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Listed is a Wordle-inspired San Francisco actual property sport

Guessing outrageous San Francisco real estate prices has been a favorite pastime of city residents for years. Prices are anything but predictable — a home could sell for 80% over the asking price or someone might pay $1 million for a burned-out house. Now, Wordle enthusiasts and real estate lookie-loos alike can indulge this urge with a new daily online game.

Listed SF is similar in concept to Wordle (which if you don’t know by now, I’m concerned about you). When you pull up the website, you see one photo from a recently sold real estate listing and based on that one photo alone, you guess how much the home sold for (all homes sold within the prior two weeks).

One wrong guess and it reveals the neighborhood of the listing. Another wrong guess reveals the property type (single-family versus condo). Along the way, Listed SF awards you with an arrow pointed up, down, slightly up or slightly down, indicating how close you’re getting with the dollar amount. A third wrong guess and you get to know how many bedrooms and bathrooms the property has, while a fourth wrong guess will tell you the year it was built. Each subsequent guess reveals more about the property, like square footage and lot size. Players get nine chances to guess, and you must be within 1% of the selling price to win.

Screenshots showing the game play for Listed, which involves guessing the prices of San Francisco homes for sale.

Screenshot via Listed.fun/sf

Once you’re finished, you can even click a link to see the original listing on Redfin. A new listing is released every night at midnight.

One of this week’s listings showed the facade of a classic San Francisco Victorian with a garage framed in blooming, neon pink bougainvillea. It had obviously recently been repainted in the trendy dark gray that many Victorians sport these days, which also indicated to me it probably had been recently renovated inside. I started with a guess of $4 million since I have a black heart. Turns out it wasn’t a bad first guess, and I was given the “slightly lower” arrow, accompanied by a revealing of the neighborhood: the Haight. I went with $3,800,000 next because I got overconfident in my abilities, but now I knew it was for the full single-family home. My third guess of $3,700,000 put me within the winning 1% — $3,725,000 — and my jaded mind went, “that was a good deal for a four-bed, four-and-a-half-bath.”

“It’s just a common pastime to send someone a listing or show them a picture and say, ‘You won’t believe how much this sold for,'” said listed co-founder Matt Claypotch. “The constant trading of interesting real estate listings has been an everpresent unofficial game among our friend group and I think that’s not uncommon.”

Claypotch and co-founder Andrew Pariser have been friends for more than 10 years, both software developers who met in the Bay Area. They’re self-described “puzzle heads,” often tackling a New York Times crossword puzzle when they’re together for fun. Pariser came down with COVID-19 for the second time in August 2022 and said he was tired of Netflix binging while isolating from his family. He called up Potch and said he wanted to build something.

A home sold in San Francisco.

A home sold in San Francisco.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The duo started to brainstorm. Both are big fans of Wordle and especially Heardle, a name-that-tune version of the game that plays seconds of a song at a time until the user guesses the song. They thought the world needed a real estate version of the game.

Pariser said he had a rough prototype up within hours, and then the duo spent the next two weeks refining it and soliciting feedback from family and friends. They started with a national version dubbed “Listed,” where they would choose a ZIP code from somewhere in the country and then pick a listing they found interesting and that had the necessary property information.

Claypotch said he shared it in a chat room to ask for feedback, and one of the people in the group tweeted it, which quickly gave the game a bump in users. Then just a few days later, Chicago news station WGN broadcast a segment about it, building up a big user base in the Midwestern city.

With steady user growth, Claypotch and Pariser decided in October to launch Chicago- and SF-dedicated versions of the site. They don’t have plans to open it up to any additional cities at the moment — though they said New York seems like the next logical location. Further expansion would include moderators in each city to make sure the listings are as exciting as possible.

During the first week of November, there were 4,000 users that played the national listed game and about 1,000 users of each city-specific game. “I think the reason the San Francisco version is so popular is both that we both live here and our networks are here, but naturally the San Francisco market is so hot and such a wild market and there’s an above-average interest here in that, ” Claypotch said.

SFGATE ran its own version of this game, a very not-tech-savvy article that ran almost weekly for more than a year, encouraging readers to guess the prices of rentals across the city. Each week, tens of thousands of readers read the piece.

Since you likely wouldn’t start with the same first guess every time, it’s not quite as easy to nail down a strategy as Wordle, the founders admit. Still, you begin by inferring as much as you can from the photo, and they said they do try and give clues where they can, like a recent Marina del Rey condo in the national game where the ocean was visible out the living room window. Obviously, this condo wasn’t going to be cheap. (It sold for $5.9 million.)

Over the past month, the overall win rate for all three games is nearly 89%, with slightly higher win rates in SF (93%) and Chicago (89%).

The two friends insist they’re just maintaining the site for fun, but if it ends up with an acquisition by the right partner — Wordle was acquired for at least $1 million by the New York Times and Heardle was purchased for an undisclosed sum by Spotify — it would be “a wonderful, unexpected cherry on top.”

As the real estate market continues to cool in an uncertain economy with rising interest rates, Claypotch said it’s a particularly interesting time to play the game. While it was typical to see every listing sell for far over the asking price in San Francisco, now they said they’re seeing more and more homes sell for under the asking price.​​

It’s also put San Francisco real estate prices even more at the forefront of their minds. Pariser purchased a home in San Francisco last year, but Claypotch, who currently lives in Mountain View, said wistfully that homeownership in San Francisco might happen for him “some day.” Until then, he’ll just have to guess real estate prices like everyone else.

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