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Opinion

How Influencer Culture is Impacting the Real Estate Industry in Powerful Ways

Buying a home is one of the most important decisions anyone will make. After all, not only is their home probably the largest debt their family will ever incur, it’s also often the family’s greatest source of wealth.

However, as any home buyer knows, a house isn’t just a financial investment. Above all else, a home is an emotional investment. Your clients are choosing where they want to live their lives, make their memories, and raise their families. In other words, home truly is where their heart is.

That’s why, now more than ever, traditional approaches to marketing real estate simply may not hold water for your clients today. Contemporary homebuyers aren’t only considering property values and real estate comps. That means that when they’re house hunting, they’re not just looking to purchase some artfully arranged amalgam of bricks and mortar, wood and cement. Rather, they’re looking to invest in a lifestyle. 

Because of this, a large and growing number of homebuyers are turning not to traditional real estate agents to find their dream home. Instead, they’re referring to their favourite social media influencers.

An insider’s perspective

Buying a home isn’t like picking up a cute sweater that happened to be on display in a store window. A home isn’t something one can simply return if it turns out the choice doesn’t suit them.

That means that there’s always a certain level of risk involved in buying a house. All the photos and videos in the world, for example, are probably not going to be enough to give your clients a true representation of what living in a neighbourhood is like.

That’s where the real estate influencer comes in. Unlike a traditional real estate agent, whose primary motive and mission are to market the property, an influencer’s goal is typically to give their audience a feel for the location from a true insider’s perspective. 

This hyper-local approach to real estate marketing is an innovative and powerful way to sell real estate not as a tangible asset but as an experience. The hyper-local influencer knows the community, how to articulate it, and how to market it. They understand the nuances of life in a neighbourhood, those small touches that transform a house into a home. 

They know, for example, where the most popular dog parks in the neighbourhood are. They know which neighbourhood gyms are open late. They know where residents can get the best pastrami on rye without having to drive across town for it.

The rise of the niche influencer

Influencer culture isn’t just changing real estate marketing by capitalising on the insider’s perspective. Influencers are also ideal for niche marketing, capturing those specialised audiences who are far too often overlooked in traditional marketing campaigns.

For example, studies have shown that, in the wake of the pandemic, the cultivation of indoor plants has become wildly popular among Millennials and Generation Z, who often consider themselves “plant parents” to a house full of beloved “plant babies.”

This trend is precisely the kind that successful niche influencers can leverage to market real estate in ways that are more innovative and engaging than standard approaches. For instance, influencers specialising in home design may highlight the use of houseplants to liven up the interior spaces of a property currently on the market. 

Such a targeted approach, aiming toward the niche of young plant parents, does more than a mere real estate listing and photos could ever do. Specifically, it resonates on a deeply emotional level, appealing to prospective buyers by speaking to their interests and their habits. 

The niche influencer helps their target audience envision themselves practising their hobby under that roof, in the very property they’re considering purchasing. In doing so, the home already is theirs before the contract is ever signed.

Reputation, perception, and visibility

There’s no question that social media has had a profound impact on our daily lives. It informs the ways we learn, the ways we seek our entertainment, and even the ways we build and maintain relationships,

Social media has also had a significant impact on the ways consumers, including home-buyers, spend their money. Indeed, studies show that high-earning millennials, those making more than $100,000 annually, report that they turn frequently to social media before making purchasing decisions. This same cohort asserts that they would be willing to hire a real estate influencer rather than a traditional agent to assist them in buying a home.

Once again, this links to the unique insider’s perspective that an influencer can offer. However, the impacts of the influencer don’t end there, because the influencer doesn’t just describe the lifestyle available in a community, they also help to create it. 

An influencer’s work has a profound impact on the reputation and visibility of a community. This includes shaping the perception of wealth associated with any given neighbourhood or property. This means that an influencer can play a leading role in cultivating a reputation of desirability and affluence within a community even before properties there become available, thus priming the market for future listings.

The takeaway

A home isn’t just a collection of rooms. For many home-buyers, a home is their future and that makes choosing a home one of the most important decisions buyers will ever make. Now, more than ever, it is the real estate influencer, rather than traditional agents, who are helping house-hunters through this critical moment in their lives.