Brokers In Brevard, NC Excited About Using Property Video

July 24th, 2011

Heath Cowart of showed me this property video today that he just finished shooting. His client Jennifer Merrell of Steve Owen and Associates and her broker in charge came up with the concept and Jennifer directed the video.

Heath said:

Both Jennifer and Jeremy Owen, her broker in charge, are excited about using video to promote their listings. When Jennifer listed 502 East French Broad Jeremy had an idea about creating a video about a day in the life of a home. When they told me about their concept I thought it was a great idea.

One of the best things about creating this video is that the idea and much of the direction came from the brokers. I am starting to see more and more brokers get inspired by the high-end real estate videos that are beginning to hit the internet. Jennifer has years of experience in various types of productions and she stepped right in as the director making my job easier and the final product better.

I hope this is a new trend. I’d really like more brokers to be inspired by real estate videos like this so we can team up and create real estate marketing that is fun to watch and effective for selling homes.

To me the video feels like a well done execution of a very creative idea! What does everyone think?

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32 Responses to “Brokers In Brevard, NC Excited About Using Property Video”

  • First off, let me say the production is great! I watched the entire video twice and enjoyed it both times. Great production!

    However, and I hate however, I learned nothing about the house in the video until the last minute or so. I know more about the meal, bread, wine, and other non-house related items. Where is this house located? I thought in the middle of no-place, but a the end it says it’s in walking distance to a town. OK! Really, I saw a car drive up and what I thought was a country setting. Five bedrooms? I saw one in the video when the child got up.

    This video, for me, fails on the main thing I’m looking for – if I purchase this house what am I getting. I don’t understand the lifestyle I’ll be living, I thought it was country but now I’m thinking in town (might be small town but in town). How much land do I get? What’s the views? More questions and in the end not enough interesting questions to make me want to come and take a look. Sorry, just the way I feel.

    However, it is produced really well and perhaps I’m just missing it.

  • I think the video is fantastic. I think the effectiveness depends on how the video will be utilized. Can it stand alone on its own? – Not sure – But when integrated into their local MLS – Absolutely – The video does exactly what it says it does.
    It tells a story – Way to go Heath and Jennifer !! Pure Class – I love it.

  • Good to see Agents are thinking about things other than photographing a kitchen and animating it in a slideshow.

  • Excellent work, congratulations Heath – I love it.

  • Very nice video, opening with the piano clip and contiuing the music throughout. With the piano in the home noted on the kid’s duet clip, was that background music by the homeowner? On coordinating the music, it ended on an up note. Perhaps credits could be extended a second ot two to coordinate with the end of a musical sequence.

  • Sandy, we took some risks. We considered using subtitles to explain that the woman with the basket is walking to and from town, and the girl and her father are walking to the park. In the end we decided that we wanted to do something artistic and different. If you look at my other video you’ll see that we usually make the message crystal clear.
    LarryG, we really put this together quickly. There are allot of little things we could have done to improve it. Maybe I’ll go back and look at that again thanks everyone.
    David, thanks we wanted the video to start a discussion and get attention as much as anything. If we can get people talking about the video, the home, the brokerage, and the videographer it is a good thing as you know from your own video work.

  • Very interesting…. production values are terrific… it looks really great! How long did it take you to shoot and edit that? Looks like a lot of time and work!

    Unfortunately, I have to agree with Sandy to a degree. I really knew nothing about the home or the location until literally the very end. As a component attached to an MLS listing it was a nice lifestyle story and I already would know the details of the home. As a stand alone video that someone may find online – not attached to an MLS listing – it would be extremely confusing. Would someone even bother to sit through the entire thing to get the information they wanted? Not sure…. And that IS the ultimate goal, right – to sell the house!

    I love seeing how everyone is pushing the envelope – it’s kind of fun. But I’m far more curious as to if it actually helps SELL the home or is the reason someone visits the home or puts in an offer, or is a catalyst for an agent getting a new listing… as that is the primary purpose of these videos, and in the end, the only thing that really matters.

    Would love to know the reaction from the general real estate buying public on this one…. Did it work?

  • Love the whole idea and working to develop this for my business. Trying to figure out how to price the videos, what does one charge for video vs. stills and what kind of product packaging do you do, as in stills + video?

  • I have a different take than Sandy and Fred about the amount of information to share in a video. I think we make a mistake if we treat property videos as documentaries. We really want to be doing marketing and using video with the very specific goal of getting showings. We want to tease a little bit. We want the viewer to want to see more. We want the viewer to take the step of going to see the listing in person. I think it is very effective in that way. My initial feeling was maybe the video should have a couple of clips of Brevard but if you know Brevard that’s not necessary and if you don’t when you visit you will be pleasantly surprised…a second “Wow!” if you will. Congratulations. Very well done.

  • The execution was professional and the production was great, but it was waaaaaaayyyyyy too long to be an effective selling tool. I could’t watch the whole thing. Neither will a potential buyer. 2 minutes or less for a house unless it is an estate.

  • Fred, I am also interested to see if it works, but I can tell you for sure that many of the other videos I have made have worked. My clients are actually picking up buyers from their videos. The buyers are shopping online, recognize the broker in a video and contact them to help them look at homes. That’s just one example, also listed homes that we videoed are closing now. I believe this is the future of real estate marketing and I know it works but it is not always easy to correlate a specific video to the closing of a home, it is best part of a campaign and the numbers are not totaled until the end of the year or more. Fred I know you know this because I read everything you post and you get it more than anyone. Video can be a career changer for a broker if done well.
    Ryan, I used to think the same way, and most of my videos are short, but with all due respect, your not looking to buy a home in this town are you? Put yourself in a buyers perspective. If you were going to spend hundreds of thousands or dollars on a home could you find an extra few minutes to watch a video about the product your going to buy? I have changed my opinion on video length after considering this perspective. If your selling soap then it’s a different story.
    We created this video because it sounded like fun, we thought it would grab peoples attention, start a discussion, and ultimately make people more aware that the property is available. So far it is working.
    It took 1 day to shoot and about 1 day to edit.
    I am really happy to see this video has inspired some comments. Thanks for watching and commenting. Feel free to contact me with questions, thanks for all the feedback.

  • Heath: I KNOW video works. 100%. I can give you literally hundreds of agents that absolutely can claim that the video specifically has helped sell their listings, get new listings, get new buyers and elevate their status in the community. Being on camera helps potential customers get to “know” (and like) the agent before they even meet in person. No question at all on that one. The fact that they repeatedly do video on most (if not all) of their listings is testament to that. And I agree on the length as well… people who watch these videos aren’t watching for entertainment purposes… they’re actually interested in buying that specific house. It’s (quite literally) the first showing. It puts an entirely different perspective on viewing length. I agree that watching a video of a baby spitting up on the dog needs to be short to keep the attention, but these types of videos are not in the same category.

    This particular video is very, very different, so am very curious as to if it provides the same benefits to the agent. Keep us posted!

  • Heath,
    Congratulations, an excellent video production you can be proud of. I really liked the concept and viewed the video in it’s entirety.
    Balance is the name of the game. As some have said, two minutes or you will lose your audience exponentially.
    I would have intermixed some wide video views of some of the rooms with those beautiful vignettes your captured.
    It wasn’t until the end that I saw how big and beautiful some of the living spaces are in that home.
    Heath, you are definitely producing video that is a cut above. A little more balance inside a two minute time frame would be ideal – IMHO.
    Thanks for setting the bar for a lot of marketers looking to add or enhance their real estate video presentations.
    Again, congratulations on a superb production!
    Best Regards,

  • Great job, Heath. I think it could (and should) have been edited much more tightly, with the goal of hitting 3:00 minutes or under, and I think that could have been done fairly painlessly.

    But the IDEA, and production values —- outstanding!

  • Heath, don’t get me wrong – I think it’s awesome…and I have gone back and forth on video length. I am a 100% believer in video! I do them myself. Now, as for the length, I think that if it is going to be this long, I need more info earlier. Maybe that is where it lost me. The video is believable and immersive – 2 critical elements, but I don’t think the house stands up to a video that long. There is not enough house. Maybe in a larger house.

    I’m not looking to buy a house in that town, but I’m nearby frequently and know the area, the people and the lifestyle and it may be that you can get by with a longer video for some of those reasons. I have family in Waynesville and Maggie Valley and some from Asheville. I’m also an agent, not a photo/videographer that wholeheartedly believes in video so I’m certainly not knocking the video.

    With my real estate ‘hat’ on, I think it’s very important to remember that it is possible to show too much. There is no one in the video who is there to overcome objections from buyers if they see them in the video so I think it’s best to err on the side of short and pick the best and leave out the rest. That’s all. I believe there is a fine line when it comes to length. I suppose that for different areas/people that length is somewhat different, but we must be cognizant that at some point, we lose people if it is too long.

    Just my 2 cents…

  • I agree with everything said and appreciate all the comments, we had several discussions about making it more concise, adding text, adding room images in the beginning, in my next video of this type I will consider all of your valuable feedback to improve the product, I hope I never stop learning in this business.
    thanks Heath
    P.S. Fred, I just bought a steadycam because I follow your post whenever I can and get it. 🙂

  • Hey Heath: Question. I am not a Realtor, but I have done videos for apartment complexes, etc. and was told unequivocally that NO people can be shown under any circumstances. Fair housing laws or something to that effect. I was even told that shooting someone from the back (a person on a treadmill in the gym, for example) is absolutely forbidden. I’ve been told this a couple of times by various people, so I’ve avoided including anyone except an agent and/ or homeowner in the videos.

    I’m working on a very large 18,000 sq ft estate video, and we were discussing just this weekend staging a fake “party” (with agents from the office) on the outrageous deck that overlooks the mountain views, etc. as it is so large there is no perspective really – even with their furniture out there (it could easily hold 200+++ people.) That objection to showing people was raised again by the agent…..

    Any ideas regarding the legal aspect of including people in these videos?

  • I too am very curious to see if the video helps sell the home. Two days of production time represents a large investment of time and money. Please post a follow up if the home sells. Good luck and Cheers!


  • Fred, sounds like a local MLS rule, some local ordinance, or misinformation.

    When I read your question I immediately thought about the recent Quentin Bacon video that was featured on this blog. It showed a party.

    I would look into it. It is surprising how many agents and office personnel in my mls think you can’t link youtube videos ect. I called the executive director of our mls several times so I could be crystal clear. Our mls only limits branding and that will be gone in 2 years.

    I suspect that allot of branding and other restrictions on MLS systems will be removed as the boards get frustrated with trying to police them and realize that people will just see the same videos on ect.

  • I almost forgot, there is a subtle twist to the story in this video. I don’t think anyone has mentioned it yet. I don’t want to give it away. It is not just about the house. Can anyone guess? If not I need to work on my cinematic storytelling skills.

  • Beautifully produced.

    I didn’t realize Aaron Copland’s music is out of copyright:

    Was this issue considered and, if so, how was it resolved? Was the music licensed for this clearly commercial use?

    The whole debate over video length has been resolved by viewers in our experience with more than 2,000 real estate videos. Length is not an issue if the home is interesting enough. We’ve had videos go over 10 minutes and be watched.

    If anything, potential viewers make assumptions about short videos, concluding that they’re just another dumb slide show, and avoid watching them.

  • Joe, Yes the music was purchased royalty free. Thanks for the update about video length, It reminds me of another recent article that suggested that the video length issue not as important as was once thought.

  • I really LOVED it. Great idea. It felt homely, and the film gave me an insight of what it would be like to live there as a family. I think it showed enough to make an interested buyer ask the broker for more info. Defo inspirational!!!

  • Thanks for the response, Heath.

    Beyond debating video length there’s another issue that real estate agents need to put behind them: how much information to give potential buyers.

    As someone who successfully pressed major brokers (many of them our longtime clients) to provide prospects more info – going back to the not so distant days when they withheld address and price info and supplied only annoying headlines – I can tell you that the jury is in. More is unquestionably better, and produces more qualified prospects. My company, Data Based Ads, has produced many millions of individual print ads for major brokers and newspapers throughout the country. More info = more and better results. Consumer infatuation with Redfin, Trulia, Zillow and other sites that give them more info bear this out.

    The notion that consumers can be manipulated into calling for information that should have been supplied becomes increasingly laughable every day. Anyone who thinks that’s the case is living in a fantasy world.

  • I like the idea of thinking outside the box, but as others have said I think this video was too long and focused too much on people instead of the house. But if it had the same production quality with people as background elements (just walking by, in the background, or whatever), I think it would be much more effective. (And if it did focus less on people, the length may be fine.)

    @Fred Light: In regards to showing people, I think you can follow the default of US Law: you would need a model release for everyone in the video. (But that’s mainly just to CYA, since it’s safe to assume that everyone in the video was aware of what was going on.) As for the fair housing stuff, I don’t know, but would agree that it’s probably either misinformation or local MLS rule. It might be worth looking into, though, just to be safe.

  • Martin: I was “told” it was a Fair Housing Law of some sort, but I just did what the client asked and shot only empty rooms without people. Didn’t want to go down that road. But she was adamant about it and said it was a very strict law that she must abide by. (It didn’t sound like it had anything to do with the MLS).

  • Fred: In that case, the even older default applies: the customer is always right!

    (It’s still an interesting question, though, and might be worth researching for future reference — I’ve seen people being used in other (relatively high-end) RE videos as background elements.)

  • That theme is not Copland’s. It is from an old Shaker hymn called Simple Gifts.
    Personally, I find that particular music to be somewhat heavy handed in this context, a bit too dominating, though I think something in a lighter traditional vein would be apt here.

  • As an agent, I’ve been told to just avoid people in photos and videos. Something about being representative of the area. Here’s an article that I found that states the same. It’s not an official governmental article, but it covers the main point of what I’ve been taught.

    Our MLS also prohibits any people in any of the photos or videos, as well as a youtube link. We can link to a virtual tour or video tour that meets specific criteria. But then again, we also have a 640×480 limit on photos still!

    But I do like the production value, with one exception. When the song loops, it skips. It should have been trimmed to the ending of a prior verse or chorus, or other logical stopping point, then started back up again. Even that cross faded would be just fine.

  • David,

    You’re correct and perhaps not. See

    “The song was largely unknown outside of Shaker communities until it became world famous thanks to its use in Aaron Copland’s score for Martha Graham’s ballet Appalachian Spring, first performed in 1944. Copland used “Simple Gifts” a second time in 1950 in his first set of Old American Songs for voice and piano, which was later orchestrated. ”

    Are you certain that the arrangement of the simple melodic line is not Copland’s version as scored for piano?

    Without wandering into the complexities of that, my point was simple. I’ve seen agents blithely unaware of the realities of copyright law, and have also seen them go into belligerent denial when apprised of those realities. Heath was apparently sensitive to the issues.

    I’ve turned away business from agents who’ve requested us to use music in our videos. I’m firmly of the opinion that music has no place in real estate video, even if it were possible that some portion of the target audience wouldn’t be turned off from the home by the music. It detracts from a focus on the home and signals a lack of confidence in it.

  • Music can really add an extra dimension to the story/video, as long as its blended in artistically. I see it as being part of the film-making/story-telling process. What Heath chose was a perfect compliment to the film, as it helps (it did me) heighten the emotions while watching it. Same with people – that little girl getting out of bed instantly put a smile on my face because I could see my 2 year old daughter doing that when she’s older (and I cant wait!!!). It was the same feeling with other scenes. If you can bring about such emotions in buyers who are looking in the area promoted, i’m confident that you will get people through the door. Also what this video has done (in my mind) has given potential buyers a sneak preview into what they too can experience living there – and that combined with a viewing in person is certainly a huge plus.

    There is an an abundance of royalty free music out there, just like this piece, and Ive never understood why they aren’t widely used in property videos. Some sites sell ‘soundalikes’/’similar to’ music. Its far better than usual stuff used. In addition to so many royalty free websites out there, many artists themselves are allowing their music to be used in videos as such (ie. youtube) in exchange for credit given.

  • Heath great job. Music and sound is , they say is 50% of the video/film, its like have a silent movie so as not detract from the story, just would not work. Music and sound helps create emotion. As heath eloquently put it early, this video wasn’t put together for entertainment but help a potential buyer, vision themselves living and maybe raising a family there . Having people in the production also helps establish room sizes which can often be misleading in stills. As for avoiding people in video due to restrictions. From what I understand is that if the talent does nor speak sing or dance a model release form should be all that’s required. Anyhow your local model agency will confirm this and I am sure in the future the talent will be properly compensated if not financially then mutually for material usage

    Great production Heath

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