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What's Your Level Optimism About Real Estate Property Video?

Published: 14/11/2011
By: larry

I can't help noticing the huge variety of opinions that discussions of video always brings out. The discussion of video last week seems to have brought out this variety more than usual. I think it would be useful and fun to poll this subject so everyone can see the results.

There are several groups/levels (note these are the same as the numbered questions on the poll below):

  1. Those that are already doing video and are experiencing the reality that it is a powerful marketing tool.
  2. Those that recognize video as the next big thing in real estate marketing but are still working to add it to their repertoire.
  3. Those that have added it to their repertoire and are in the process of trying to sell it to agents.
  4. Those that are pessimistic that video is worth the time an effort.

For those at level 2, don't be discouraged, as many have pointed out shooting and editing video is way harder than shooting stills. There will be far fewer agents doing this than shoot their own stills but I predict we will see some technically competent Realtors shooting their own video with iPhone 4s. That's OK, it shouldn't be that difficult to deliver a product that looks better than most agent DIY efforts.

For those at level 3, these are hard times for agents (at least in the US and EU) and they are times that agents are less likely to expand their marketing techniques than when homes are selling like crazy. However, how well agents are doing varies widely even in the same city. Be persistant, selling new technology takes demonstration that the stuff works.

For those at level 4, last week several people sent me the this link to a new give-away on Creating Compelling video. When starts promoting a technology you know it's time has come. is talking about video now just like they were talking about still photographs back in 2000.

Take the following poll and let everyone know where you stand on real estate property video. I wish I could some how poll where you are located as well because my gut feel is there is an important geographic component to this data.

[polldaddy poll=5666829]

12 comments on “What's Your Level Optimism About Real Estate Property Video?”

  1. Great survey but only for RE photographers. I've got to believe that a lot of your readers are marketing savvy Realtors. How about a survey for us?

  2. @Jay- As an agent you can still vote just take the client side of the question:

    1-Using video to sell listings
    2-Thinking about using video
    3-Occasionally use video
    4-Pessimistic about using video

  3. Every other post here is about video. Video is the present . . . and it's surly the future. I don't feel there's a need to question the validity of video anymore.

    If you're not using it now, it's only a matter of time that you will. It's only a matter of time that every real estate agent will be using video. Technology to quickly separating agents apart. The public is demanding more for the commissions they pay. And video is just the next progression in marketing properties.

    Those agents that use video are rising to the top in production numbers. So lets stop questioning the validity of video and start discussions on how you can use it to make a living. I do.


  4. Great Post Larry! Charlie just hit the nail on the head. I am pushing forward quickly with my plan to offer video services. I believe our job as marketing partners is to follow technology closely and educate our clients about how to stay current. Agents, sellers, and buyers are all responding positively to the few videos that I have created. Now, as Charlie stated above, I have to figure out how to make $$$ by staying efficient and highly creative at the same time.

  5. Great, Larry, that your are looking into the whole video thing : I was asked for the first time a few weeks back whether I could throw in some video material for an editorial interiors shoot, so bit the bullet and invested this year's profits in a Canon 5DII and some continuous light sources, fluid tripod head and a slider/dolly. I then offered to shoot a property for a longterm RE client to see how he felt about it. It has been helpful getting his feedback: for example my first effort was basically slow pans across each room with the fluid filled manfrotto head: all very nice, but he said it was hard to see the difference between that and one of those animated sweeps of a still photo (like a 360 degree panorama). Now with the dolly (manfrotto) attached to my tripod and / or a sliding platform (Konova) I can create something more like a tour of the property which suggests someone is actually walking through it : only without the jerkiness! But it will be a long time I think before I can really go on the road with this technology for RE work : I need to come up with a set package which doesn't take forever to edit and with kit which is transportable for urban work. I aim to give clients about 10 seconds per room in an edited HD package with standardised music soundtrack, hosted on : no arty bokeh close-ups, just a straight tour with a wideangle lens! That'll be the only way to ensure I can offer this stuff and still turn a profit. Video's time will come and I am glad that I have made the jump but it's a longer term investment for me. Please continue to feature the subject in your great daily forum posts. Thanks, Simon.

  6. I am new to RE photography, but one can surely see that video is the future. I have not done a video yet, but all future gear decisions will revolve around the thought of producing video.

    Charlie, your work is really nice!

  7. A Summary of Modern Real Estate Professionals

    REALTORS are getting older, working longer, earning less and barely use social media, blogs and podcasts. They spend virtually nothing on their websites, receive virtually no leads from them, yet also close no business at open houses each week. They plan to remain in the business, while investing only $630 in training each year.

    This very simply answers the question as to how popular video will be for Realtors. It will be a niche market for sometime to come I'm afraid. Um, the web has been around commercially since about 1995.... and that appears to STILL be a niche marketing tool for the majority of Realtors! Over 90% of all real estate buyers and sellers start their search on the internet, yet only 34% of Realtors have their own website. 29% have a "page" provided by their broker. 38% have NO website and only 8% plan on getting one. Yet, I repeat, over 90% of buyers and sellers start their search on the INTERNET. Sort of seems like a no-brainer to me....

    And there's more.....

    When the lack of common sense and basic business logic makes you scratch your head in this industry, stats like this make it all too clear - sadly.

  8. We've been doing real estate video for 5 years now and have more than 2,000 videos online that have collectively been viewed more than 2,000,000 times. Our background was in consumer-focused real estate publications and websites, so we like to think we've learned a few things about what consumers, i.e. the people who will watch or not watch real estate video, actually want and watch.

    It's frustrating to see videographers and Realtors using video in a way that totally turns off consumers.

    Want to know how to turn off consumers? Follow's advice and keep it short and snappy. Throw in some dumb music and you've totally lost any hope of involving an audience. Will everyone please stop adding music to their videos? You're killing the audience and deterring people from watching any real estate video.

    Consumers have seen enough idiotic slide-show videos to view anything of 60 to 90 second length as of that genre and avoid watching it. Look at the view counts on YouTube if you need any confirmation of that. Take enough time to do a useful tour of the home and focus the agent on what can't be seen in stills or contained in MLS remarks.

    Among the lessons we think we've learned is that content trumps quality - big time. I'm not saying quality doesn't matter, only that it's the wrong priority in an area where trade-offs are necessary to do anything that's economically viable.

    Check out our primary video channel. It won't thrill the videographers, but the videos draw more views, on average, than any other real estate videos out there, and produce results. Isn't that what matters, or am I missing something?

  9. "...the web has been around commercially since about 1995…. and that appears to STILL be a niche marketing tool for the majority of Realtors!"

    hahaha That totally cracked me up!

  10. Joe has some interesting points. I don't yet see much viability in video. It's hard enough getting agents to pay decent coin for professional photos. Video is a rare luxury beyond what the vast majority of agents can afford or are interested in.

    Beyond this, while there are some very talented videographers here, the vast majority of RE videos are really just glorified, panning still photos with elevator music. I'm not sure what advantage these have over just going the Ken Burns route and making an animated slideshow of still photos. Agents consider these slideshows to be videos as well and often times the quality is higher since the photos have had post-processing.

    I think we're a long way away from videos being a prominent part of mainstream RE marketing. They just require too much constant attention whereas photos can be quickly previewed and skipped through.

    I've had 3 requests for videos in the past 2 years. This being in a highly competitive and high-tech market.

  11. Have to agree with Joe here. If you give buyers (and Realtors) lots of good, valuable ADDITIONAL content that they can't glean from the short MLS description, or the carefully crafted still photos, you create a product that buyers respond to (they don't want to waste their time driving all over the place viewing properties that don't meet their requirements), sellers respond to (they don't want to waste their time preparing the home for non-qualified showings) and Realtors respond to (they WILL spend the money if they see that the product offers substantially more value to their marketing strategy than stills alone).

    If a video only offers 10% more information than stills do, buyers won't care, and Realtors won't pay additional money for it over their photos. It's that simple. (And, watching water running out of a faucet and a ceiling fan spinning doesn't count for "substantially more information"!)

    If a buyer is seriously interested in PURCHASING a property, length is irrelevant. They watch these videos over and over and over again. They're engrossed and engaged. And they're paying attention. It's a first showing, the best "qualifier" out there! They're engaged in the "feel" of the property, the layout, how how the rooms connect, what the neighborhood looks and feels like, and the lifestyle they will be buying and living in should they choose this particular property. Oftentimes I have the sellers talk on the video about their love for the home, why they enjoyed living there, why they built the house a certain way, etc. Again, SO much more information than what can be gleaned from the simple listing... AND and the information that buyers want to hear and can connect with.

    The funny thing is I feel sometimes like I'm "selling and justifying" the value video to photographers on this forum and those providing marketing materials to Realtors - it's just such a no brainer to me. Trust me when I tell you, if you provide a good quality video that adds valuable additional content and value to the listing, and price your video fairly and affordably for your more successful Realtors, you don't have to sell anyone on this concept. My phone rings OFF THE HOOK - literally. All day, every day. All year long. In this economy, I'm having a terrific recession as are my highly successful clients who use me for almost every listing.

    You can find all kinds of reasons why video isn't a viable product for real estate, and I will give you a hundred reasons as to why it is.

  12. I'm thoroughly enjoying how many more people are talking about using video in the real estate business. Even more exciting however is actually seeing a handful of agents, brokers and brands creating high quality narratives which help tell the story of what it's like to live there.

    To me, that's the bottom line.

    A property listing gives you the basics about the home and surrounding area. Photos give you a visual glimpse of the home or area. Video puts you there unlike anything else.

    As consumers, many years ago, my wife and I watched a video about my current town and it helped us decide that we wanted to live there some day. It's been almost 3 years since we moved and love everything about it. Photos, listings and data came in way behind. Why? Because video helped us envision what it would be like to live there and experience all that the town had to offer.

    What Joe, Charlie and Fred are doing really helps people visualize their future home and community.

    To the point of length and quality, in my opinion, there should be some balance between the two. No end all be all answer here. But think about it this way:

    - There is a reason why movies typically run for a certain period of time - under 2 hours
    - There is a reason why movie trailers are not 5 minutes long.

    In the right situation, the attention span of your audience matters.

    But if you're video is so focussed and unique to a certain area and it's attributes - assuming the quality is not worse than the Blair Witch Project - as the potential home buyer or renter, I'm going to watch every second of it...over and over and even share it w/ friends and family for their opinions.

    Personally, I've made many videos in the past. It's about telling a story. Not just highlighting and regurgitating the obvious.

    I shoot a Canon 7D, T3i and HV30 as a backup. I'm all about the DIY DSLR video movement of storytelling and creating high quality narratives via my lens and helping our partners achieve the same.

    Chief Educator,

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