May 26, 2022

We’re all to blame for this: sometimes, even when we don’t want to move, it’s interesting to look through listings of houses on Zillow, just to see what’s for sale. If this sounds weird to you… I don’t blame you, but I also recommend that you watch more HGTV. However, if this sounds like a fun way to put the game down after you’ve played Wordle, Quordle, Globle, and Heardle, you’re not alone.

The whole idea of ​​Playhouse is that we weirdly like seeing lists of houses. It’s not such a strange statement, given that The Househunters has been on TV since 1999. But in addition to a fun new swipe feed, Playhouse aims to cater to a future crop of homeowners.

“Today, it’s not about building something for the avid shopper,” co-founder and CEO Alex Perelman told gaming-updates. “We want to create a product for the next generation that wants to be mobile, video-driven, immersive and fun.”

When you open the Playhouse app, you immediately see a vertically oriented video stream that directly clones the TikTok interface (not that everyone clones it). The feed shows a video of houses on the market, as well as a price tag. As you scroll, you can guess if Playhouse showed you a higher or lower sale price than the actual sale price, informing future buyers about the market (… and it’s fun, even if you’re in San Francisco, not looking for 2 million dollars). home (Francisco).

Users can also view listings on a map and then click to watch a video of the home. If they want to know more about a location, they can click to send a message to a broker who can list a property on the Playhouse for free. If Playhouse facilitates the sale, the app gets a share of the deal.

“One of those epiphany moments in the beginning when we bought our house, all I had in my mind was, ‘Oh great, we’re done.’ We no longer need to search for real estate on the Internet,” explains Perelman. “But I have seen my wife use these portals more, no less than before. Because now so, our house appreciates? What are the neighbors doing?

Three screenshots from the Playhouse app

image credit: Theatre

Now Playhouse is releasing a short TikTok-style video stream of its Bay Area properties in beta. It has already received $2.8 million in seed funding from groups such as Agya Ventures, Gaingels, Goodwater Capital, Nomo Ventures, PKO Investments and Y Combinator — Playhouse was a member of the Y Combinator cohort in the summer of 2021. Perelman and his co-founder Nathan Shinder previously worked at PeerStreet, a real estate tech company based in Los Angeles.

In addition to posting home listings, real estate agents and other real estate professionals can also upload other home buying related content, such as videos about what potential owners should know before buying a home. This follows a current trend on apps like TikTok and Instagram where professionals monetize their experience by building shady careers in content creation, which also helps them find new clients.

For now, the videos in the beta app are managed by Playhouse, but in the future, Perelman wants Playhouse to host more user-generated content. But before that, he must expand his content moderation capabilities. Perelman estimates that there are about 300 videos in the Playhouse beta.

Playhouse’s plans to build its own user base are a bit risky – they’re like TikTok, an industry that Generation Z is probably too young for. But Perelman is not worried.

“If you look at the demographics of TikTok, they started out with a very, very young audience and then got bigger and older,” he said. “For us, it’s really about evolving with consumer tastes and building an app that’s not only a TikTok clone, but a real estate-specific user interface.”

Playhouse is now available to all iOS users, but the home list only covers the Bay Area.

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