How To Triple The Number Of Showings For Your Listings

June 22nd, 2011

Through his photographer/videographer, Heath Cowart, I recently met Paul Wilander who is a top producing broker in Brevard, NC. Paul opened his own real estate brokerage (Looking Glass Realty llc) in November 2010 with the aim at providing his clients with the most effective, cutting edge marketing available. Paul’s experience is that professional photography and video are the two top marketing tools available to real estate agents and that if used the way he describes below they will triple the number of showings a listing gets.

Here’s how Paul describes it in his own words:

The top two effective marketing tools available are professional photos and professional video. If photos are worth a thousand words then video must be worth a million. Point being professional videos stand in a class all to there own. Videos have gotten me more showings from buyer’s agents, more buyer’s contacting me, and more listings.

Perfect example, I just received a call from a buyer while writing this blog post who saw the video on my listing and is now scheduled to see the house at 5PM today. There are, however, two essential rules that must be followed to ensure your property video will be effective:

  1. Rule 1: the video has to be made available as a virtual tour/video on the MLS and IDX feed, fed directly too all the local websites as well as the titan buyer eating websites like Realtor.com, Trulia, Oodle etc… You also have to push in the listing remarks for the buyer to “visit the virtual tour Youtube video link.” When buyers see a video is available they will almost automatically watch the link just because it’s so much more familiar and informative than combing through hundreds of photos and fluffed up mind numbing remarks like “location, location, location,” “won’t last long,” “Diamond in the ruff,” or “Handy Man Special.” Moreover when they see youtube video (third largest website in the world) they instinctively know this isn’t another picture slide show. You now have effectively captured the attention of the buyer and positively disrupted his/her focus from the doll-drum of sifting through listing info to the experience of motion picture.
  2. Rule #2: the video has to be good. I ensure my videos are good by hiring a professional videographer (Residential Photography and Video ). Good videos do not require professional actors or even good narrators an example would be the link to the video that just got me a showing. Effective real estate videos require great property footage and a clear message. Keep in mind the only audience that matters is buyers and sellers.

I have worked within the parameters of these two rules with the guidance of Residential Photography and video and have seen showings increase on listings up to 3 times. As for getting listings the ability to provide video (not virtual tours) to clients has given me a serious advantage over most my competition.

I was struck by the fact that when you look at Paul’s site, he uses professional photography and video for ALL his listings not just the upper-end ones, even one for $260K. Also when you do as nice a job at doing your own narration as Paul does (here is his YouTube Channel) you don’t need professional narration. Paul has a nice easy going, laid back style of talking about his listings. I think this is a big factor to his success with video.

Just in case someone at this point is thinking, “tripling showings doesn’t mean anything”, let me assert that it does! I assure you that 3 times as many showings as competing listings translates into faster sales and higher net sales prices, just has the two, more elaborate studies, that I reported on last year here and here showed. These two more formal studies measured the effect of professional photography without videos.

14 Responses to “How To Triple The Number Of Showings For Your Listings”

  • Smart guy! I hear these types of stories ALL THE TIME. Seriously… all the time.

    A huge number of my clients are on board with this type of thinking – they use me for EVERY listing, not just their trophy listings. They understand all of this so well!

    But, I’ve come to realize that many people just can’t wrap their heads around all of this and why it works – they just can’t, no matter how much you try to help them understand and no matter how much success their competitors have. They just can not get this concept at all. It’s so strange.

    Last year I shot a house on Martha’s Vineyard for a seller. The house had been on the market for several years with few showings and no offers. I shot photos and video for him and they received 4 offers within 1 week and it sold. ($2M house).

    I’m currently down on Martha’s Vineyard shooting 30 houses this week for the broker of that listing! I’m doing most of their inventory. They’re now totally convinced that it works! (and they’re working me to the bone this week! LOL) Of course, tear downs here are well over a $1M and the selling season is short, so it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. I can’t wait!

  • Both Rules are excellent and to the point

    Rule 2, “the video has to be good” says it all. However, Rule 1, I particurally like the key point to proactively direct people to the video by including in the narrative “visit the virtual tour Youtube video link.” Great idea. Unfortunately, at least locally, MLS will not alllow actual links within narratives – which may be IDX compliance, but setting the idea to look for the video is great. While it is changing, Youtube is becomming less and less banned as it ‘violated’ IDX branding prohibitions – not necessarilly yours which may be unbranded, but the 5+ other they push and you have no control over. With the ability to embed in HTML you gain more control of what the individual sees without YouTube pushing other videos to them.

  • Fred
    I agree 100%. It would be nice if the general public was more well educated on their options when listing their home. When homeowners realize that they can triple their showings with video they will ask brokers to provide it.
    At this time their are millions of sellers in the US who would be thrilled to do anything to increase their showings but they just are not aware that video is available.
    One day real estate video will be as common as photography for listings but for now the brokers who adopt this technology early get a tremendous advantage over their competition. Their listings get shown more, they get more listings, they get more buyers, and they become top producers.
    The brokers and sellers who are the last to figure this out may never catch up with innovative brokers like Paul.

  • LarryG
    I forgot to mention that I use two youtube channels. One of which is unbranded and used for the mls and the other is for my website and email campaigns.

  • Paul using youtube is still a branded video as it has their logo on it and you will eventually be fined by mls. I have had several agents try to do the same thing and take their branding etc out of the video but still got warnings from the mls to take it down! youtubes logo is still and always going to be there so having 2 channels really does not make a difference I think you just misunderstood the terms on the branding.

    The biggest selling point for me now has been showing Brokers my latest video of their competition and it almost automatically has them using me on their next big listing.

  • Michael, I think it’s an MLS case by case scenario here and most of the branding the MLS is concerned with is the agent and brokerages. Just about all virtual tours have the VT company name on them…

  • Great testimonial, I’ll be using that to show to agents!

  • @Michael. I don’t think it is the YouTube (or Vimeo, etc) logo. Where the objection comes in is the pushout by YouTube of others that have brokerage branding in them. As an example, on the linked video in the original post, YouTube list 20 other video clips of homes in NC. Also, as an agent do you really wanting a prospect wandering off and looking at videos of competing homes in the same market? Don’t you want to keep them captive? Absolutely post a branded version on YouTube so as not to neglect that market and be one that YouTube pushes. But, for MLS and the whole IDX distribution system – irrespective of their rules – as an agent don’t you want something that keeps them captive? For that, look at the 2 or 3 that were mentioned in a discussion a month or so ago. Also, I think hosting/distribution choices will expand as I see several photo oriented sites, like Zenfolio, noting “Video…coming”.

    Also, Michael…What is that latest video on competition. Would be interesting as I am developing a campaign targeting a certain virtual tour company that underpays photographers while charging premium prices with shoddy post work.

  • Thanks for the info I will have to dig more but as far as I am aware that is why mls threatened the fine as we made sure there was no branding from the agent or myself in the videos, nada.

    Here is a link to a video I just finished for a new client who is hooked. He spent lots of money marketing these homes already and has had them listed for awhile now but wanted to go back and capture them on video. I did all of this in the same day, 3 of the homes were on the same street and the 2 others were only blocks away. Normally I would spend a entire day at most of these homes to wait and try and get the best light possible but he just wanted them done done done and put a budget on it so we got it done and this is the final product.

  • @Michael – Very impressive video…in my backyard! I didn’t realize we were in the same town.

    Interestingly, I brought the addresses up in MLS. Great photos, but their tour is a slide show format from Tourfactory rather than a true video. Never mentioned it here as probably NOT nationwide but about a month ago MFRMLS added 3 new fields for posting external links. Not certain of he distribution when using them, but some agents are starting to use them as I customized an MLS search and got several hits. Typically had either a developer based video about the community, and/or a YouTube specific to that property. I really have to find out more detail about those new MLS fields.

    Your client is not using the new fields. May want to make them aware as it would give you more exposure in the process, plus with that specific video allow them to leverage their multiple listings (on the same street) to a prospect. That said, you may also want to review previous this previous posting on video hosting to get away from the handicap of YouTube pushing other Orlando properties to the viewer. http://photographyforrealestate.net/2011/02/27/where-should-independent-real-estate-photographers-host-their-video/

  • What about hosting on Amazon? It’s relatively inexpensive and there is no branding accept for what you use yourself – like this one: http://vt.estatesinmilton.com/video/

    I’m still learning, but Amazon seems to provide a good video hosting solution…

  • We are in the same town Larry??? I thought you were on the west coast? I was just out in Idaho in Coeur D’ Alene shooting some stuff in the mountains. I was there for a wedding I was in and shooting and decided to see if I could get some work while I was there, bent on my rate a little bit but got me a few sweet gigs.

    Yeah he just got the final product the other day and is using this more to pitch to home owners /potential clients and to keep the current owners he has listed the homes with happy as these high profiles listings are very demanding compared to smaller listings. the home owners wants to see some kind of new marketing on the regular.

    Any more info on the 3 new fields you speak of?

  • How much does a video like this cost?

  • Pending home sales rose strongly in May with all regions experiencing gains from a year ago, pointing to higher housing activity in the second half of the year, according to the National Association of Realtors®.