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What Should You Charge For Property Video's

Published: 02/05/2011
By: larry

Bjarne "Kris" Haug, of New Orleans
posed a question last week about property video pricing. Kris is thinking about expanding into the property video business and wants to know what to charge. Great question, many real estate shooters are adding video to their list of services and want to know about pricing.

Here was my response to Kris:

  1. Video has a much higher perceived value than stills because there are fewer people doing it and it takes more skills and equipment to produce video.
  2. There is a huge variety in what it makes sense to charge for a property video because of the variety of levels of production complexity and production quality. People use the term property video for everything from a set of stills made into a video with Ken Burns panning to a production with models, script writing, dollies, jibs, cranes and thousands of watts of continuous lighting. These are hardly comparable.

So what I've decide to do to get at this question is to give some data points that I know of and do a poll so all you gentle readers can give your inputs. Here are some data points that I know of:

  1. Fred Light in Nashua, NH, who I would guess has done more walk through videos than anyone on the planet, has a pricing page here. Fred says his shoots average $600 USD for narrated walk through (see Fred's detailed comments below in his comment). I believe Fred uses a Canon 5DmK2 and a Merlin Stabilizer. Fred does excellent quality and makes it all look easier than it is.
  2. The crew in Brisbane, AU did this property video in 2008 for $8,800 AUD. This is one of my all time favorites. The production on this video is way more complicated than just a walk through.
  3. Just last week I featured this video that Allan Mackenzie in Brisbane did for $700 AUD. The post Allan gives many of the production details.

So here are the rules for the poll below:

  1. The poll is for real video only, NOT Ken Burns panning on stills.
  2. The poll is about video tours with narration of some kind.
  3. If you are willing to tell everyone about your level of production that you do or even an example and what price you charge I think that would be useful to everyone.

Thanks for everyone's participation.

[polldaddy poll="5000520"]

3 comments on “What Should You Charge For Property Video's”

  1. As you mentioned, it is hard to gauge a general pricing on house video with a simple poll such as this. WellcomeMat tried to do the same a few years back without success. There are too many factors, such as length of video, amount of features, size of the home, location (is your business located in Nebraska or is it located in San Francisco), travel time for yourself, whether the realtor appears in the video (takes a lot more time to film), etc.

    I have been creating real estate videos since 2003 and the formula we found to work best in regards to pricing is relative to the listing price of the property. While we start at $300, we have never sold any package that small, averaging $600 for most homes and sometimes fetching $1500-$2000 on the very high-end homes. We tend to film more beauty shots for the higher-end homes and more creatively put it together, while the lower end pricing allows any realtor to get into the video game.

    Also consider that these videos tend to lead to up-sells in other types of videos, like promoting the agent and brokerage.

    One thing to consider about pricing, make sure you can live on what you are charging. I have witnessed so many people jump into this business over the years and fail very quickly because they were charging too little and not accounting for all of the expenses involved with business running basics. People tend to think that they can charge less than others to remain competitive. To remain competitive you simply need to do solid work with excellent customer service. The money will follow after that.

    Love your site and have been reading your posts for years!
    Ted Banucci
    Last Cut Homes
    San Jose, CA
    Twitter: @lastcut

  2. Larry - great topic! I think incorrect pricing is what kills most people's attempts at real estate video. If you price yourself out of the market, this is a hobby, not a business.

    If you're looking to make real estate video a viable, profitable business, you have to first determine the pricing threshold for your particular market. Obviously, an area with an average home price of $100,000 is not going to be able to command a price similar to an area with an average price of $400,000 - that just makes common sense. Understanding that (literally) far less than 5% of Realtors will ever use video, if you're shooting 1 video every other month, you're doing this as a hobby, not a business (which is fine if that's your intent!). If you think it's difficult to sell professional photos to Realtors, try selling video! As many know, I refuse to market to Realtors. It's just a wasted effort. I haven't done any direct agent marketing in years, yet 99.9% of my client base are Realtors.

    Once you've determined the top price point for what the majority will pay for video, THEN you need to structure your product. Of course, you may get that odd job that will pay more and want something different and more creative, but you have to look at the mainstream for your pricing if you want to work every day. Fit the product to the price point, not vice versa! Video editing can be very tedious, very time consuming, very CPU intensive... oh, did I mention very time consuming???? If you're spending an hour driving, 2+ hours shooting, 3+ hours editing, compressing, uploading, etc... and charging $150..... you're better off flipping burgers... You have to do the math!

    Developing a product for the price is THE single best piece of advice I would offer. My videos (there are few exceptions) are based on a template. I have thousands of videos all over the web... .pick one, look at it.... pop in YOUR house, and that's what YOURS will look like. It's that simple.

    The benefits are many: I shoot to edit - since I shoot everything in exactly the order of the video, editing is very quick. I know what the order is because they're all the same! There's no question in the agent's mind (they've seen samples - they know exactly what theirs will look like). I don't haul around cranes, jibs, lights, etc. I need to spend 20 minutes to 60 minutes (a very large house) shooting video of the property.

    I do NO client previews. I do NO client edits (unless I make an error, of course). If the client or seller wants changes or corrections, I charge $100. (virtually never happens!) I have two super fast computers with 16GB of RAM. I have a fiber optic web connection jacked up to the top upload speeds. And I multitask like a crazy man.

    The minute you start doing custom work, changing your workflow, etc., the time in post increases SUBSTANTIALLY. With this templated system, I can (and do) shoot 3-5 (and sometimes up to 7!) homes a day... and most include stills as well! (I'm off right now to do six shoots...) Stills are sent to the agent at the end of the day, video is posted the next day. When I'm super busy, it may be the day after, but that's rare.

    The other advice: Make sure you keep in mind that you're marketing YOURSELF as well as your client. I upload EVERY video to about 8 video sites, and once every week or so to Facebook, all which have a link to my website (as well as the agent's site). My name, URL and phone number is at the end of EVERY video. Make it easy for that

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