The original sketch, titled Free House For You, Jim had appeared on March 24th, 2009 in the episode Presidents.
The sketch is a parody of television commercials and interestingly is targeted to one certain person, who got a house from the actors, featured in the title.
The very last scene of the satirical ad is a close up of Tim, as he whispers “It’s free real estate”.
Shortly after the debut of the episode, the phrase became popular among fans of the show, who further spread it online.
By 2012, the entire sketch was uploaded to YouTube and the phrase was referenced on various sites all over the internet, from Yahoo to IGN to Reddit.
In 2016, “It’s free real estate” started appearing in various bait and switch YouTube videos, as the punchline of jokes.
In 2017, the meme was appearing in image macros all over the internet.
- Inverse – “It’s Free Real Estate!” The 15 Best Memes Based on the Reddit Joke
- Know Your Meme – It’s Free Real Estate