I’ve gotten clients and referrals from the use of TikTok, and most importantly, I have fun with it. I genuinely love showing people what it’s like being a Realtor in Nashville.”
Meredith Tolleson is the social media director for homebuilder Signature Homes (@signaturehomescommunity). She said she began toying with TikTok last year but didn’t start consistently posting until this year.
“We have had some good campaigns locally that have done well and hit the algorithms in the right spot,” she said. Signature is focusing on becoming an expert voice in the homebuilding field on TikTok.
“It’s not a huge part of our social strategy right now just because of bandwidth, but it’s something. We have had some videos go viral, so it’s fun to play around with.”
Tolleson is starting a new “Ask an agent” series on TikTok that looks to provide insight into what’s happening in the real estate market.
“We are starting podcast-style interviews with agents,” she said. “I think people are curious. We’ve seen some home design tips do well. We had one that blew up about measuring for counter-height stools instead of barstools. People tend to think that’s too simple and easy to post, but those are the things that end up going viral. Things like people talking about paint colors do really well.”
As for the future of TikTok marketing, Tolleson says she thinks it’s going to become a staple.
“From what I’ve researched, in terms of how the algorithm works, comparing Instagram and TikTok, it’s so much easier to reach a wider audience of people who don’t know about you on TikTok, whereas Instagram is more people who follow you.”
Melonee Hurt and Molly Davis cover growth and development at The Tennessean, part of the USA Today Network — Tennessee. Reach Melonee at email@example.com. Reach Molly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you checked your TikTok screen time lately?