Video is quickly becoming an essential element in real estate marketing. Prices and technology have made video more accessible than ever before, and savvy brokers, property managers, and home sellers are beginning to take advantage of it. According to the National Association of Realtors, almost 90% of home owners polled said they’d prefer to hire a broker that uses video to market their home. However, only about 5% of brokers are currently using video. And even among them, the quality of those videos can vary greatly. Studies have also shown that listings with videos get about 4x as many clicks. This is of particular importance for vacation rental listings, because they have to sell themselves over and over, and thus depend even more on a high volume of web traffic.
While it is obvious that adding videos to real estate marketing will soon be as expected as professional photos and a website, simply having a video is not sufficient. It has to be a GOOD video. Here are some tips on creating a professional-quality video that will make any real estate listing look its best.
1. HIRE A PROFESSIONAL
First, and foremost, you need to 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 about $500-1000 (depending on your market area) you can get someone who knows what they’re doing, has good equipment and will deliver professional stills and video. Maybe even including drone shots! Videos are not easy to make. You’ve got to understand the gear, lighting, content, sound, editing, and a million other things. Without a professional, you’re almost guaranteed to end up with an inferior result, and you’ll probably waste 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 IS technically possible to shoot decent videos 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 equipment, but you do need a certain minimum quality, or your results will likely end up looking shaky, too dark or too bright, grainy, and just generally not very good.The good news is that a professional (see item #1 above) will almost certainly come with their own gear, which should be just fine for your purposes. Some basic requirements are a good camera (a mid-level DSLR can shoot both stills and video), a slider, a couple of different lenses, some basic lighting, a decent shotgun or lav mic, and pro editing software (Adobe’s Premiere Pro or Apple’s Final Cut Pro are standards) to put it all together. These days, it’s fair to expect a drone to be involved, as well. Aerials add an exciting creative element, as well as a significant amount of geographical context.
3. INCLUDE COMPELLING CONTENT
You want your final product to tell a story. That means that it needs to be organized and convey a certain amount of pertinent information. Start with a script. Even if you don’t plan to use a voiceover or on-screen host, it’s a good idea to establish a logical flow, ahead of time. A script will also help you ensure that the essential details of the listing are conveyed. Whether there’s a narrator, on-screen text, or both, it is 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 the address*, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, interior square footage, and lot size. Throw in some neighborhood footage 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 to them, other than the video. Your goal should be to provide them with everything they need to be able to decide whether they want to schedule a showing. It never ceases to amaze me how often I see videos without these basic details. If viewers have no way to tell if the home has 2 bedrooms or 7, or if it sits on a big corner lot in the suburbs, versus downtown Detroit, how are they going to decide whether to call you? 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 in the video.
*Obviously, this is dependent on whether this is a home for sale, or for rent. Vacation rental listings often do not include the address.
**Most MLS organizations won’t allow you to post your contact details in videos, so be sure your videographer delivers you an un-branded version, as well.
4. SHARE IT EVERYWHERE
No video, regardless of the quality, is going to do you any good if nobody sees it. You could have Martin Scorsese direct it and Al Pacino doing a walk-through tour, but without the proper syndication, no one will ever know.
First of all, post it on YouTube. If you have your own channel, then great. If not, your videographer can post it to theirs, then send you the link or embed code.
From there, post in on 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 predicated around driving traffic to your website, so they can be blown away by how good it is, and then decide to call you and pay you money. Marketing 101. There are a lot of 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.
BONUS TIPS FOR BROKERS: Once it’s on your website, share that link to all of your social media pages. Then include it in your next e-mail newsletter to your database, to let them know what a creative, tech-forward 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 for-sale sign that mentions the video. A big, red sign, visible from all the way down the street, that says “Hey look! I made a video!!!” Or something like that. That way, all the other potential sellers in the neighborhood, and all the people who just happen to drive by, will know that YOU are one of the 5% of agents that is smart and savvy and forward-thinking enough to use videos to market your listings. You will get a lot more listings.