We’re all guilty of it: sometimes, even when we’re not looking to move, it’s fun to check real estate listings on Zillow just to see what’s there. If that sounds weird to you… I don’t blame you, but I also recommend you watch more HGTV. However, if this sounds like a fun way to procrastinate after playing Wordle, Quordle, Globle, and Heardle for the day, you’re not alone.
The whole premise of Theater is that we find it oddly amusing to browse house listings. That’s not too outlandish a claim, given that “House Hunters” has been on TV since 1999. But beyond becoming another fun stream to scroll through, Playhouse wants to meet the needs of a future generation of homeowners. .
“It’s not necessarily about building something for a hardcore buyer today,” co-founder and CEO Alex Perelman told TechCrunch. “We want to create a product for the next generation that is mobile, video-focused, exciting and fun.”
When you enter the Playhouse app, you immediately see a vertically oriented video feed that directly clones TikTok’s interface (it’s not like everyone else has cloned it too). The stream shows videos of homes on the market, along with a price tag. As you scroll, you can guess whether the price Playhouse has given you is higher or lower than the actual listing price, helping to educate future buyers about the market (…and also it’s fun, even if you’re not looking to buy a $2 million home in San Francisco).
Users can also view listings on a map and then click to see a home video. If they want to know more about a location, they can click to text the agent, who can list properties on Playhouse for free. If Playhouse facilitates a sale, the app gets a share of the transaction.
“One of the most enlightening moments early on was when we bought our house, in my mind I was like, ‘Oh great, we’re done. We no longer need to search for real estate online,” Perelman explained. “But I was watching my wife use these portals more, not less, than before. Because now it’s like, is our house appreciating? What are the neighbors doing?
Now, Playhouse is releasing its TikTok-like abridged video stream of Bay Area properties in beta. It has already secured $2.8 million in seed funding from groups like Agya Ventures, Gaingels, Goodwater Capital, Nomo Ventures, PKO Investments and Y Combinator – Playhouse was a member of Y Combinator. summer cohort 2021. Perelman and his co-founder Nathan Shinder previously worked at PeerStreet, a Los Angeles-based real estate technology company.
Besides posting real estate listings, agents and other real estate professionals can also upload other content related to buying a home, such as videos on things prospective homeowners need to know before they get started. in buying a house. This capitalizes on an existing trend in apps like TikTok and Instagram, where professionals are monetizing their expertise by forging a side career in content creation, which also helps them find new clients.
Currently, videos for the beta version of the app are hosted by Playhouse, but in the future, Perelman wants Playhouse to host more user-generated content. But before that, it would need to strengthen its content moderation capabilities. Perelman estimates that there are around 300 videos on the Playhouse beta.
Playhouse’s plan to grow its user base is a bit risky — they’re TikTok-ifying an industry that Gen Z is probably too young to engage in. But Perelman is not worried.
“If you look at the demographics of TikTok, they started off with a very, very young audience and then it got older and older and older,” he said. “For us, it’s really about evolving with consumer tastes and creating an app that’s not just a TikTok clone, but a real estate-specific user experience.”
Playhouse is now available for all iOS users, but house listings only cover the Bay Area.