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How a 28-year-old realtor used Snapchat to rent out an $80,000/month home sight unseen

Stephen Udoff

Many people who aren’t on Snapchat pooh-pooh the app as a way for teens and 20-somethings to waste their time on face-swapping or stalking Kim Kardashian’s latest scandalous outfit.

Not so fast.

Stephen Udoff, a 28-year-old real estate agent at Los Angeles real estate brokerage Partners Trust, rented out a Malibu home for $80,000 a month this summer. And the deal happened through Snapchat.

While his fellow millennials might be busy sending each other selfies, Udoff uses Snapchat as his primary social media platform. What better way to tout new, flashy, beachy listings than tantalizing, 15-second videos of the property?

Udoff doesn’t use social media to post photos of being “bored at work” or “having so much fun clubbing” selfies. Instead, he thinks of Snapchat and Instagram (FB) as professional platforms and a way to engage with prospective clients. He even created his own hashtag #SunsetSteve to brand all of the posts of his various listings.

“First impressions, especially in real estate, are everything. Every picture you post on Instagram or Snapchat is something you can never buy back,” he says. “A first impression is one thing that the richest person in the world can never buy back.”

In June, his consistent Snapchatting paid off. Big time. Udoff had a new listing on a specific stretch along Malibu’s Carbon Beach nicknamed “Billionaire’s Beach” because the coastline has been exclusive to the ultra wealthy. Udoff took five snapchats — of the front door, family room, showing how big the beach is, the master bedroom, and bathroom — and posted them to his story.

Source: Stephen Udoff

Another real estate agent happened to see his Snapchat stories and immediately reached out to him asking him to download the videos and send them along because he knew of a client who might be interested.

“Snap videos and the additional commentary really show the house as it is and let you preview the house as if you were actually there,” Udoff says.

The renter was a woman in her 40s from Dallas. She leased the house sight unseen one week after Udoff posted the videos onto his Snapchat.

Udoff says he’s a native Snapchatter but was inspired to use the social media app consistently after following entrepreneur and internet personality Gary Vaynerchuk, who is extremely bullish on leveraging social media to develop strong personal and professional brands.

“What Gary implements is consistency, and that’s important in real estate too. You can’t just do social media; you have to consistently post across all platforms,” he says. “And today you really have to adapt to new technologies and show your clients that you’re current with the latest apps.”

Udoff notes notes that this property was a rental, which is short-term and relatively low commitment (if you have a casual $80,000 a month to spare, that is). He’s not sure he’ll actually be able to sell a property through Snapchat.  

“I feel like I have to see something in order to purchase it. Even with a couch, I had to go to the showroom to test it out, to sit on it,” he says.

And he’s been testing the waters of Instagram Stories since it launched last month. Because Instagram isn’t contact-based, he gets a lot more views on on it. He feels that Snapchat is a bit more personal, though. Udoff says it’s redundant to post to both and has yet to determine which one will pay off.

Regardless of which platform translates to more offers, he’s never felt more encouraged to spend time on social media.

Melody Hahm is a writer & reporter at Yahoo Finance, covering entrepreneurship, innovation and technology. Follow her on Twitter.

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