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Why Video for Real Estate?

July 30th, 2012

I like to decide what to post about based on the email that I get because what people are talking about is a good indication of what’s going on in the industry and what people are thinking about. The other basic fact is that if 5 or 10 people are sending me emails about some subject it’s a good bet that 10 times that many are thinking about the same thing and are just not saying anything.

Based on this criteria there’s a lot of people out there thinking about real estate video. Yesterday and today I must have gotten 10 questions and examples of real estate video. There are a lot of people working on raising the level of their real estate video and doing great work!

Then mid-day I got this new video that Brett Clements and his crew just did for Chris Gilmore one of the top agents in Brisbane, AU. By anyone’s standards Chris is one of the top dogs in real estate in Australia and probably the world. Chris sold 26 properties in July and 24 of them had videos. Chris and his team on average sell a property every 36 hours and they claim the use of property video is a key part of their success.

My belief is that AU in general and Brisbane in particular is a leader in the real estate industry (I’m totally convinced it’s something they have in the water down there… I want to go down and bring back some water samples). Whatever happens down there will eventually make it’s way to Seattle, San Francisco, Tampa, Amsterdam, Boston, Toronto, London, Oslo, Stockholm, etc. And yea, there maybe places like Wichita, KS and St Charles, MO where it never really catches on but they are few and far between. I think it makes sense to study what’s happening in Brisbane and see if it makes sense for you.

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20 Responses to “Why Video for Real Estate?”

  • Brad Inman is widely and justifiably recognized as an innovator and leader in real estate technology and marketing.

    In 2006 he founded TurnHere, a pioneering effort in real estate video, and announced to real estate marketing leaders at the summer Inman Conference that 2006 (or was it 2007?) was to be the year of video.

    It didn’t happen then, and it hasn’t happened since.

    With more than 2,500 real estate videos online, and more than 2.5M views, on a number of YouTube channels I’m obviously a committed believer in real estate video. But I’ve worked with and monitored the efforts of enough major brokers around the country over several decades to be deeply skeptical of whether video will achieve widespread adoption within the next decade.

    I’d agree that there will be places where real estate video catches on – but believe that they will be few and far between.

  • I think the biggest problem with video is many aren’t entertaining. You have to produce something that catches the public’s eye. If you look at Chris’ videos you will notice he’s just a little nuts while still managing to get the information across. I am sure he has subscribers that tweet and like his videos on Facebook to all their friends because they have a good laugh. People share these because they are entertained and eventually potential buyers see the video. That is how they social media works and Chris is cashing in on it.

    Tell a story and make it funny, people will share it. Now if only it was that easy 🙂

  • Unfortunately, I kind of have to agree with Joe. I was at that Inman Conference in San Francisco (I was speaking on real estate video in fact), and I’ve been invited to additional events since, all which proclaimed that year as “the year of video”.

    I work in a bit of a bubble, and my video business has been beyond great since about 2009 – no complaints here – I have more work than I can handle and the demand just increases. This year I’ve already exceeded the number of videos I did last year, and last year was incredible. I shoot for NEW customers virtually every single day. Two years ago, I received about two CALLS a month from potential new clients. My business at that time was mostly the same clients over and over.

    No question it’s catching on- finally! But in the big picture, it’s still such a teeny tiny bit of the marketplace – far less than 5% that are embracing video. And my market (Boston) probably is more onboard the video bandwagon than most areas in this country.

    The adoption rate will be very slow, but steady, I’m sure of that. My repeat business is (literally) almost 100%! So those who do video KNOW it works, because they keep coming back for more!

  • A question for everyone doing video… Are the clients who want videos also having professional photography done (by you or someone else) or are the just doing video?

  • Hello,
    Being from St. Charles, Mo. and trying to learn all I can about photography and video for real estate, I came across this website. Is this something to consider?
    Thanks so much
    Rohnn

    http://www.hdhat.com/

  • @ Joe – I see more agents using professional photography and less using video. Of those who use video, 100% use professional photography. So I would say there’s direct correlation. Thus, professional photographers should absolutely offer video and here’s why. If you shoot a home, you get to know the home. If you know the home you can better portray what’s special about the home and that’s what video can do. Like Chris Gilmore says, video moves and thus moves people. Buying a home is emotional and if you can move people, you sell homes. And that’s what we’re here to do.

  • If you’re a RE photographer wondering if you should expand into video, then I would say *absolutely*. I believe demand for RE video services will continue to expand for some time.

    For agents/brokers, the answer isn’t so clear cut. Producing high-quality and engaging video is difficult and pricey – much more difficult than getting good pics. Or, maybe said another way, it’s much easier to create really bad video — bad sound, bad light, boring, too long, shaky, etc. Done wrong, a video has the potential to damage an agent’s/broker’s brand.

    The second challenge with video is effective distribution. Once you have a great product, how do you get it in front of buyers looking in your home’s area and price range? Ideally, distribution would take place via MLS (in addition to SEO, social media, etc). I’m doing this and am seeing OK results… but are the results worth the extra marketing expense? Jury’s still out. I believe this is the hardest nut to crack.

    The RE Video market is still ‘in progress’. At least for me, the guys in Australia inspire me to continue investing in this medium.

  • I do photos and video for probably 75% of my clients. The other 25% do either video only or photos only. But one of my regular “photos only” agents this morning surprised me and decided to start doing video as well! She’s having her best year in real estate in 20 years and credits much of that with good photos… and now is venturing into doing video as well to step it up and bit more. Almost all of my clients who do video ONLY do their own photos.

  • Where should agents look for videographers that can work with them? Local schools? Obviously you need someone local and accessible. Being skilled and affordable would be great too!

  • @Link – good question. My guess is the best way is to google “real estate video yourtown” another would be to go to YouTube.com and search for “real estate yourtown” this would show you who’s doing video in your area and you can look at their work… anyone that is doing video is going to have a YouTube channel.

  • there are very ancient markets where video is still a very new thing. video is really great but it’s also very expensive. I can’t imagine video for the average listing.
    sure high end ones it’s really a must. video does sell. and also sells the agent. it’s viral. it’s incredibly powerfull.
    Brisbane is really the avant-garde of real estate. I follow it closely but most things can’t, yet, be applied to my market. but imo what is now a reality in Brisbane will be a reality in other places. It’s just a matter of how long.

  • Not sure how current it is, but WellcomeMat has a section on their website where you can find and hire a real estate video filmmaker.

    http://www.wellcomemat.com/filmmakers/

  • A great deal more skepticism is called for here.

    Does anyone have any actual numbers on the prevalence of video in real estate marketing in Brisbane? A YouTube search for Brisbane Australia homes doesn’t seem to back up the proposition that real estate video is taking off there – that there’s something in the water.

    Chris Gilmour is a charismatic, aggressive real estate marketer yet he’s received no attention that I can see from the media in Australia. Only 14 of the property videos on his YouTube channel have received more than 200 views.

    Ten other agents in Chris’ firm have “My videos” tabs on their profile. Only two of those surface any video, an indication that Chris hasn’t been able to evangelize the concept well within his own firm.

  • @Joe – Here is the data that is most revealing:

    http://www.google.com/trends/?q=real+estate+photography&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

    and

    http://www.google.com/trends/?q=real+estate+video

    Of course google trends measures demand more than production.

  • @larry

    When you drill down on Australia, there’s insufficient volume of searches to show trending.

    Comparing the relative volume of searches on real estate photography vs real estate video for 2009 – 2012, photography is receiving relatively more searches each year than video. Interesting, no?

    The volume of searches on both phrases is trending downward or flatlining as I read the graphs, which are normalized.

    Not sure what you think is being revealed by these graphs.

  • @Joe – Yea, I know this stuff is not super scientific… I don’t think you can get real technical with this data. my point is simply there’s enough data to simply show that the interest in real estate photography and video in Australia, NZ and Canada is more than it is in the US the “real estate photography”.

    My subjective observations from just talking to a lot of real estate photographers and videographers confirms that there’s more going in AU and Brisbane than any where else. I don’t claim to be able to prove it scientifically.

  • Hi all, I’m a video guy here in Brisbane and I’ve been working with a few real estate agents here since the start of this year. There is definitely a buzz about real estate videos here, and quite rightly so. It’s a fantastic medium to use!

    @ Joe – you make some great points re finding credible stats to back up the hype. I guess the stats will be available in the coming months / years to reflect what’s happening today. No doubt in my opinion however that things are being considerably over-hyped by a few folks which ultimately provides them with a lot of attention which is good for business, yeh?

    In my own experience, I produced a video for an agent who listed a high end property which was previously on the market with another agent. We shot her video and she sold in 4 weeks for above expectation. The new owners had liked what they saw on the video.

    The cool thing at the moment is this method of marketing is still relatively new and always evolving. I love my videography and so each real estate video for me is a little work of art.

    There is a lot of talk around here at the moment as to what makes the perfect real estate video. No more ghost houses, get people in the shots. Keep it under 50 seconds. Provide Call to Actions before the end of the video. Agent hosted. Non-agent hosted. Interviews with the sellers. Wear a chicken suit.

    I believe its about marketing emotions and lifestyles. Its about the property, not the agent. It’s about social media. It’s about knowing your target audience and how they access their information. It’s about holding their attention for just long enough to emotionally connect and make that call for inspection.

  • @ Link Moser – check out http://www.propertytube.com – ‘Find a Videographer’

  • @ Joe – “A question for everyone doing video… Are the clients who want videos also having professional photography done (by you or someone else) or are the just doing video?”

    All of my clients have employed a photographer, mostly for twilight shots, in addition to the video.

  • Hey guys, I am a broker and I also list homes. Not sure what the stats are as far as if the video help sell houses. I do know buyers like them but the reason I do them is because is it actually an opportunity for clients to “get to know me”. Am a just another hard sell Realtor or a regular guy? Clients dont know that from a picture and they can get to know me without having to get to know me. Its an opportunity for a Jason commercial.

    Sellers want it and they watch my property video and then they want for theirs and they call me because there are very other agents offering it. I also get to educate the buyers and buyers agent about the property since they are not much more than a door opener.

    Bottom line I get more listings because I offer this and thats good enough for me. I am in the process of training a girl that is in the local community college for Video to do my editing because that seems to be my bottle neck and then I move toward a staff person to shoot or at least assist me. My goal is to have my 12 agents using video on EVERY property. My competitors will be forced to pay top dollar thus producing less while we churn out 4-5 per week.

    When you consider video dont just look at the numbers for selling houses. Its about educated the consumer on the house, the market, the neighborhood, client testimonials, the contracts and any other reason you can think of.

    The difficulty, expense, and lack of agents using it are all the reasons that make it there single most important tool in my business.

    My listing presentations are short because they have already decided to hire me before I even walk through the door. There is a level of trust that you just normally dont get when you first meet someone.

    P.S. if your videos suck they will have a negative impact on your business.

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