TikTok for Real Estate Professionals: Personal Expression or Personal Touch?

A Practical Guide on How to Use TikTok in a Hyper-local Way to Find and Engage In-Market Clients.

At some point, your Gen Z friend or family member has probably passed you their phone, so you can laugh at whatever video of the moment has caught their attention. The app might even be on your own phone, nestled between Instagram and Twitter — even if you’re more of a lurker and scroller than a poster and creator.  In any case, TikTok has firmly cemented itself as part of our daily lives.  To many, the perception may linger that TikTok is primarily for personal expression and entertainment.  

What may be less obvious is how TikTok has crept into our daily habits on a practical level, maybe even to the level of necessity.  TikTok is not just for teens. 

Two-thirds of the platform is 20 and older.  And according to TechCrunch,  as many as 40% “turn to apps like Instagram and TikTok instead of Google Search or Maps for discovery purposes.”  What started as TikTokers learning where to eat, where to shop, where to go clubbing, and more, has evolved into the place people even turn to when they’re looking to buy a home. 

So what does this mean for agents helping clients buy and sell homes?  Sure, agents use other social media platforms to produce ads for listings and real estate content.  And TikTok offers incredible reach,  averaging about 1 billion monthly users.  Its developers describe it as “the leading destination for short-form mobile video.”  The question is, can TikTok be used in unique ways by actual agents for day-to-day business success, or is it simply the domain of real estate content creators and influencers?  

The answer is yes, in ways you might not expect.  

How to Intercept Clients: TikTok is the Ultimate First Engagement 

Ok, so with all the new search habits, broad reach, and unmatched engagement, how do you actually get in-market buyers to find you?  Think about how an in-market buyer who uses TikTok might begin their home search. 

Google research indicated younger users “don’t tend to type in keywords but rather look to discover content in new, more immersive ways.”  Consider this scenario: 

Jordan is moving to New York City for their work and needs to find a home.  Instead of going to Zillow or Realtor.com, their first instinct is to open up their TikTok app.  With a simple search, TikTok connects them directly to short-form videos from local realtors highlighting homes in neighborhoods they’ve heard about and are interested in searching.  They quickly get a sense of what’s available, and almost more importantly, the feel and vibe of each place.  Two videos on SOHO condos grab their attention, and they immediately send comments and DMs (Direct Messages) to the realtors who posted the videos.  The connection is made.  Jordan’s ready for the next step.  And the posting agents now have qualified leads, and they know what they like.  

To intercept this in-market buyer, you might begin by leveraging broad hashtags with significant searches and views:

#realestate — 16.4 billion views 

#realestateagent — 1.4 billion views

#realestateinvesting — 2.0 billion views

#homeforsale — 70.5 million views 

Then, you may want to position your properties alongside the many features that draw people to a specific location and the lifestyle they’re trying to build.  Along with the home type, select hashtags and keywords specific to the area (for example, ‘art district’).  By including plenty of references to the town or neighborhood, you will come up in search results and recommendations that tie your listings to the amenities and attractions of the region.   

 How to Convert Clients:  TikTok as the Ultimate Content

If a user has found your page and videos — what’s next?   Once you’ve got the potential client on the hook, you can exploit the special qualities of the TikTok experience to keep them interested.  

This platform is considered the most engaging social media platform due to the time people spend on it.  The average TikTok session lasts around 10.82 minutes, more than double the average engagement on any other platform.   When TikTok was in its infancy, videos were limited to 15 seconds. The maximum video length has expanded to three minutes, which explodes the creative opportunity for marketing a home. 

Here’s where you flex your local insight muscle by adding things that make the neighborhood special, the “insider’s” view likely absent in an MLS description or on a home search site.  And do it in an engaging, memorable, and highly personalized way.  This is how you not only catch the attention of local in-market clients but also pre-qualify those locally in-market for your properties specifically, where you want to focus your attention.  

The key to successful short-form video content is that it is highly relevant to users and answers their questions.  But it will be sticky and stand out if it’s location-savvy and not generic.  People are interested in understanding the local market and familiarizing themselves with a particular area.  For example:   

Guided tours of the property

Guided Neighborhood tours (amenities, parks, beaches, etc.)

“Live” outings at restaurants, sights, or popular gathering spots

Showcases of special qualities to look for (notable architects or materials for instance)

Walk-throughs of prepping a house

Dos and don’ts of the process

Videos like these help future clientele imagine what it’s like to live in a particular space — or get excited about buying, relocating, or investing.

TikTok’s in-app video editing tool, ready-to-use audio library, and features like ‘duet’ and ‘stitch’ make it easy to present homes in a creative and convenient way. The length of the video is entirely up to you. You might opt for a short-form teaser to quickly plug a new listing or record a more detailed, in-depth tour up to three minutes in length.  Make sure you consider the purpose of the video and then create and edit it accordingly.

How to Show off Your Abilities:  Demonstrate Your Commitment

TikTok users favor authenticity over insanely-curated content.  Personal touch is the ultimate value-add.

TikTok videos are a place to showcase your personality, charm, knowledge, and expertise. You’ll begin building rapport with potential homebuyers before you even meet them. Then, when you greet them in person to show them a home, you’ve already established a level of professional respect and trust.

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How to Build your Agency Brand: Go Social and Local

It’s common knowledge that millennials have become the biggest and most influential market as home buyers and sellers.  The real unanswered question for many is what does this mean for building business, relationships, and the thing driving both – the agent brand?

Millennials exhibit new technology behaviors that impact the home search and buying process. So not only do agents need to meet the Millennial market where they are, they also need to be prepared to build their brand and relationships with their millennial clients online, using new technology and social tools at their disposal.  The challenge is understanding how to use these tools effectively.  

The Millennial Affinity for Technology Cannot Be Ignored

According to the American Community and American Housing surveys, 66 million millennials in the U.S. currently represent 37% of the total national home buying market, making this generation the most significant home-buying demographic. 

Digital processes are taking over the real estate market, especially within this population segment.  The National Association of Realtors (NAR) cites that 99% of millennials search online to get general-purpose information about the housing market and home buying.  Over half of millennials (59%) said they would be at least somewhat confident making an offer on a home they toured virtually. Additionally, 39% reported they would be comfortable buying a home online. 

Why is this important? Quite simply, millennials approach homebuying differently than the baby boomer generation. Their preference for technology and a virtual experience redirects how they choose and interact with real estate agents.  Knowing this, as an agent, begs the question:  What can agents do to get the attention of the millennial market, keep it, and build their brand in a space where it will be seen?

Lead Generation Today Is Failing Agents (and their clients)

The lead generation methods of today are outdated. From finding leads, engaging in that initial fact-finding conversations, keeping those leads, and finally converting them, many agents rely on large lead generation companies such as Zillow and Redfin. These large lead generation companies offer buyers and sellers a standardized way to shop for every available house in the market. While technology has opened the gates for lead generation quantity, quality has suffered.  The perceived value of agent service and differentiation has suffered as well.  For instance,  since clients don’t need to register as a buyer, agents can never be sure where they are in the buying process, what features of their home list appeal the most to them, and what they can live without. In addition, as these potential buyers enter their home search parameters, they are given a very general list of potential houses in the area and agent references. This results in increased lead numbers being sent out to local agents but lacking engagement and conversion.  A typical conversion rate for Zillow and Redfin leads hovers around 4%. 

Lead Generation Tomorrow 

The key to staying relevant today and in the near future is through innovative technology and building a brand voice across social media platforms. As Millennials and even Generation Z age, their expectations for their home buying experience differ significantly from past generations. Their use of tech is reshaping the real estate industry, and staying relevant on the digital scene is mandatory.  Unfortunately, these new technologies are underutilized by most agents simply due to a lack of awareness or understanding of how they can apply them to their fullest.  

How can you use technology to ensure that millennials in your area work with you? Through: 

Building know, like, and trust factors via social channels, 

Creating a digital footprint in your local community, and

Personalized home search tools and targeting tools.

Social media can be daunting, and while many agents have profiles set up on various platforms, simply posting lead-gen ads with listing images isn’t going to cut it any longer. Think of social media as building your local network, or even your local community, on a digital platform. Your social profile should be an active area where you consistently post different forms of content to become a trusted authority in your local area and build on your know, like, and trust factor. How can you do this? Think of your social channels as a way to educate, inspire, inform and communicate with current and prospective clients. Your social platforms are also a way to build and hone your brand image, as often, this will be your market’s initial impression of your business.  

Our top tips for building know, like and trust within the social space are below:

Pick 1, 2, or 3 platforms to focus on. Contrary to popular belief, agents don’t need to be on every platform. Concentrating on just a few platforms allows you to keep your posting consistent and meaningful.

Create a content plan and calendar to maintain a consistent posting schedule that creates value for your followers. You can create categories such as:

Current Listings and Just Sold Homes

Market reports in your local area

Restaurant reviews (tagging the restaurant to increase your reach)

Local Business Shout-outs (tagging the local business to increase your reach)

Local happenings or events

Blogs that you create 

Informative posts such as:

What to expect as a first-time homebuyer

Top questions to ask your prospective agent

What does a buyer’s/seller’s market mean

Top tips to get your home ready to list

ROI on home renovations

The key is to post valuable content consistently while directing your followers to call, email, or contact you for questions or a consultation. 

Become a trusted voice in your community, offering a fair opinion on local restaurants, events, businesses, new neighborhoods, services, etc. 

Real estate marketing has not caught up with opportunities created by AI technology, especially in home search and targeting.   Innovative home search products will keep agents top of mind with the millennial market, personalize the home buying experience for buyers and sellers, and enable agents to create and develop a digital relationship with prospective clients.  AI can track behaviors and prioritize their search by design, home features, and even room preferences in the local markets they are searching.  Agents can personalize their communications using the tips mentioned above.  Even more sophisticated automated intelligence can combine local search parameters with clients’ behaviors and interests for social media targeting that drives more effective ad campaigns.

Purlin is a pioneer in this area

These search and targeting tools elevate the client experience, enhancing know,  like, and trust factors.  They also spread the social footprint, as engaged clients share boards of their favorite homes, features, and rooms while shopping and recommend agents when a great home match is made. 

The Return to Micro and Personal

Real estate is undergoing a massive transformation, and agents feel an urgency to be at the forefront of this change.  The reality and irony is that the most effective use of new technology means returning to old-fashioned values of getting to know clients personally and building brands in local markets by leveraging existing local resources.  Social media is simply a delivery mechanism.  Applying a local social media approach will go a long way to satisfying the needs and expectations of the in-market Millennials.  It also provides a direct connection from tech tools to the human touch that has been waning in the real estate industry.  

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Is a Real Estate NFT That Easy to Make? Or an Easy Way to Make Money?

Can the final moment of closing a home using an NFT and crypto-currency be described as instantaneous, the click of a button, or another wallet transaction?

On the one hand, using NFTs for buying and selling real estate can simplify the process and accelerate the closing of the transaction. The NFT’s smart code and digital document storage offer the same benefits as any software platform that consolidates data and integrates disparate workflows. On the other, the magical properties of NFTs do not make the time and work getting ready for this speedy closing disappear. And making the transaction happen legally requires a creative workaround.

However, once the real estate NFT is minted, the economics might get interesting.

You Can’t Avoid The City (or Due Diligence)

The NFT’s smart code can be used to centralize, organize, and store all the important documents, which can simplify the otherwise messy process. However, hoops still need to be gone through. Due diligence
hoops that involve humans and can still take days if not weeks. Appraisals, title reports, and title searches to name a few. At the local level, many states uniformly require documents to be notarized and witnessed. Most require an attorney preparing a recorded document be named on that document. Several states require that the real estate tax parcel number be on the deed.

A legal workaround was developed by Propy to allow the closing of the transaction to happen at crypto speed. It goes like this: George owns a 10-bedroom home in Key West. He actively invests in crypto currency and wants to use it when selling his home. To do this he transfers his ownership of the property to an LLC (after completing the above-mentioned requirements). The LLC in turn owns the NFT. The NFT is entered into an auction. Buyers are invited to check out the property and legal documentation prior to the auction. When the auction winner is determined, and the winner’s identity verified, the ownership of the LLC is transferred. George receives the crypto payment in his digital wallet. Simple.

Day Trading Homes is Ludicrous But Liquidity is King

Buyers can’t flip real estate NFTs like digital pop art or Pulp Fiction script images. Propy’s workaround still entails real-world homework but digitizing the process can shave off days. Greater speed of sale
means greater liquidity. Real estate NFTs may have a broader market reach, which would also increase liquidity. Liquidity has value.

In the context of buying and selling of homes, this liquidity may yield short-term opportunities to make or save money. For example, a city or area experiences or anticipates a spike in home valuations due to
gentrification or new jobs. Maybe an architectural style becomes hot. Or an owner is transferred to a new city for work and needs to sell quickly. Or a celebrity moves into the neighborhood.

Blockchain, cryptocurrency and NFTs are stretching the fintech world’s business and legal boundaries. The real estate NFT will likely not become a high-flying, high-return asset class. But oddly enough, as
long as this new crypto world stays viable, the real estate NFT may instead become a rational, reasonable hedge.

Are NFTs good for Real Estate?

NFTs have entered the real estate market.  And the Real Estate Tech and Fin Tech conversations.  For most, it’s even unclear what NFTs are, or how they are created, let alone what their impact on the real estate industry might be.  Are NFTs to become the standard mechanism for buying and selling property, and should agents worry?  

What most people know of NFTs are spectacularized examples of digital collectibles trading for outlandish prices with increasing frequency and popularity (especially when involving celebrities).  A Japanese rainbow-powered, pop-tart kitty (the Nyan Cat) selling for nearly $600,000.  Ten thousand iterations of an apathetic monkey (called Bored Ape), selling for as much as $2.85M.  The sector is hot and moving faster than EVs.  According to BNP Paribas, in 2021 the total value of all NFT transactions worldwide jumped 21,350% to more than $17 billion, from “only” $82.5 million in 2020.

The du jour trend of digital “art” traded on a digital exchange sort of makes sense.  But trading a physical thing, and in this case the most important physical asset that consumers might ever purchase, doesn’t compute.  Spectacular cognitive dissonance.


A year ago, TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington sold his apartment in Kiev, Ukraine using an NFT for 93 Ether (ETH), or roughly $93,000.  This year, a five-bedroom, three-and-half-bath home located near Tampa Florida home, was purchased for  ETH worth approximately $650,000.  So far, NFTs have been used to purchase and lease everything from apartments and mansions to office buildings and hotels.

Let’s step back and walk it through.  NFTs are Non-Fungible Tokens, a new type of digital asset that is minted, and stored, on a blockchain.  What is a blockchain?  In simple terms, a blockchain is a digital ledger.  When you “mint” an NFT, you are buying a piece of code that lives on the blockchain (specifically the Ethereum Blockchain).  This code can be anything you want, but it must be unique.  You are essentially creating a new smart contract on the Ethereum network that defines the NFT.  This smart contract can be used for digital collectibles, gaming tokens, or the ownership rights for real estate.


Besides being trendy, buying and selling real estate as an NFT seems a safe and efficient way to transfer ownership of property.  Once an NFT is minted, the code is immutable and cannot be altered. The transaction is verified by computers around the world called “miners.”  This makes NFTs tamper-proof and secure, preventing real estate fraud or theft. The smart contracts that power NFTs can automate many of the tasks traditionally performed by the intermediaries of a real estate purchases, reducing time and cost. The NFT can include all relevant documents, such as the title deed, which can be verified and transferred with a single click.  The real estate NFT can record and track the entire history of the property, from ownership to mortgage payments.  NFTs are divisible into smaller units, making them especially useful with real estate asset nuances, like fractional ownership and rentals.


In this discussion, the NFT is not a bad or disruptive thing, it’s just a transactional tool.  Its impact on the agency and brokerage ultimately depends on how it’s used.  NFT is one, dependent variable in the overall equation.

Because the underlying asset of being exchanged is still a house (or condo, or building), there is some fine print that cannot be ignored.  Even with all the relevant documentation stored securely on the blockchain, and the crypto payment for the deed is confirmed, the transfer of property is still not complete and cannot be completed with the click of a button.  The sale of real estate as an NFT is not officially real, in the real world, unless it’s recorded with the municipality.  This is a showstopper without a creative workaround.  A cliffhanger resolved in the next, Are NFTs Good for Real Estate, blog.  Stay tuned… 

Girl Power: Purlin Data Science Expert Featured at Stanford’s 2021 WiDS Worldwide Conference

Global voice

Purlin data science tech star Hasmik Galstyan was featured as a Guest Speaker for the 2021 Women in Data Science (WiDS) Worldwide Conference.  The global initiative spanned 60+ countries, 150+ regional events, and included over 100,000 data science participants. Stanford University began hosting this event five years ago to inspire and educate data scientists worldwide, regardless of gender, and to support women in the field.  Purlin has shared this goal from inception, purveying the best possible global team without bias, while actively recruiting and developing top female talent.

AI with purpose

Hasmik’s presentation for the WiDS Worldwide Conference is part of the “Empowering Females through Capacity Building to promote technology in non-technology sectors” program, implemented by IFC (World Bank Group) and UK Government’s Good Governance Fund.  The project aims to assist in the development of an advanced understanding of the link between data science and politics, industry, government, engineering, etc., and to promote the role of female scientists in data science and their engagement in society.  Topics presented covered a wide range of domains from data ethics and privacy, healthcare, data visualization and more.

Hasmik is a key member of the Purlin technology team, responsible for creating the most advanced intelligent personalization software platform in real estate tech.  It deploys a unique combination of computer vision, image processing, natural language processing, machine learning, behavioral modeling, and AI to unlock value for brokers, agents and lenders through an intelligently personalized, premium experience.  She comes from Labz.AI, a leader in data-driven solutions powered by strong mathematical research, with a mission of bringing the benefits of AI to various industries and impacting millions of human lives.  The core and distinguishing tenet that rules all of Purlin’s development is the belief that AI must solve human problem with human solutions.  

Sponsorship worldwide

WiDS Corporate sponsors include Facebook, Intuit, Walmart Global Tech, Wells Fargo, IBM, General Motors, Google, MatchWorks, Microsoft, Total and SAP.  Stanford sponsors include Stanford Data Science, Stanford Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering (ICME) and Mobilize Center for Data Integration to Insight.

How AI combined with CRM accelerates lead conversion while building brand (through intelligent personalization)

Wise Agent and Purlin, leaders in real estate CRM and real estate AI, respectively, have found a way to change the lead generation conversation. From more leads, to better leads.  From higher conversion, to easier conversion.  From automation, to intelligent personalization. With the right combination CRM expertise and AI tools, agents can deepen their relationships with the clients from before they are leads to well after the transaction.  All of this with a lot less work.  The result is happier clients and better business.   

Connect early & personally 

With Purlin’s StyleExplorerTM agents can start creating a premium experience for potential clients even before they start comparing listings.  It also enables agents to connect, and self-promote, easily through Facebook and other social media platforms.

With a co-branded digital experience from Purlin, clients are immediately greeted by branded chat that will guide their search.  Purlin’s intelligent chat can help with the rest of the process (e.g., financing, neighborhood, etc.) through a mobile app.

Through a co-branded digital experience from Purlin, agents can offer buyers and sellers an incomparable visual exploration of homes on the market by style, feature and room.  Their clients can “peek” into neighbors’ homes and look inside the valuations of neighborhood comps, akin to doing their own virtual CMAs.  StyleExplorerTM learns as clients go, and uses intelligent personalization to continually make searches better based on search behaviors.  They feel empowered and looked after. The agent is the hero, and the whole experience is branded with the agent’s mark and smile. 

Evanston, IL agent Url can easily promote his or her local expertise  by posting intelligently personalized boards or listings, and use info gathered to help target audiences compliantly.

Engage socially

The intelligent personalization of StyleExplorerTM can be easily unleashed and amplified on social media.  Facebook and other social media sharing is embedded in the process, requiring no other applications or extra manual entry (see images below).  Agents can demonstrate their expertise and experience in a market by creating and posting boards based on styles, and even specific rooms, in specific neighborhoods.  Or they can post individual listings, beautifully packaged with complete details and links to take the transaction forward.  The new behavior and interest data collected through the experience improves the agent’s ability to create and powerfully target audiences compliantly.  

Nurture precisely

Wise Agent and Purlin work in harmony to help agents build relationships with their leads and clients. With Wise Agent’s management system, when a new potential client comes in from Purlin, agents can automatically add them to specific categories and drip campaigns based on their interactions within Purlin. 

Ultimately all of the details from lead interactions on Purlin will be included in their contact profile in Wise Agent. That way, everything an agent needs to know will be accessible in one place.  Centralization of client information allows agents to stay in touch with leads to build stronger relationships and convert them to paying customers. 

Wise Agent combined with Purlin adds more value to CRM by delivering more insight into who leads are and what they want, so agents can begin building stronger relationships.  

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