It’s not uncommon for real estate agent Cassidy Hiepler to walk her 65,000 TikTok followers through a newly built home she’s trying to sell. For example, in April, she showed off the marble countertops, green kitchen cabinets and hilltop views featured in a $5 million Ventura County home.
Hiepler is part of the new world of real estate TikTok influencers who use the app to showcase some of the most lavish homes in Los Angeles. She first began posting real estate on her TikTok account in December of last year while she was a realtor with The Oppenheim Group, the real estate brokerage at the center of the Netflix show “Selling Sunset.” Those videos have since gained thousands of views, and today, Hiepler’s content includes everything from real estate advice, her current listings and personal content.
Hiepler says TikTok has given her the ability to reach more people than traditional real estate marketing techniques.
“To be able to post on TikTok and have thousands of people see your video is so much more effective than sending out a mailer, spending $500 on a postcard and hoping some people don't throw it in the trash—even though like we know they all do,” Hiepler says.
Hiepler typically shows off houses with a particular “wow factor”—details that might set one property apart from the others—to entice her viewers. The irony of course is that much of her audience on TikTok is unlikely to own a home anytime soon. Only 13% of Gen Z believe they will be able to buy a house within the next decade.
Still, real estate agent Josh Altman, who has over 141,000 followers on TikTok, says people who view marketing multi-million dollar houses on the app as a pointless endeavor don’t understand the financial power the app’s biggest players possess.
“Everybody feels that until someone buys a $5 million house from you, and when you ask them what they do, they tell you they're an influencer on Tik Tok,” Altman says. “Very quickly, you realize that people are making some serious money on this.”
Having realized that social media is where many of the next generation’s millionaires may come from, Altman’s company has invested in a production company complete with video editors and cameramen to film property walk-throughs and motivational content.
To Altman’s credit, a number of influencers have invested their social media earnings into real estate. Internet personalities Addison Rae, Emma Chamberlain and the D’Amelio sisters have used their videos—alongside endeavors ranging from film appearances to VC firms—to financeextravagantmansions.
TikTok’s creator ecosystem is also supported by collaborative houses, which feature different creators living together and creating content with one another. The Hype House, a Moorpark mansion that helped launch the D’Amelios into fame, cost $5 million, while the Sway House is valued at just over $10 million. Real estate agent Shelton Wilder says her 2,772 followers are interested in seeing how far their money could go in Los Angeles, a city that has become synonymous with some of the most expensive real estate in the world.
“I think people are interested in anything in Los Angeles because what's a million dollars here would cost so much less somewhere else,” Wilder says.
More importantly, Wilder says that a number of her clients have found her on TikTok before they even find her website.
Which is why TikTok is part of many real estate influencers’ long game. Hiepler says she uses TikTok to cultivate a following, so that once her followers are ready to buy a home, they turn to her for advice. And in the meantime, she wants people to see her videos and think “I can't wait until I live in a house like that.”
Photo by Fredrick Tendong on Unsplash