Property Video That Doesn’t Attempt To Be Entertaining Is In High Demand If Done Well!

June 17th, 2016

FredLightFor a number of months now I’ve been featuring some of my favorite property video. A couple of weeks ago Fred Light, who I believe is the father of property video, pointed out that:

Real estate videos are generally not produced for ‘entertainment’.  Having a bunch of photographers, videographers and friends give their opinion of a video is really worth very little since NONE of them are seriously interested in buying that particular house or even hiring that particular agent to market their own house.  So the video is strictly a curiosity for all those making judgments – nothing more.

Clearly people in different geographic areas find different types of video worthwhile.  Some find showing “too much of the house” boring.  If you’re NOT actually interested in buying the house, I totally agree.

I think Fred’s approach to doing property video is a  great example of the importance of property video. Fred makes it look easy. As those who do it and those who are working at doing it know, it is way harder than it looks. Fred describes his property video business as follows:

…with absolutely zero marketing in 11 years other than word of mouth and a website, I am booked out two weeks in advance for more than half of the year, have a waiting list daily for cancellations, and shoot 4-5 of these boring, “most people won’t watch them” videos every single day of the week.  Oh, and my repeat business is 99.9%.  So in an industry where agents are well known for not wanting to part with a buck for marketing, I have agents shell out $400-$500+ for these boring videos all day long, over and over again.

So for those of you working at doing property video, I think that studying Fred’s approach can be very useful. His recent video above is a great example.

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13 Responses to “Property Video That Doesn’t Attempt To Be Entertaining Is In High Demand If Done Well!”

  • That is great that it is working for him but that isn’t what works in my market. Maybe because I live in a place that is always getting voted “best beach in the United States and much of the value of these homes aren’t in the actual details. I am just as busy as Fred and I don’t have a website or even business cards. I feel what works with video might be what works in that particular region. Here in southwest Florida lifestyle video is way more
    Popular than the regular house videos. Also realtor dot org says that 83% of BUYERS not viewers but buyers watch property videos to see the lifestyle and surrounding area and that only 34% were watching them for details of the interiors of the home. This completely makes sense as the majority of the cost of the properties in this market aren’t the four walls but it’s in the location and lifestyle. If all i did was to shoot the house, I would be leaving most of the cost of the property not included in a marketing piece. Now think about the last time somebody told you about their dream home or what they want it always starts with “I want a house on the beach” or “I want to live downtown” or “I want to live on a golf course” I would bet you never hear “I want a home with crown molding” or “I can’t wait to get a place with granite counter tops”. You also don’t get an emotional connection with the materials the home is made from etc. my job is to sell a product and to sell any product THE most important step is connecting emotionally with the potential buyer. This doesn’t mean have naked people walking around or some other gimmick but means showing he lifestyle that they connect with that made them want to live in that area in the first place.

  • Fred is the master!! Great narration as well. I love that video.

  • Excellent observations and marketing tips Jonathon.
    There is a lot of truth in what you share about potential customers motivations.
    Thank you for posting this info.

  • @jonathon Any chance you could please provide a link to that realtor dot org article that says that 83% of BUYERS not viewers but buyers watch property videos to see the lifestyle and surrounding area and that only 34% were watching them for details of the interiors of the home – I’ve tried but I can’t find it.

    May I suggest that there are many other ways to make an emotional connection with a potential buyer other than just the lifestyle and surrounding area – obviously it’s inclusion can help and if your pricing and business model supports the time frame that requires then great.

    Some may argue that often times that location decision has already been made long before they get to see the video.

    Let me assure you that many buyers do make an emotional connection or disconnection with the materials that a home is made from.

    Clearly different business models and approaches to RE video work for different people in different markets – there’s no definitive right or wrong way.

    Your way works for you, Fred’s way works for him and our way is working for us.

    The only real critics I care about and listen to when it comes to our videos are buyers – and we listen real close – the rest don’t matter.

  • The 83% figure seems a little odd as I would have thought the majority of buyers/potential buyers would move within their existing location so surely they’d know all about the lifestyle of the surrounding area. However, I can certainly see how that would be true for people moving location. I’m saying this as a UK resident, so maybe it’s different in the US.

  • Here is a link to the stats that Jonathan is citing… it’s actually 86%, not 83%.

    http://www.realtor.org/sites/default/files/Study-Digital-House-Hunt-2013-01_1.pdf

    I happen to think that both Jonathan and Fred to great work, but they each have a different approach. I’m sure if they were both in the same market competing against each other they would each be successful. Personally, I think Jonathan’s approach offers a more complete perspective of the property because it includes so much lifestyle and community footage. However, I’m sure this comes at a significantly higher cost. I can’t imagine how many hours of shooting go into one of Jonathan’s shoots… all the community and lifestyle footage… seems like it would take an entire day. Then you have all this footage to edit. Fred uses a system/template so he can crank out 4 or 5 a day… that’s super impressive. My videos are more like Fred’s, easy to shoot and easy to produce and even easier to sell. But, I really do admire Jonathan’s work… Jonathan’s work is the kind of content that wins contests.

  • Btw – I love Fred’s work. My point is you need to know your market and what works there. I would say his method probably would work in more areas than mine. Most buyers in my market are transient buyers (moving here from other parts of the country/world). Another advantage to doing a lot of lifestyle work is this:

    Right now most of our business models are totally around marketing for listings. I shoot for several major companies when they are having big sales meetings and seminars. There is one major message being told to all of these agents “VIDEO VIDEO VIDEO”. I started thinking about this and thought “I am only shooting for the top 10-15 percent of the agents that are on the listing end of this industry”. This got the creative juices going…”what if I come up with a product that every agent could use?” The answer was so obvious. Agent bio videos was the answer. Now I all of s suddenly had thousands of new local potential customers. They are all also being told “social media marketing is so important” so they are making Facebook pages etc. so now I make neighborhood spotlights and put together deals for agents to become that “neighborhood expert” this can be done as one big project or a series of smaller vignette videos you can sell to them as almost a subscription type service.

    As technology like matterport and other things become more prevalent and skill isn’t as much of an issue to operate these type of cameras or you can go snap off some pretty easily to know how to do shots and send them off to India and get back acceptable photos in the morning. Or walk through a home with an osmo. You have to think about longevity and to me that is using your best asset. Your best asset is you and your ideas and your creativity. No new technology will ever take the place of being able to tell a good story and show lifestyle.

    Lateral marketing – now you are making these agent profiles etc and all of a sudden you open up to even a newer market. You know who else needs social media content? Decorators, mortgage brokers, inspectors, appraisers, insurance companies, real estate law firms.

    Hopefully this gets some of you thinking of what you can do in your market that will set you apart and allow you to grow. I want to hear some of your ideas of where you can go with this sort of videography

  • Thanks Vic.

    So according to those figures in addition to the 86% who want to find out more about a specific community and 38% for understanding specific features, 70% of ‘home shoppers’ are also using video to ‘tour the inside of a home’ and 54% for general information.

    Have to agree Vic both Jonathon and Fred do amazing work.

  • Most people in our market area, especially the beach properties are already familiar with the lifestyle, they don’t need to be sold on that. They already KNOW it and that’s why they are now shopping for a home in this area.

  • Looking at these comments it makes me feel very blessed that I happen to live in an area that is mostly lifestyle drivin. It’s very interesting seeing all the challenges that are extremely regional.

  • Hmmm…so if you’re not currently a buyer of a house, you aren’t qualified to hold an opinion on the efficacy of a property video? Does that edict extend to EVERYONE here? Including the OP?

    I don’t remember anyone promoting property videos as “entertainment”. I do remember some talk about how video can help establish an agent or brokerage’s brand, and of course we have only to look around us to see how nearly every sophisticated brand uses creative video to help establish it’s place in the market, and to sell it’s products. If it were simply about conveying cold, hard facts to consumers, then we wouldn’t really being seeing ad campaigns like those put forward (at enormous expense) by brands such as:

    California Milk Processor’s Board (“Got Milk?” – zero information about milk in that ad): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLSsswr6z9Y

    Nike (“Just Do It”- you barely see a shoe in those ads): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAcq_jvmXDo

    Old Spice (notice that there’s barely a mention of what the product actually does or how it works): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owGykVbfgUE

    Chevrolet (“Like a Rock” which contains no information about trucks): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IocCC1-jeTY

    Prada/Gucci/Dior/Dolce&Gabbana/Fendi et al (zero information about fabric, size, washability, stain resistance, etc…indeed you have to know ahead of time what business they’re even in)

    Do I need to go on? Even ads for mundane products like stoves, office furniture, ball-point pens and carpet use sexy models, lifestyle innuendo, and all manner of creativity to sell their products. Has anyone ever watched “Mad Men”? Advertising photography hasn’t been about conveying straight “information” since around 1940. And advertising video hasn’t been about that since it was invented. So when someone tells me that a video that contains a hook and seeks to entice a viewer to watch it because it’s either funny or quirky or just beautiful is “strictly a curiosity”, and that accomplished professionals who make their living in the field of advertising photography and videography shouldn’t be given credibility on the subject (because they’re not interested in buying that specific house)…I’m disinclined to listen.

    I don’t doubt that Fred’s clients like his product, and I’m happy that he’s happy. But to deny the utility of creativity and “hooks” is simply foolish. It’s abundantly clear that the real estate industry is incredibly slow to adopt modern methods (even “good” informational photography is a tough sell in some markets) but when a few pioneers begin doing things that have already been proven to work (and I’d encourage you to research the ROI on the ads I mentioned above) we shouldn’t be tearing them down — we should be applauding and encouraging our own clients to follow suit.

  • I totally agree with Scot here. I also am lucky to have partners that come in from the ad industry and have worked on tons of national ad campaigns. Many of which you all would be familiar with. We are going to approach this from the perspective of it being just like one of hose huge clients. Agents aren’t always open to these new ideas though. That is for sure going to be the hardest sell.

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