The Broke Agent is a media brand that creates entertainment for real estate professionals. But the beauty of it is that you don't have to be in the industry to enjoy its content. Sure, that would unlock a deeper level of understanding and appreciation but it's not necessary.
Just look at its project Real Estate Fails, for example. Full of ridiculous architectural and interior design hiccups, it shares pictures from the ridiculous side of the housing market, proving that some agents don't have everything under control. Whether it's due to their own fault, the owners, or unfortunate circumstances, there are plenty of things that might deter potential buyers.
We managed to get in touch with Eric Simon, founder of The Broke Agent, and he was kind enough to have a little chat with us.
"Just over six years ago, I started posting as The Broke Agent on Instagram, producing content that focused on the 'inner monologue' of a struggling realtor in Los Angeles. As a licensed realtor, I basically started making fun of everything that was happening to me and put it online in blog form, YouTube Videos, and short-form content like memes, tweets, and Facebook posts. It blew up really quickly and now has well over half a million followers across all platforms."
Even if we were to talk solely about its target audience, there's still room for The Broke Agent to grow as there are over 2 million active real estate agents in the U.S.
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Simon started Real Estate Fails to grow The Broke Agent brand and to reach people who aren't necessarily just real estate agents but he quickly realized that it's just a really fun account to manage.
"Everyone likes looking at housing pics, especially luxury or real estate 'fails,' so it resonated with an audience outside of the real estate industry as well as real estate agents."
"Real estate agents love the account because it exposes marketing blunders, property description errors, and other mistakes agents make when uploading their marketing online. It also gives them a platform to submit all the crazy stuff they see in the field and out on showings. The account also casts a wider net on the industry, attracting contractors, appraisers, inspectors, handymen, etc."
According to Simon, curating the account is pretty straightforward because by now the community around it has gotten big enough for him to receive a steady stream of content.
"Most of my posts come from other realtors in my DMs, but I also get submissions in my Discord, through The Broke Agent and in our real estate Facebook pages and groups," he explained. "Like I said above, most of the photos come from agents actually spotting these crazy fails in the field on showings, inspections, or open houses. We also have a series called #ThingsWeSeeAtShowings on The Broke Agent stories."
You couldn't find another person more suited to run the project. "Because I am a licensed realtor, I have developed a good eye for what is 'out of the ordinary' and what will perform well as a post," Simon said. "Also, I've been looking at and posting real estate content every day for 6 plus years so that helps with my judgment for what to post."
"The best performing content on Real Estate Fails is toilet content and anything that's sexual. If it looks like a penis or is provocative in any way, the audience goes crazy for it."
Another successful ongoing theme is staging fails where people try to cover up eye sores or contracting issues. The keyword here is 'try'.
Simon constantly searches for ways to engage his followers. "The best way to [do it] on these posts is to say something in the caption like 'describe this like it's in a property description.' That way, agents can put their humorous twist on a housing feature and highlight it in a positive light like a realtor would do in their marketing."
The man behind the show also highlighted that The Broke Agent has much more to offer; it's a full-on real estate media company with Podcasts (The Over Ask Podcast), blogs, YouTube videos, contributors, and more. "Our goal is to make real estate professionals laugh through the daily stress of the industry and also help improve their business with our marketing, consulting, and content platform."