Video is quickly becoming an essential element in real estate marketing. Pricing and technology have made video more accessible than ever, and savvy brokers, property managers, and home sellers are beginning to take advantage of it. According to the National Association of Realtors, nearly 90% of surveyed homeowners said they would prefer to hire a broker who uses video to market their home. However, only about 5% of runners are currently using video. And even between them, the quality of those videos can vary greatly. Studies have also shown that listings with videos get about 4x more clicks. This is of particular importance for vacation rental listings, because they have to be sold over and over again and are therefore even more dependent on a high volume of web traffic.
While it’s obvious that adding video to real estate marketing will soon be as highly anticipated as professional photos and a website, simply having a video isn’t enough. It has to be a GOOD video. Here are some tips on how to create a professional-quality video that will make any real estate listing look its best.
1. HIRE A PROFESSIONAL
First and foremost, find someone who knows what they’re doing. None of the other items on this list will matter if you don’t have a competent videographer behind the camera. The good news is that this doesn’t cost what it used to. For around $500-1000 (depending on your market area) you can get someone who knows what they are doing, has good equipment, and delivers professional photography and video. Perhaps even including drone shots! Videos are not easy to make. You have to understand the equipment, the lighting, the content, the sound, the editing and a million other things. Without a professional, you will almost certainly end up with an inferior result, and you will probably lose a lot of time and brain cells in the process. Time is money. Spend the money and save the time.
2. USE GOOD EQUIPMENT
While it’s technically possible to shoot decent video on your phone, these days, it’s not easy to do, and you wouldn’t be reading this if you knew how to do it. You don’t need Hollywood-level gear, but you do need a certain minimum quality, or your results will likely end up looking shaky, too dark or too bright, grainy, and generally not very good (see #1 above) . It will almost certainly come with its own gear, which should be fine for your purposes. Some basic requirements are a good camera (a mid-level DSLR can take stills and video), a slider, a couple of different lenses, some basic lighting, a decent shotgun or lav mic, and professional editing software (Adobe’s Apple’s Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro are standard) to put it all together. These days, it’s fair to expect a drone to get involved as well. The antennas add an exciting creative element, as well as a significant amount of geographic context.
3. INCLUDE ATTRACTIVE CONTENT
You want your final product to tell a story. That means you have to organize yourself and convey a certain amount of relevant information. Start with a script. Even if you don’t plan on using a voiceover or on-screen presenter, it’s a good idea to establish a logical flow ahead of time. A script will also help ensure that the essential details of the list are conveyed. Whether there’s a narrator, on-screen text, or both, it’s important to give viewers the details they’ll need to assess the home and what it has to offer. It’s best to keep it simple, including things like address*, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, interior square footage, and lot size. Add some pictures of the neighborhood and a map to establish the location. And of course, don’t forget your contact information.**
Think of it this way: Assume the viewer has no other information available besides the video. Your goal should be to give them everything they need so they can decide if they want to schedule a visit. It never ceases to amaze me how often I watch videos without these basic details. If viewers have no way of knowing if the house has 2 bedrooms or 7, or if it’s on a large corner lot in the suburbs, compared to downtown Detroit, how are they going to decide whether to call it? Assuming they can even figure out who you are in the first place.
Basically, treat your video like you would a paper flyer. Anything that belongs on a flyer belongs on the video.
*Obviously, this depends on whether it is a house for sale or for rent. Vacation rental listings often do not include the address.
**Most MLS organizations will not allow you to post your contact details on videos, so make sure your videographer gives you an unbranded version as well.
4. SHARE IT EVERYWHERE
No video, regardless of quality, will do you any good if no one sees it. You could have Martin Scorsese direct it and Al Pacino do a walkthrough tour, but without proper syndication, no one will ever know.
First of all, post it on YouTube. If you have your own channel, great. If not, your videographer can post it to theirs and then send you the link or embed code.
From there, post it to your website. If you don’t have a website, you need to get one. You needed to get one five years ago. All of your marketing should be predicted around driving traffic to your website so that they can be impressed by how good you are, and then decide to call you and pay you money. Marketing 101. There are many ways to accomplish this, but that’s for another day. If you’re advertising a vacation rental, you’re probably already using HomeAway, AirBnB, or the like. They make it easy.
ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR BROKER: Once you’re on your website, share that link on all of your social media pages. Then include it in your next email newsletter to your database, so they know what a creative, tech-savvy real estate professional you are. They will be impressed. You can also post the link to Zillow and other industry sites.
Add a rider to your billboard that mentions the video. A large red sign, visible from across the street, reading “Hey, look! I made a video!” Or something like that. That way all the other potential sellers in the neighborhood, and all the people just passing by, will know that YOU are one of the 5% of agents that is smart, savvy, and forward-thinking enough to use video to market. your listings You will get many more listings.