Editor’s Note: The Disruptor Roundup analyzes companies implementing unconventional models and new and emerging tech platforms.
When it comes to determining priorities, REALTORS® have to keep up with the times. In the process, they may have found creative ways to engage their audiences with the type of content you see agents post on TikTok and other social platforms.
Now, the industry is getting a digital space to call its own—an app that helps agents promote their business and brand (and have a little fun while doing it).
Playhouse is an app that creates TikTok-like videos for real estate listings. It recently launched as the byproduct of continued interest in market-savvy tech that is both informational and entertaining.
The app marries the recreational habit of Zillow surfing and TikTok scrolling to create an entertaining, short-form, home-viewing experience. Unlike TikTok, which circulates the content you make among other creators of different niches, Playhouse is an app wholly dedicated to the homebuying process.
“Playhouse is reimagining the real estate discovery experience by combining the best of two worlds: traditional MLS data and social media,” explains Playhouse CEO and co-founder, Alex Perelman. “Unlike traditional MLS, we are focusing on discovery as opposed to search, but using the MLS data to power that experience. The discovery experience is much more like social media platforms like TikTok or IG Reels but tailored to real estate and connected to the underlying MLS data. This way consumers are able to engage with local real estate in a much more entertaining, engaging and educational way that is also very practical.”
Playhouse was formed by friends Alex Perelman and Nathan Shinder, who came from a successful real estate tech background with PeerStreet in Los Angeles. The idea was cultivated on the growing necessity for an agent-fueled product that would be not only innovative, but instrumental in the evolving practices of real estate professionals.
In April 2022, Square Footage, Inc. the company that owns the Playhouse app, announced that they received $2.8 million dollars in seed funding from a number of investors, including Agya Ventures, Gaingels, Goodwater Capital, Nomo Ventures, PKO Investments and Y Combinator, as well as several prominent content creators.
Square Footage Inc. draws upon consumer behaviors and the ease and entertainment of digital browsing to create an app that is simple, effective and even addicting.
How it works
On the app, agents can post vertically oriented videos of a listing, add music and audio, post photos corresponding to the video content, list all the property details and interact with prospective buyers.
Because the expediency of a sale is crucial to any agent’s process, Playhouse has a built-in feature where buyers can call or email the listing agent directly to set up an in-person viewing as quick as a click.
A creators profile page houses all the content they’ve made and categorizes them as “Active Listings” and “Videos”—so if you enjoy the face-forward, often-humorous content expressly popular with TikTok trends, you still have a platform to post about relatable issues (such as “red flags” in the industry).
Additional, interactive features include a Listing Price Game, where browsers can guess if the price shown is higher or lower than the property’s true listing price.
Like Zillow, buyers have the ability to filter options such as price range, number of bedrooms and bathrooms and geographic location. Like TikTok, browsers can make comments, favorite videos and even share content.
Ushering in a new era of buyers
What is very evident about emerging tech is that the ideas themselves aren’t influencing generations, rather, generations are influencing the product. Which is why, as Perelman shares, real estate agents are in a growing demand for a product that takes consumer behaviors into account.
“There is a broader evolution in consumer shopping behavior and product discovery, and real estate is no exception,” Perelman says. “Consumers today care much more about the people behind the products they’re buying and brands are recognizing that it’s no longer just about the classic A-list celebrities from a personality standpoint. What we’re seeing in real estate is that there are already many REALTORS® and teams out there today that are really forward thinking about their video marketing on social media and are creating content that is organic, fun and authentic and is a tremendous engine for building trust with potential clients.”
Unique from TikTok, this app gives agents more creative control of their content—knowing that the algorithm pinpoints buyers looking in your specific location rather than a disconnected stream of listings on your ‘For You’ page.
Whether you’re new to the social game or expanding your visibility across platforms, Playhouse can serve as a tool to gain traction, make your listings standout and single-yourself out from the competition.
This new app serves as an engaging tool for agents wanting to leverage the power of social media marketing in a way that’s sure to bring in clients from hot-pocket demographics like young millennials and even some Gen Zers entering the market fold.
“The objective of any marketing strategy is to bring more eyeballs to the ads,” says broker associate John Yen Wong of eXp Realty of the San Francisco Bay area. “Playhouse does this by adding kicky soundtracks to video real estate tours. The result is dancing through homes with K-pop moves or, from my generation, “Soul Train” grooves. This will assuredly attract a younger buyer crowd. Once the eyeballs are in, Playhouse could use more details on the homes than is currently provided on any other social platform.”
For now, Playhouse is only showing listings for the San Francisco Bay Area, however, additional metros will be added in the near future, the owners say. “We’re currently focused on optimizing the consumer experience in the SF Bay Area and we’re aiming to be in other major markets before the end of the year,” Perelman shares.
The Playhouse beta can be downloaded on your iPhone for free from the Apple App Store, and will be available soon for Android users. To learn more, click here.