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What to Do When Your Realtor Client Wants to Give Your Video as a Gift to Their Client?

Published: 14/11/2018
By: larry

Diane in Colorado asks:

I had a client ask about giving my video to her clients as a gift. The way I see it, with regards to photography, is that the images have value to the agent beyond the listing i.e. can be used on their website/marketing as stock images so they would have to purchase a more comprehensive license for any images they want to use beyond the listing. But for video, because it is so specific to that property after the property has sold its only value (to the agent) is to serve as an example of the quality of marketing they offer to their clients which is also selling my services. I could charge a fee to put the video on a DVD for her clients but what is to stop her from doing that herself and undermining me in the process. Do I just say, "Sure, have at it"?

The video/photos you did for your Realtor client have value to their home seller clients because they likely have special memories of the property which the video and photos evoke. Back in the early 2000's when I shot stills and 360s for all my wife's listings, we were very frequently asked by the home sellers for the marketing photos. I would create a DVD that had all the marketing photos on it (that was before video was used in real estate marketing) and gave it to the home sellers as a gift. These gifts always turned out to be great marketing for us!

I would recommend that you create and provide the gift DVD so it is done professionally and has your brand and contact information on it. By the way, if you use the standard TV DVD format (as created by iDVD on Macs) for the DVD, it can be played on any DVD player and only geeks will be able to get the video/photo files off the DVD.

Charge your client a small fee if you feel you need to but having happy home sellers running around the world showing your work to their friends is great marketing!

There is probably a strong argument to be made that DVDs are soon becoming obsolete and the best way to create a gift like this is to have it in the form of an online tour or simply a YouTube video so that homeowners can see it on their SmartPhones. My grandkids' devices have no way of viewing DVDs!

9 comments on “What to Do When Your Realtor Client Wants to Give Your Video as a Gift to Their Client?”

  1. Just say, "What's a DVD anyway?" Then provide them with a YouTube or Vimeo link. They can download off that or link to it.

    Think of it as a gift to the realtor for giving you work!

  2. The last couple of posts have something in common....How can/should I squeeze a few extra dollars out of my work. From charging homeowners that had their homes burned to the ground, to those that are just looking to preserve memories of family life from years of living there....

    Kind of sad to see these questions that anyone with empathy would know the answer. But, hey, sure, you could make a good case that it is your work and you deserve every penny that it can generate....even if it means that your character moves down a few notches in the eyes of those around you.

    So to those that seem to have a hard time with should they or not charge....Look in the mirror and ask yourself, would you be pissed if the photographer that had photos of your property that burned to the ground, devastating you and your family wanted you to pay for them, or a home that your raised you children for years wanted to charge you....would you be put off?

    Greed is what causes a lot of problems, this is just one of them

  3. Like above, Where is the service, thats our business right? Probably they did offer you Some coffy and had a Nice chat, did they charge you? You have had send someone an invoice. Why always about more monies... when would you be happy is it ever enough? Show your clients you are happy too 😉 instead of grabbing theast pennies invest in small gifts for your clients under the line you all Will be happy

  4. Here is my take on this....
    When I started out I charged the realtor for a gift dvd of a slideshow / video of the images to give as a closing present to the seller. That got to be a pain relative to the money I made. Then I thought about the good will you could spread by openly allowing the Realtor to share the images with the seller for personal use.

    Since I use Smash deliver services I always announce right in front of the seller and realtor at the conclusion of the shoot that while I own the copyrights the Realtor has made arrangements for the sharing of the images and videos with the seller for personal use the realtor will forward the notification of delivery and they can share the images for personal use.

    The homeowners are always grateful. Some old folks cry. The Realtor looks good because I have given him credit for making arrangements. The product has value because I reinforce that I always own the copyrights. The Realtor gets reinforced understanding of copyrights. Both the Realtor and I get good will points that are worth a lot more than what I would make by charging for them.

  5. While not video, I take almost the opposite with photos, and as a variation, videos and tours. While gifts are normal at closing, rather than a DVD as a gift which is quickly discarded, I suggest a photo book with the last page a picture of them and a short (graphic jpg) note expressing the pleasure and privilege of working with them for the sale of their home. Not only does that preserve the memories of that time in their life, but is a coffee table book they show their friends who may be in the position of selling their home, or remember the gesture when they are. While I do have a source to sell the book through my Zenfolio account, they are not price competitive to other sources even at my cost where personally even I use other sources such as Costco. Never been asked but suggest they share the video/tour link encouraging the seller to post on their Facebook account hitting their friends.

  6. While I don't have a strong opinion one way or another as to charge, I think timing is everything. If you tell the home seller that their agent has made special arrangements at the end of the shoot all they hear is these are my photos so when the home doesn't sell and they hire a new agent the first words out of their mouth is "I have my own photos" and then you can see you good deed go to the crapper pretty darn quick. Time that good deed properly to avoid getting burned.

  7. I have always positioned myself as a 'marketing partner' for my clients (agents). I do a lot of things that promote THEM, which makes them like me more, and gets them more business, and at the end of the day, more business for ME.

    I actually strongly suggest to EVERY client that they purchase a bunch of thumb drives imprinted with THEIR logo on it (

    Assuming the sale of the house was for a positive reason (not a divorce, etc.) I suggest they put the BRANDED video on the thumb drive... one for the owners, and one for each of their children who grew up in the house. Give them as closing gifts. It's little upfront money for the agent, helps promote THEM, offers the owners AND their children a memory of the home they grew up in, the memories associated with that home, etc.

    Even if they pull the video off the thumb drive and put it on their computer or something, they STILL have the thumb drive with the agent's logo and contact information on it as a constant reminder....

    It's short money for the agent in regards to a closing gift, the seller is BEYOND THRILLED, and I have heard it brings many to tears.... they're THAT appreciative. Has a much greater effect than a gift certificate to some restaurant or something....

    You can only nickel and dime people to death so much. I would NEVER charge extra for something like that.

  8. Steven I have to strongly disagree.

    Did you read where I explained the copyright situation? I explain to them directly that I am allowing the Personal use. While I left it off here I do explain they cannot use them to advertise with another agent.

    On top of that, if they did do that, not only would I be all over them and collect from them my normal licensing fees. It has only happened on one occasion and I did collect. So instead of spouting of "well this might happen" I actually measure and quantify the good will vs the possible loss and actual loss. I have done this over 1000 time the past 2 years. Lost dollars ZERO. Good will thousands of dollars worth. One incident that I collected on and that incident is when the client went for sale by owner on Zillow after firing agent. I collected cash for the seller twice my normal rate. I let the Agent know I tracked down the jerk and made him pay. I refunded half of what I collected to the agent. Agent is now a client for life. That seller was happy also. He loved the images.

    I don't give Xmas presents to my agents, I give good will all year. Net gain for all three parties every time. I feel good doing it, the agent likes the thought, the seller appreciates it. All three have happy faces every time.

  9. I don't like providing a full suite of digital files to a seller, but I wouldn't be opposed to making some prints. The minimum at the lab I use is $15 and an 8x10 is around $3 with free next day delivery if I have the images submitted before the cut off time. For a small service charge to cover my time, the cost of a few of the best images would be pretty cheap. If agents want to use the prints as a "thank you" to the seller, we could buy some nice frames in bulk and they could deliver the print at closing.

    I caution agents to not give images to the sellers as it's a violation of their license and if the home hasn't closed escrow, the sellers may hand the images to another agent believing that since it's their home, they own the photos. If an exceptionally good client wanted to give the seller an image or two and I couldn't make a print sale, I could be persuaded, but not the entire gallery. I might even be talked into (with some extra payment) to do more cleanup of the image that have crossed the ethics line for listing photos.

    A video of a home somebody is moving out of sounds to me like vacation videos. It might be novel to see it once or twice, but it's a dead file after that. Do they invite people over and sit them down to show them where they used to live? Longevity of formats and devices is tough with video files. All of the people I know have a DVD/Blu-ray player but I can see that with the demise of the local video rental store, that they may be dying off. I was talking to the owner of the local second hand shop just yesterday and she told me that DVD's don't last long on the shelf unless they are those weird titles that very few people have ever heard of. So the media is not dead yet. Does YouTube or Vimeo drop files that haven't been viewed for some time? A new owner of the home might not be very happy to have a video tour of their home online if the address is listed or linked.

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