Using Video For Property Marketing

August 25th, 2016

VideoMarketingJack in Florida asks:

I am thinking of adding videos to the services we provide for real estate agents. I am curious of how much in demand videos are elsewhere and how they would be incorporated in virtual tours. Would it be best to take a short video of the exterior features and then only shoot the highlights of the interior to show the flow? We would then provide stills of the exterior and interior as we currently do. Any suggestions are appreciated.

Some virtual tours accommodate video clips but this is not the generally most effective use of video. One way to use video clips in virtual tours is to have a short personal statement (see this example) or comments from the listing agent.

The power of video in property marketing is it allows you to create an emotional connection with the viewer. Doing this well is much more difficult than shooting stills and presenting them in a virtual tour. Because good property video is so much more challenging than shooting stills you must charge more than just shooting stills. This is undoubtedly why video is used mostly in marketing upper-end properties. A great set of examples of property video that works is the past winners of the PFRE Property Video Contest. A recent post on getting started in property video is here.

Share this

27 Responses to “Using Video For Property Marketing”

  • I find it is one of the MOST important parts of a RE marketing package. Here is what we are doing that includes video as a way to “show how the property and lifestyle feel” the stills and pano’s show how it looks but don’t make that emotional connection like video does.


  • @John.

    It would help if the voiceover actually pronounced Bradenton correctly. Also just an observation but she says “Anyone for brunch” at the video close-up of the sliding barn door. The voice-over timing might be a little off.


  • got it from Fiverr and requested the correct “Bradenton” this isn’t listed i have a few days…lol

    I am going back to see if I have more kitchen footage

    I shot the video before the script was written by the RE agent and then sent off to vix-over people so I am going to try and make it work. I hate working in that order but you know how it is with agents not always doing thing in an order that makes sense….lo

    thank you for the tips

  • @Gavin – ok fixed the timing of the “anyone for brunch” waiting on vix-over chic to get me correct “Bradenton”

  • I think that the pfre video contests showcase some amazing videos and i love them, but I still do not get the use case scenario video i see quite often. I understand the emotional connection but that goes against the aspect of hiding family photos for photography. Those too are an emotional connection and that’s why I thought we told homeowners to put them away for photography.

    The use case….We all know how to use a home, or how we use a home. We don’t need to see someone swimming in a pool within a real estate video to know how you swim in a pool. Apple showcases a use case for someone using their products because not everyone knows how to use an iwatch. (Or how they would use an iwatch). I just do not get it with video in real estate.

    My clients (re agents) and I discuss the stats behind video. I don’t have time to cite them but the scope is.

    More marketing exposure

    Increased seo.

    Offering their sellers services other agents do not.

    Video is easier to consume

    If a picture is worth 1,000 words than a video is worth a million.

    Videos are linked to higher sales on products.

    Demand of video is higher (twitter now has video, and snap chat)

    If needed I can add the current video stats when I have some extra time. I just wanted to provide a different prospective on reasons for video. I’m just super confused on why it’s all about the use case and emotional ties. A family member of mine is struggling to conceive with their spouse. If they saw an re video of a prospective home with kids playing around in it, then the emotional connection just got ruined and they might be turned off.

    If anyone can shed some light on use case and emotions, please do. Again, just want to provide different reasons for vids.

    Lastly, this blog is amazing, extremely helpful and full of talented creatives that are really kind for sharing their tips, technics & secrets. Shout outs to everyone (esp Larry) that contribute to the pfre blog.

    @John. The virtual tour is really nice! I like it a lot! The video would not load but I’m on my phone. Might be why. T mobile too lol. Never helps.

  • @Aaron – realtor dot org did a study were some 80 something percent of people that watch RE video watch them for the lifestyle and the things of that nature.

    I live in FL and people are buying lifestyle here more-so than other places. It really isn’t as much about the 4 was as it is what you do on the property and in the area.

    Most of our buyers are transient (from up north, canada or europe) so we try and connect with them with experiences that they had when they were here or places like here when they were on vacation.

    The same reason that people do virtual staging to show the inside of the homes is why you do lifestyle for whats outside the home. People see activities that they connect with and they project that thought activity to them and their families.

    We come from a background of international marketing campaigns for major companies so we aren’t marketing this through the eyes of a real estate photographer as much as we are through the eyes of seasoned marketing pros. (Taylormade, wendy’s, Asics, Wendy’s, California Almonds, Payboy, MTv to name a few of the campaigns we put together)

    People buy off emotion period. This is why you see a lot of humorous or heartfelt commercials on TV. Nothing connects as fast as humor then other emotions. Its hard to do funny videos for RE (although there is Humor in the one I posted) so we go for other forms of connections.

    You HAVE to be a good story teller first to do this. If you are a photographer that just so happened to find the video button on their DSLR, you probably won’t be able to do this at first and the marketing won’t be effective.

    here are some examples of companies making emotional connections to the viewer:

    We use video like a movie trailer – it has a bit of tension, release and a call to action – it isn’t about telling the whole story but building interest and then the call to action is calling the agent after they already have a connection.

    here is another example of that:

  • I agree that video is important for several reasons in the marketing (both the photographer’s and Realtor’s business) and there are so many avenues it can be shown beyond the traditional MLS. The submissions on the PFRE Video Contest are wonderful, however, my biggest frustration is feedback on beginning efforts. The PFRE Video For RE Flickr group is essentially dead and I have been tempted to submit my first video attempt to the Contest group just for feedback.As I learned from the simple video clips of action sequences used in Tourbuzz, I gained experience to eventually create a full video. In hindsight, I learned a lot from it, from simple stuff like use a storyboard (I missed a room shooting around brokers playing pool and had to use a still with ken burns effect (Grrrrr) on a major room. At 5 minutes, too long…but how to handle their insistence on every room. This one has music only and want to develop additional of other properties with voice overlay and owner interview style for my website for different pricing levels. Drone work was provided by the owner but I did reverse the fly-out clip seen at the end for the flying-in transition as I then walk through the door with the broker pulling it open.

    Here is the video I was referencing as my first attempt.

  • Jon, I like that video. In 2008 I was hired to do a bunch of videos but they were fairly low budget. I did many of the things you did with a VO and such. A video without voice is really missing an opportunity to tell the story. So kudos to you. Yes, you piece is an actual marketing video. Looks to me that it’s at least a half day shoot unless you’re also going out to each of the “city” locations to grab a shot. Plus you’re bringing in “actors” and such. This video isn’t cheap. Not nearly as many houses on the market that can afford this type of marketing.

    My only feedback is that it seems to skip some of the details that really make that house stand out. Perhaps some of the stats like size, number of rooms, etc. You mention a exercise room but nothing of the bathrooms and only one thing of the kitchen. I would think a few of those details ala MTV Cribs or Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous would help me desire the house more. Do your agents push back on that?

  • @trevor No they don’t because I sell it to them with the mindset you want the people that watch to “wish they could see, know more” which it obviously is working if it left you feeling this way. It is like the old McDonalds “you deserve a break today at McDonalds….” and if you know anything about music, the chord never rests (it leaves you of a feeling of you need something to complete your feeling) in their case it is a big mac. MTv cribs is shot as an entertaining documentary and details are needed. this is more of a movie trailer concept with call to action. For other agents and people wanting details the video is embedded in an iGuide tour which gives every detail you could possibly want – example –

    the pushback usually comes from the actual home-owners as they have an emotional attachment to the details of their home and its interior. we sometimes have to shoot in order to appease them rather than just concentrate on the end user.

  • @Larry
    It’s not a bad first video. A few comments that are just my opinion which you can take or leave:

    1 – The video looks really jerky especially on the pans. It may be a frame rate issue with IPlayer, camera, or export setting.

    2 – The opening drone sequence could use a little work to add more drama. You might consider starting up high and then going lower to reveal the house. Also some of the shoots looked tilted slightly. Also, the straight down shot of the roof rarely looks good.

    3 – Watch your reflections. There were a few times I could see your face, hand, gimbal, etc. A lot of the sequences were fine up to that point. Just cut it before the reflection. It really takes the viewer out of the emotion if they see the Behind the Scenes Stuff.

    4 – I like the person playing pool. It would have been better to show more stuff like this. Someone swimming in the pool, cooking, lounging, etc.

    5 – Have someone clean the pool. Nobody wants to see leaves in the pool.

    6 – Too long. Cut some of the sequences out or down. Hit the main rooms and get out. If the client wants every room show them for a short time each. Ideally 2 – 3 minutes is a good length.

    7 – Consider a Voice Over. This will really set it apart. A VO telling me what I’m looking at will help.

    8 – Wider lens. There are a lot of shots that are just of a chair. I want to see that chair with the room. If I’m buying the house, I don’t care about the furniture, I want to see the rooms.

    Just a few thoughts. Hope it helps. Overall a good first video, with a few tweaks you will be producing great videos that will have realtors wanting more. Have a great day.

  • Been doing RE video for 5 years and the average home price I shoot is about $500k (a little above average price in my market). It’s not just for the high end. HERE IS THE SECRET, agents will pay $$$ if it helps them get listings. This is not about effective RE marketing, It’s pure agent to seller sales. If you learn how to TEACH your agents how to use video to close listing appointments then you will be in Fat City. Think about it, if an agent uses one of your property videos in every listing presentation, then they will order your service with every listing. Even a $500k sale will generate $12-15k in commission, which provides plenty of room to invest in your service. The agents I service close 90+% of all listing opportunities, in large part to the unique media/marketing services they present. When I started doing video my work was horrible, don’t let that stop you. With time and feed back your quality will get there.

    Bottom line is no matter how good your work is, video services do not sell themselves. Start with a strategy on how to market and let the product catch up.

  • I’m going to open up my ugly closet in case it might help an aspiring videographer. This is one of the early videos I made about 3 years ago. At the time I (and the agent) thought it was the bomb, now I cringe when I see it. One of the most valuable tips I received over and over again was to SLOW DOWN…
    [vimeo 90359682 w=640 h=360]

    Here is some recent work. Nothing fancy, just a tripod, fluid head and drone…
    [vimeo 175963361 w=640 h=360]
    2000 Morning Mist Dr, Pilot Hill | 3 bed | 2 bath | 1,614 sqft | 5 acres from Loft360media on Vimeo.

  • @Jon. Yeah, that makes sends from a destination area such as florida, cali, vegas with > $.5 million homes but I think that’s the minority for most of us. I completely agree that storytelling is 100% necessary with video. Its actually why we have video in the first place. John, your video is awesome, but the first thing my girlfriend did was skip the family and go straight for the house shots. I feel that people do virtual staging simply because an empty house looks boring just as Brandon put it as “8 – Wider lens. There are a lot of shots that are just of a chair. I want to see that chair with the room. If I’m buying the house, I don’t care about the furniture, I want to see the rooms”. Agents are not selling furniture but instead the home it resides in.

    Its easy to strike an emotion with a use case but within homes, they are just not cutting IMHO. We just all know how we utilize a home and for the most part, its standard across the board. Now if we were marketing a product that offered a new level if service that altered the way we perform actions, a use case is necessary. We all use iPads differently though which is why apple showcases a specific use case about their products. I use mine for adobe and one-note whereas my mom uses hers to surf the net and FaceTime.

    I completely agree with you about the less is more approach as we are actually selling the desire to view the house in person. Again, excellent video and I want to try that approach sometime to see the reactions I receive.

    @Jeff, you hit exactly what I am saying but closing a listing appointment using video as one of an agents services is actually a form of marketing. its just person 2 person marketing and not mass marketing (communication).

  • To me, this would be like being a foot surgeon and trying to become a brain surgeon at the same time.

  • @Aaron Smith – I feel compelled to reply to your comment regarding storytelling videos for real estate as I am an advocate for them. The comments you made are shared by many others in the field but mostly those resisting to take their marketing to the next level due to the cost, experience and amount of time involved. Companies get comfortable doing what they’re doing and when something new comes out it’s instinctual to reject it or pass it off as just a fad for fear of having to change and adapt, but it’s that mentality that will eventually cause some companies to fade into the background. I’m not saying you’re one of those people or businesses but for a creative person in a creative field with your education, it surprises me that you of all people don’t understand these videos.

    You say that you don’t need to show people how to swim in a pool so why show it? Well I could say you don’t need to show people how to drive a car so why show commercials with people driving cars? The answer is this….people need to feel like they are the person or that it’s their family in this case in the video living a perfect life. When you see Matthew McConaughey driving in his Lincoln, guys want to be that cool, so they imagine themselves as that cool and feel the need to buy a Lincoln. It sounds ludicrous but it’s proven and it works.

    Before DSLR’s video capability, creating commercials for homes wasn’t possible without spending boatloads of cash but now it’s proving to be within reach and more and more forward thinking realtors and film makers are heading in that direction especially on homes priced in the millions of dollars where it makes sense with the commissions earned….more money equals larger marketing budget. It’s also a great business move based on the fact Real Estate will always be there as will multi million dollar homes all competing against one another for a very few buyers. The more of these videos that pop up, the more they will see them online and want their house to be showcased this way and to know their realtors aren’t cashing in on the sale with minimal investment themselves and as a realtor to bring this to a client shows you’re putting your money where your mouth is.

    I have done three high end shoots with actors to date and so far the first two sold within a week of the video release and prior to that they sat stale on the busy market we’re experiencing right now. That speaks volumes for “stats” on the subject. While these types of videos are not for everyone, there is absolutely a market for it so I hope this helps shed some light on why they are popping up more and more. It’s storytelling 101 and in this case is virtual staging of a home, not just furniture, but life in the home. One more thing, I’m sorry for your friends as I know how difficult that can be, so I’m sending positive vibes their way.

    @Jon Stewart – If I had a dollar for every time you mentioned studies I’d be rich. Not once in the many times you’ve referred to this study in other posts have you shared the link to the study. I have searched the site and cannot find any such study. Please share this information so we can all view the particulars on this study….how many people were interviewed? Where were they interviewed? I find it very hard to believe someone is going to buy a home that they don’t even see just because a video says “hey you can go to the park and kayak here if you buy the house we’re selling.

  • You would have $4 and in one of the posts it knows to the article.

  • @Jon – Obviously I missed that one could you please share the link to the article?

  • All great comments above and interesting examples to view. But while I vacuum up all the tips on how to make RE Videos better (I say that since I am new to video despite having been a still photographer for decades) what I am trying to find answers to is once the video is made and web ready, what do you do with it then? How do you market with it other than having it on Vimeo or YouTube, stuffed along with stills on a Virtual Tour like Tourbuzz and linked into a clients site? How exactly does video reach out and touch someone? How do you get it out in front of people’s eyes? What tools do you use?

    I have produced a variety of videos. Some are very short just showing the “lay of the land”, some full overages of location, property and dwellings and structures with voice over, some with just a few clips of things that are difficult to shoot with a still such as a small but delightful bathroom. Most have been commissioned just to convince the property owner to list with my client. But while that is a great selling point for RE video, I think the video should also contribute to the actual sale of the property. Just how to do that I don’t know and have a hard time finding. Any suggestions?

  • Well said Matt! While we don’t use actors in our videos, we spend a lot of time with our agents walking through the home and trying to highlight the features – and hoping to be entertaining. It is hard – and not many are willing to do it.

  • @Matt, Vic DeVore kindly provided the link in a previous post

    And some discussion here

    Some great advice and comments above but I can imagine for someone just starting out in RE video this all may seem a bit overwhelming :0

    The original question from Jack in Florida, “I am curious of how much in demand videos are elsewhere and how they would be incorporated in virtual tours. Would it be best to take a short video of the exterior features and then only shoot the highlights of the interior to show the flow?”

    Given the discussion above I would suggest that there is already significant demand in Florida for RE video – but often times you need to create your own demand.

    Was it Steve Jobs that said, “people don’t often know what they want until you show it to them”?

    There is so much info online regarding the benefits of RE video – start sharing that with your existing photography agents/clients, show them what their competitors are doing – educate them.

    Offer to do a FREE video for them, but you don’t need to incorporate drone footage and lifestyle stuff TO GET STARTED – just get started. Invest five dollars with Fiverr and make them a video bumper. Show them why they should have their own YouTube channel. All the info you need is out there.

    With your first few videos just try and expand what the potential buyer maybe can’t see in the stills – yes, try and show the flow of the home – show the trees blowing in the wind, the sounds of the birds, get some movement in your shots – add some music, there’s plenty of free stuff online if you look. Spend the money on better music once you get established – but give the buyers INFORMATION. Try and reflect on your own buying habits when telling the story of a home. How do you buy your equipment? Do you only want to see half of the new features in that lens or camera review your watching? Work on becoming a proficient story teller and all the ‘fluffy’ stuff later.

    But that’s just my opinion and our vids break all the ‘rules’ – they’re too long, we show everything, you can shoot holes in my white balance and colour correction etc – but our sellers and buyers love ’em!

    Oh, and one last thing – watch LOTS of real estate videos.

  • Thanks Brandon for the feedback. Thanks for the feedback. I thought I had gotten my reflections out but guess missed a couple. Tried not to be in there in the first place but not always possible. Surprised that I kept the angles to keep out od that mirrored wall in the dining room. I actually have a still 4 point direct into the mirror that is one of two the considering to submit for the open category November POTM. Have a lot of rolling shutter and part of the reason for the slower tempo music so could take the pans slow. Thought I was shooting at 24p/60M but just looked at camera and was set at 30p/60m and confirmed by checking clip. Getting better with the stabilize since upgraded to Ronin-m vs glidecam but still get some wobble – even removing my shoes. My biggest problem was with software stabilization. The clip would be 95% there, and with the recent Adobe push to Premiere Pro and was worse with huge jumps if pans or simply changing direction/angle of walk. So much so that this was done entirely in FCPX.

    While for the customer, he was happy that every room included, but for me personally for my website will definitely be cutting it down. Could have cut some time by eliminating the low opacity still at end with contact info and put scrolling contact info halting at top of page during the final exit flight. What is frustrating and II haven’t figured out on google searches how to do is freeze final frame at end like will do on the timeline. That way it would freeze with the contact info. After rendering, and even on mp4 playback before uploading it always reverts back to the first frame.

    This one was audio only, and yes could have benefited with voiceover. I gave the broker the option to write the script but declined…and I am not going to write it or they would all sound the same. Actually, even better would be an interview style with B-roll to rooms owner talking about as it has quite a story. You may have noted the logo in the pool which highlighting was one of the requirements on the shoot. The owner (and the broker 4 years prior to her) were both Olympians and the logo has special meaning to them…but can you imagine the storyline adding value with her background. Unfortunately, I never met her as she is a gymnastics coach in high demand and has moved to California, so the home is essentially vacant with her furniture and maintenance level maintenance – thus the pool issues. Plus in Florida, there is a reason they put screens around the pool as debris will find it’s way in 5 minutes after the pool guy leaves.

    At any rate, I will cut down to 2-3 minutes for my usage and may add voiceover. That depends on what my other two for my website are as I want one with voiceover and one interview style, then of course one straight music. After 16 years in Toastmasters and for several years traveling around the country presenting daylong seminars will probably do my own voiceover with what my wife calls my “Barry White” voice.

  • Email jon @ thehoverbureau dot com and I will tell you how to freeze last frame in FCPX / that’s all I use

  • @Lyndon Davey – Thanks for sharing and shedding some light on this story and the stats.

    @Jon Stewart – Turns out from what I gather on the information posted, it was a study conducted not by but by NAR (national association of realtors) and Google based on search patterns by prospective home buyers in the USA only in 2011 in combination with a mail out survey to recent home buyers which 8501 people responded out of 93,502 mail outs. The survey was not included.

    The number is actually 86% that search for area specific videos however it’s not that there was a room full of people searching online for homes being asked the question “why do you watch real estate videos?” with a multiple choice answer.

    It turns out that according to their study 86% of home buyers searched for videos about a specific area to find out more about that area where they were interested in buying. They mention this as an opportunity for realtors to market their areas in videos which I am going to use this study to market the lifestyle video series I lease to agents as that is a powerful statistic.

    So Jon I suppose you are right in that people are very interested in knowing more about a specific area in 2011, however they are not watching real estate specific videos to find out more about the lifestyle of an area over the inside of an actual home, but I can see how when you believe that yourself, you could read that study in that way.

    The great news about the study is that 70% of people searched for tour specific home videos and keep in mind again this study is 5 years old which is a dinosaur in the online world and I’m certain that number has grown tremendously based on the exploding number of home specific videos out there now compared to 2011.

  • We can agree to disagree I suppose. Luckily my clients are more progressive than who you are dealing with. I get that most people don’t have the ability to tell good stories through video and it’s easy to try and act like something you don’t do doesn’t work.

    This stuff is so subjective and I feel lucky I have the clients that I do that have vision. It’s also very helpful to have a better marketing team on my side than I have seen assembled in this business.

  • @Jon Stewart – I’m not here to agree or disagree or argue, just to read facts about a claim that keeps popping up about studies done, without offering links to the studies so we can all read them ourselves to determine if in fact what you’re saying is accurate or not. The market is different everywhere and to say your clients are more progressive than mine is another ludicrous statement and robs you even further of any credibility. Speaking of credibility do you have a website Jon other than a Facebook page with information about you, your background, what you offer etc?

  • @Matt – I haven’t had to advertise for the past 16 years. This market in SW FL has always been one of the trendsetters in RE Photography, Videography because of the unique situation that we are in. We have way more luxury listings in a concentrated area than most anywhere else on Earth and most of our buyers are transient (from other states or countries relocating here). So Virtual tour culture has to be on the front edge and innovative here or you will fall flat on your face.

    I understand that what works here isn’t the same as everywhere else. Obviously we are doing something right and customers love it.

    i was here trying to help out. We see things from a perspective that is coming from a much bigger marketing view than just RE Photography.

    We has to take down website – we turned it on and it was like turning on a firehose – if you want credibility here are our BIOs:

    Robert Borges
    A writer by trade, Robert’s advertising journey started with an interview which took place on a logging boat on the Au Sable River in Northern Michigan fly-fishing for Brook trout.

    Since then he’s worked at stalwart agencies like Arnold, Hill Holliday, Mullen and scrappy creative boutiques like Vitro in Southern California. His experience spans categories and includes work for brands like the Washington Post, TaylorMade Golf, The NFL Network, Newcastle Beer, Ocean Spray, Asics the California Almond Board, and Orvis. Robert’s work has received its fair share of accolades and shiny trophies, but in spite of that, his mom never quite understood what it is he did for a living.

    Dan Madole
    The consummate art guy, Dan is a creative MacGyver of sorts. His first taste of big agency life and Budweiser came at DMB&B in St. Louis. Since then, he’s had the good fortune to ply his craft on behalf of dozens of iconic brands. His work for Amtrak, The Chicago Cubs and Kerrygold Irish Dairy helped catapult those brands into relevancy and advertising lore. He has worked at nationally recognized shops like Arnold and Hill Holliday and he’s won just about every accolade and award in the industry.

    Jon Stewart
    Jon’s had a lifelong passion for photography that started in 1980 and hasn’t let up. Along the way he’s worked as an event coordinator for Playboy, an on air talent for MTV and for the last ten years he’s been one of the preeminent real estate videographer/photographers along Florida’s gulf coast. Jon has a great eye and knows how to make properties jump off the screen.

  • What Matt says!!

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply