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Zillow Is Now Allowing Professionally Created Video To Be Added to Listings

Published: 17/12/2016

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Michele in Annapolis reports that you can now get professional quality edited video on Zillow listings. She says:

Hi all: Zillow is now allowing professionally created video to be added to listings. Agents or Zillow photographers must contact their reps, submit the youtube link via email and pay $149. A bit steep, but at least we have an option. They place it in the same position as the video taken with the app. Having video increases the ranking. Our videos also appear in our virtual tour link also. Having video increases the ranking. No getting around Zillow.

Click here or on the post image to see an example. Finally! Yes, a bit steep indeed!

John in Virginia asks:

I am a real estate agent here in Williamsburg. Have been using professional real estate photographers since 2003. Not sure if you have seen the Zillow feature to add video. It can only be uploaded from a phone. Does anyone have a workaround for this? My phone videos suck. I want to use the video shot by a professional. Seems like a silly feature but listings that have those videos are boosted by Zillow to the top of the search.

Zillow/Trulia have two ways to add video to their listings. Here are the guidelines:

  1. The listing agent can become a Premier Agent Direct Subscriber which, among other benefits, allows the agent to upload professionally produced video to the listing. Here's an example. Zillow calls this "enhanced walkthrough video". This costs a bundle. John says it could cost him $3500 in his area depending on how much traffic the listing generates.
  2. The listing agent can hire a Zillow certified photographer to shoot the walkthrough video on a smartphone App. Here's an example on YouTube. YouTube is not involved in the real thing.

I doubt there is any workaround for #2. Video walkthrough videos must be shot and uploaded using the features in the Zillow apps. However, regardless of who is shooting the smartphone video, the key to producing an acceptable walkthrough video is a quality wide angle lens and a quality stabilizer for the smartphone. Both are add-on equipment.

I can recommend the Zeiss ExoLens as a wide angle lens for the iPhone. Joe in Chicago recommends the Samsung wide angle lens for the Galaxy S7. I've not researched smartphone stabilizers yet. What do readers recommend as stabilizers? 

Larry Lohrman

24 comments on “Zillow Is Now Allowing Professionally Created Video To Be Added to Listings”

  1. I am a Zillow Certified Photographer and as a photographer you are allowed to charge whatever you want to do the 2 minute tours. They are imperfect, soundless but donraise rankings dramatically. They are going after the market of 30 days + on the MLS. I am also a broker who had a listing on page 3 of Zillow search and it boosted to #2 on page one. Searches went up and did the save rate by the consumers.

  2. A little confusion here, Jeanne is correct when it comes to a Zillow Certified photographer using a cell phone and the app to upload the short video to Zillow. They can charge whatever they want. What she is missing, is the the new policy where a professionally shot video can be placed in the Zillow back end instead of the cell phone video. For that privilege, it costs an extra $149..... on top of what the photog is charging.

    I do not see this going anywhere with this model.

  3. I have been doing this for about a month now, and it's extremely popular with my customers. They're getting great results from it. Zillow is embracing video like no other platform. As much as realtors hate Zillow, buyers love it. There is no question about that. And people are seeing great results from it. Agents who use video now already know the value of video in real estate, and they're more than willing to pay the $149 additional to get their listing placed high on Zillow - with the video at the forefront. These Zillow listings LEAD with a video, not a still photo. That is terrific!

  4. When did they start the backend upload, when I spoke to them this week on some improvements they can make, it was not mentioned as an option. Would love to know more info about it. Is this the agent Premier Status.

  5. Zillow does not charge a cent for short videos that are shot with a cell phone and uploaded through their app.

    The agent can shoot the videos themselves or have a photographer do it for them at whatever the photog wants to charge. The photog is not charged anything to upload to Zillow, so it is a total net gain. The condition is that they must use a cell phone and use their app to upload.

    Now, they have a beta test to allow agents that want to use their pro shot video in place of the cell phone video if they pay the additional cost to upload of $149. What is not clear though, is how long of a video they will allow. Add to that, that this is ONLY on Zillow and while I agree with Fred on the popularity of this program, I do not see most agents pay all the fees associated with pro video and then another $149 just to post on Zillow. Looks a lot like what tried to do with the hook to agents of becoming a "pro" member so that they could have the privilege of posting more than four photos on their site and or links to videos. Their model has lost a lot of luster in the last few years and most agents no longer play that game.

    So, the question is, since the pro video still will be added to all the distribution sites that farm the mls, is it worth it to pay the extra fee just to be the introduction option on just one site...Zillow.

  6. Before going on my rant here let me just say right up front, as a consumer and an active home shopper, I'm a big fan of Zillow. They've given us a better and more transparent home shopping experience and single highhandedly forced the real estate business into the technology age. Love them or hate them, they are here to stay and if you are an agent you need to get over that and learn how to play nicely with them.

    Zillow's end game here for video is to have differentiated content on their site. That's why you have to use their app if you want to upload it for free and they provide further encouragement by ranking listings with their videos higher in the home search returns. Pretty clever but some flaws in their logic as I see it.

    Is bad breath better then no breath???

    As someone actively shopping for a home, I've seen some of the videos shot by agents and would have to say they do more harm then good... Most are pretty awful and don't show the property in the best light (pun intended). I guess Zillow figured that out and are now encouraging professionally shot videos but once again, you need to use your phone and their app if you want it for free. There are however some shortcomings in phone shot video and their app. Even in the hands of a professional, due to the lack of editing tools and even more so then stills, it's good professional editing that makes the difference between a good and bad video.

    Further, in this this fast paced society of ours, I want to screen homes quickly and it's easier for me to do that by flipping through the stills then it is for me to take the time to watch a video. It's the quality of those stills that suck me in. Once interested in a specific home, I might take the time to view the video but if the video sucks then it could actually be a detriment. OK, so now agents have the ability to upload professionally shot and edited videos outside the Zillow app but they have to pay $149 for it??? Big disconnect here. Differentiated content is one thing but encouraging crappy differentiated content is another...

    I'm sure Zillow will figure this out eventually but in the mean time, you as a trusted adviser to agents need to position video carefully to them.
    - First and foremost and for the reasons mentioned above, it's good quality professional stills that suck people in.... That's where you need to spend the money first.
    - Yes, video can enhance your marketing and get you ranked up higher in the Zillow search returns but if not done correctly it could be a detriment and a poor reflection on you and the home.
    - Spend the money and have it done professionally and you can use it other places outside of Zillow.
    - Lastly, if you as and agent are spending money with Zillow as one of their Premier Agents, you might want to call and ask them why you have to spend an additional $149 to give them and their home shoppers a professional shot and edited video.

    End of rant 🙂

  7. Something new is coming - hold on tight and let it complexity roll out before you dismiss it. My suggestion is work on those video skills as they will come in handy in the near future.

  8. Actually, if you are a premier agent with Zillow, they have a new program where a pro video is INCLUDED at no cost, along with guaranteed areas, etc. One of my agents just put up 5 videos on his listings for free (not the cell phone videos). "Free" of course is relative as he's paying a monthly fee to them for this other program. But clearly he believes its worth it.

  9. Actually Larry, its "Michele from Annapolis" lol. As told to me and shown here from the Inman article, "The videos can run up to 10 minutes, and their opening and closing 15 seconds may include an agent or photographer’s branding. Occasional mention of agent/broker in audio throughout the video is permitted," said Zillow Group spokeswoman." The agents hate paying another fee, especially when already paying a monthly fee. Regarding distribution to Zillow for the virtual tour link, it is my understanding from my Zillow rep, that they are getting the feed from Coldwell Banker, not the MLS in our area. For my CB agents, I make sure that our virtual tour link is in the "first" position in MLS virtual tours (they allow more than one link") but sometimes I have to do it manually in the Brokers site because sometimes the Circle Pix generated slideshow is there first and I have to bump it out. The "joy" of technology.

  10. Interesting. I am not that familiar with the inner workings of Zillow but my clients are. So my question would be, based on what I think I take away from this, is that as long as the video is shot on a cell phone, it can be uploaded for free. You just have to also use the Zillow app, another thing I know nothing about. Does anyone else? If so, could you chip in and let us know the capabilities of that app? If I have it right, then perhaps we photographers should consider upgrading our cell phones to the latest, highest resolution models, buy a good quality wide angle clip on lens and a hand held stabilizer like the Osmo Mobile for $299 and at least give our clients a running chance of having a better quality of video on Zillow so at least if its there it will not down grade the quality perception that the high end stills have provided. Everything, after all, is perception. Perception drives reality.

  11. Peter, you have right, about the equipment and the consideration Zillow just wants a very short simple video to give the viewer a "feel" for the layout of the home. The app is simple enough for an agent to use and has NO whistle or bells to play with. It is there to simply find the home, record and upload the video.....NOTHING else. To do a decent job, you need to plan your shoot before you start.

  12. After investigating the Zillow trusted photographer program I signed up as a trial. After looking into it I decided no use proceeding seriously without a $300 gimbal/stabilizer and a $50-100 (at least) wide angle lens.

    As a realtor I used to include a walkthrough video, uploaded to YouTube. But some of my buyer clients hated these videos (most notably and firmly, my wife) for the very reason Gerry cites...takes buyers too long to screen listings. The Zillow app allows for aggregating multiple scenes. My intent is to not do the entire house, rather just the key front door, LR, Kitchen, MBR plus any other attractive room, then create a very short (-very-, much less than 2 mins) ___just long enough for Zillow to rank the listing high in their search,___ but not long enough to bore the viewer.

    Besides, I paid many thousands of dollars over a few years to Z for premiere status and "own" some zip codes. I always had acceptable ROI after the 97% trash leads. But the longer it went the ROI kept going down because once the agents got in and gained an advantage they would (1) raise the price, and (2) dilute the value received (e.g., increase the number of agents who share the leads from a single zip code).

    I eventually dropped the entire Zillow premiere program and exclusive zip codes when the whole Zillow relationship ROI went down and down until ROI became losses. I assume this trusted photographer program will follow a similar trajectory. So I consider this who new photog program is a temporary best.

  13. If you knew Zillow was reading this, what would you as photographers want from this program and what do you think it would take to make it work?

    For those on here that are RE agents.....same question / which direction would you like to see this program go in to make it work?

    Asking for a friend

  14. @Jon Stewart
    I am both an RE photographer and broker so...

    As a photographer, I see it as my client's job to publish the media to their desired marketing sites. I don't see there needs to be any involvement from the photographer/videographer. Perhaps I don't understand the "program" Zillow is creating.

    As a real estate broker, I am confused. Zillow does not charge me to upload my comments or photos to their site when I market a listing. Yet if I want to use a video of better quality than their mobile app can produce, they charge a substantial premium? Their site gets views based on the content it provides. 99% of that content is provided to them at no charge from the MLS syndication. I guess I don't understand why they are looking to charge a premium for content which will only help people stay on their site longer.

  15. I am going to call my Zillow contact to get a clear answer. I am a Certified Zillow Photographer but also an agen. I think we all need a good clear answer. I will update with answers.

  16. I'm really not a fan of Zillow at all. It's become a "necessary evil" in the marketplace as consumers believe their service helps sell homes, and want to see their listing represented on the site, but I have not found that the site actually facilitates many sales or listing leads, at least not in my market. Everything they do seems to seek to devalue the work of professional photography as a vital component of selling a home. Ever since the MLS boards in my area stopped syndicating the full listing and photo sets to Zillow (due to Zillow's insistence that the agents pay for a membership in order to be featured at the top of their own listing, as well as other reasons), Zillow has had to come up with ways to generate more content in order to position themselves as a unique or better source of information, especially now since much of what they get in certain markets like mine is "after the fact" as opposed to instantly syndicated, and with little exception, depends completely on feeds from individual brokers or delayed feeds from MLS boards.

    Problem is, as per usual, they're not actually generating any content and instead are now creating the illusion that someone being a "Zillow Certified Photographer" means anything or has anything to do with listing photography (my understanding is that it means even less than one of my course completion certificates), and are requiring these walk-through videos in order to optimize search results, making it worse by the fact that professional video is either not allowed or will cost a hefty amount to post (per the above citation, appears to be three times what I'd consider an average price of $50 for a property website), on one consumer website. Shouldn't what optimizes search results be the factors the consumer selects during their search? We coach our clients about the benefits of professional photography and presenting the home at its best, and then Zillow turns around and says, "Here, do the best you can with an iPhone because otherwise your listing won't get any attention on our site but if you want to spend a ridiculous amount of money to post a professional video that will also cost a lot more to produce, you can do that too." Makes zero sense to me.

  17. Keep this input coming please as it is valuable to shape this program.

    I am part of the Zillow CP advisory board and your suggestions and comments are very helpful.

    Thank you

  18. @ Jon Stewart - my clients refer to Zillow as "blood-sucking vampires." They tell me that they are always charging for "this or that." I don't know enough about Zillow and the inner-workings and fees, but passing along this info to you since you indicated you were part of the Zillow CP board.

    Buyers LOVE Zillow and Agents hate Zillow. Buyers LOVE Zillow because it offers a perceived TMV for a house that is listed for sale. Agents dislike Zillow because agent's argue that Zillow does not and can't factor in any upgrades that took place in a house prior to going to market - upgraded kitchen, bathrooms, new pool, etc.

  19. Seems to me that all those out there bitching about Zillow,, etc. can simply invest a few bucks like they have and start their own site....... or shut up

  20. Jon - yes a love hate thing. Not trying to shoot the messenger here... Your points on how the industry and agents feel about Zillow are right on and well taken. However, that does not change the fact that Zillow and the companies they own like Trulia and others, represent well over 60% of the real estate search traffic.... So lets have a little out of body experience with me here...

    Lets say you were listing your home with an agent.... You'd be really pissed if you missed out on 60 plus % of the home buyer traffic because your agent, their broker or MLS thinks they are "blood sucking vampires" and are the "Death Star" of the Real Estate industry, right?

    Further, It's not like Zillow is holding a gun to an agents head. Agents don't have to pay Zillow to have their listings represented there.... They only pay if they want to be listed as one of the featured agents who shows up when someone searches on a particular zip so they can get leads... Has that program been diluted because Zillow over sold those zips to too many agents? Based on what I'm reading here and what I've heard personally from other agents, that seems to be the case. But lets not throw out the baby with the bath water here... If your home is not on Zillow, you and your agent are potentially missing out on 60 plus% of the buyer traffic that could sell your home.

    As far as the perceived TMZ or what Zillow calls Zestimates, it's not a well kept secret that they are almost always wrong. I know that's the case with my home and at the end of the day, our homes are worth what someone is willing to pay for it, not what Zillow estimates are or your agent lists it for.

    As mentioned above in my earlier rant, if the industry had built a better mouse trap for home searches, been transparent with information instead of keeping it under locks and only available though them, Zillow would not exist today. Zillow dragged the industry into it kicking and screaming and now needs to come to grips with that... An agents job has become a facilitator not an information broker... Because of Zillow, the information train has left the station. Today's agents prove their worth by navigating and keeping deals together, pricing homes correctly, marketing properties in unique and creative ways with all the online resources available and providing the value added and personalized services we can't get from a computer or a data feed. That's the cold hard facts.

    Lastly, although most intelligent home buyers and sellers I know think like this, it's a very unpopular opinion to many behind the times agents, brokers and MLS. So, lets keep it to ourselves and let Zillow take over 😉

  21. Hello All,
    I called my rep at Zillow today and it goes like this. As a Zillow Certified Photographer, listing agents hire me to do a two minutes walk-thru, soundless, video. As the photographer, I can charge whatever I want. They are rolling out this new program, January 2017 for Premier agents (as said above) which will allow them to post professionally created videos to the back end of a listing. Once they click on the listing, it will appear. The minimum spend for each Premier Agent is $500/month and they will be able to post approximately 2 listing videos a month for that. The amount of videos you can post, as an agent, is directly proportionate to the amount of "impressions" each video gets. The more an agent spends per month, the more videos they can upload and the more impressions they can get. With that being said, the work around for an agent to post a professional video, who is not a Premier agent, is to pay $149.00 for each video. This video will stay with the listing as long as it is active and under contract. Changes to the video are not allowed. The rep stated that this is the only guaranteed way to be on page one of Zillow. Now, the Zillow Certified Photography program also states that this is a way to give aged listings a boost up to the first page.

    Putting my Broker hat on, I asked why so much to put a video on Zillow. In summary, video will be the wave of technology for 2017 that will get homes noticed. He said, they are trying to encourage agents to become Premier Agents, which allows for more videos than paying $149/each. As an agent and professional photographer, I see more value in adding a two minute, soundless video and investing the money in stunning photographs, drone and video walk-throughs. What are your thoughts on this aspect.

  22. @Jeanne

    There are a few changes that are coming as well that aren't being rolled out in every market immediately. Stay tuned as the program is evolving in a direction that I feel will really pay off to videographers and agents that use certified professionals.

    Jon Stewart
    Zillow Certified Photographers Advisory Board

    again....please keep your ideas and thoughts coming on what you think would make this a better program.

  23. Here is the official answer from Zillow corporate - they wanted me to make sure there wasn't Mis-information about this subject here:

    "Premier Agents can upload their professional videos to Zillow for $149. However, uploading these professional videos is included in the cost of Premier Agent Direct – a program which is still currently in beta with Zillow. If agents would like to learn more about the Premier Agent Direct program they can visit this page on Zillow:"

    They also really do like hearing all the constructive feedback so keep it coming

    Jon Stewart
    Zillow Certified Photographer Advisory Board

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