How a controversial TikTok spurred investor pushback: The Download

Publish Date: August 04, 2023

Written by Christy Murdock

- Originally published at Inman News - Christy Murdock

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Each week on The Download, Inman’s Christy Murdock takes a deeper look at the top-read stories of the week to give you what you’ll need to meet Monday head-on. This week: When a TikToker claimed that “an entire neighborhood” was up for sale, the portfolio listing sparked a debate over displacement and institutional investment.

The American Dream has, for decades, been practically defined by the idea of homeownership. Yet for young people today, or for anyone who isn’t already a property owner, that dream seems to be growing further and further away.

Indeed, in some markets, lifelong rentership is almost a given, and growing numbers of both Gen Z and millennial renters are struggling to believe that they’ll ever be able to afford a home.

Perhaps that’s why a TikTok asserting that an entire neighborhood was being sold generated so much angst:

A recent viral TikTok video about a collection of rental homes for sale in Philadelphia has sparked outrage that an “entire neighborhood” could hit the market at once — though critics of the video say its claims are overblown and inaccurate.

Either way, however, the situation highlights growing anxiety about the trend of institutional property investment in the U.S.

According to Jim Dalrymple’s reporting, TikTok user Sierrakatherinee mentions multiple times in her video that an “entire neighborhood” is for sale. And that language coupled with the listing itself was apparently enough to catapult the video into the social media feeds of scores of other people.

While some commenters called the listing of 35 homes “sinister” and “worrisome,” others pushed back on the assertions in the TikTok, fact-checking it and finding that the area where the homes were located was a large one and that the homes were spread out. Thus, while the portfolio itself seemed large, it did not represent the wholesale transfer of ownership for an entire neighborhood.

The kerfuffle over the video points to significant anxiety around large-scale corporate ownership of single-family homes. As some companies increase their holdings, or build specifically for the rental market, low inventory woes grow, making it ever-harder for everyday Americans to pursue their dreams of homeownership.

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For years, California broker Troy Palmquist has been talking about the passive approach some agents take to their business — and to client services. “The passive approach to helping buyers is one where you put in offer after offer on the few homes in inventory, wearing down the buyer clients’ patience and allowing them to opt for a life of endless renting,” he writes. Instead, get active and clear away the roadblocks to a successful closing so that your buyers can make their dreams a reality.

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An LA Realtor recently found himself in the hot seat after mistakenly texting Spelling-snark to Tori herself. While he found her family’s real estate needs amusing, the mother of five definitely did not. Palmquist shares what that mistake can teach you about how you communicate. (Hint: It basically comes down to kindness and human decency.)

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