How Real Estate Agents Are Using Snapchat To Change The Apartment Hunting Game

Snaplistings uses Snapchat to bring apartment listings to life—and it’s taking the market by storm.

By Annette Barlow January 17, 2017

Apartment-hunting in the city can be a drag. One minute your dream listing goes live, and the next it’s been snapped up, before you can even key in the agent’s number to register your interest. You can be a slave to your internet, registered with every agent in a five-mile radius—and still miss out on the killer deals. In the end, you’ll likely move into a minuscule hovel for the bargain price of a million dollars a month. Meanwhile, your friend—who has only been housing-hunting for a week—nabs a designer penthouse on their first outing, with the first month’s rent thrown into the deal for free. Of course.

It’s a scenario New Yorkers Dolly Meckler and Michael Hoffman, the founders of Snapchat account Snaplistings, are all too familiar with. “We both have friends who lost apartments in minutes just because their applications came in two minutes after somebody else’s,” says Meckler. So how can potential city-dwelling house-hunters beat the system?

Related: Five Reasons Why House Hunting In December Might Be A Great Idea

Well, inspiration struck the duo during one particular jealousy-inducing visit to a friend’s swanky new apartment. So impressed (and green-eyed) with the pad, Meckler decided to film a tour of the place and broadcast it to her Snapchat followers. After receiving a storm of direct messages from people demanding to know who the broker was and how they could rent similar properties, the pair saw the potential of the platform and decided to set up the Snaplistings account.

Originally featuring four agents, Snaplistings hosts short videos and live streams where each agent show the account’s followers around a particular property. Followers can then send direct messages directly to the agent about a specific unit or detailing their particular home search criteria.

“The beauty of Snaplistings is that you can DM agents in real time saying ‘I want to come and see this place. Where are you? I will come and meet you’,” says Meckler. And that is indeed what’s happening. Not only is the account functioning as real-time house-porn for voyeuristic viewers, but is also generating a great deal of interest in the highlighted properties.

Related: Top Five Apartments For Rent That Just Hit The Market In Jackson Heights

One of the agents regularly featured on the account, Adam Werner, is a die-hard advocate. “I’m on the account every Monday, and I’ve never missed a Monday since I started.” And this commitment to serving up ravenous social media home-seekers live listings has served Werner well. At the time of this comment, he had nine rental leads as a result of just the Snaplistings account. A huge number for this kind of marketing tool.

And it’s the rental market that Snaplistings seems to be catering to the best. Snapchat’s audience is relatively young, so most properties being snapped up are the cheaper rentals. However, properties fetching up to $60 million have been advertised through the account, too. And it’s not just NYC that Meckler and Hoffman plan to service. 2017 will see the pair rolling out accounts across the USA, and eventually hope to take the account global.

The in-the-moment ability to speak to agents while they’re still in the building is a massive boon. But the real strength of Snaplistings are the characters and personalities of the agents themselves. If you normally find house-hunting an intimidating affair, this is the site for you. Emojis and handwritten scribblings float around the screen while agents do their thing, like excitable children laying their hands on a smartphone for the first time. Which sounds annoying, but is, in fact, remarkably endearing. As is the guy who, to the tune of R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly,” launches himself skyward off a kitchen counter to prove how high one apartment’s ceilings are. Or agents Jonathan and Isaac who deserve their own TV show. Want to know the height of a ceiling? Agent totem pole!

Annette Barlow



Annette is freelance editor, sub-editor, journalist and proofreader with a fierce love of all things feminist, food and music. She is a regular fixture on the arts, culture and feature desks at The Guardian, and her words have appeared on NME, Great British Chefs, The Fly, The Line of Best Fit and Australian Times.
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