Ten Tips for Terrific Listing Videos

August 24, 2010

YouTube is the second largest search engine on the web, yet most REALTORS still haven’t figured out how tap into its traffic. Maybe that’s because their MLS listing sheets can’t play a video?  Let’s change that.

Here are ten ideas on how to shoot quality video for marketing a home:

1. Plan ahead. Don’t just start shooting video and ad-libbing your narration. Think of the outdoor spaces and indoor rooms that need to be highlighted with video, and write out a few short sentences you’ll say for each. Whether you’re just narrating or personally appear in video, don’t talk off the top of your head. Likewise, plan where to place the camera and what you’ll to pan or zoom towards in the shot.

2. See the light. Open windows and turn on all overhead lighting. Look for shadows and eliminate them or change the shot. You don’t need to video the whole room – just the key feature areas that will are most likely to interest and excite the viewier.

3. Stay still. There is absolutely no reason to wildly pan back and forth, zoom in and out, and definitely no need to spin around like a ballerina.

4. Be there. Get in front of the camera and talk to the viewer. Look directly at the lens and smile. Move your arms and walk very slowly if you cross the room. You’re selling the home, so you have to be present in the video.

5. Do not edit. You’re a REALTOR, not Kubrick. Cut out the cutesy stuff and save your time. There’s no need for special effects, transitions, flying logos or fades. At most, add a text-over effect with the street address and your website or phone number.

6. Avoid certain shots. Do REALTORS actually know what happens in bathrooms? Then let’s stop videoing them, shall we? No toilet or vanity or moldy tub shots, please! If the bathroom is less than 20 x 20 feet, then it’s just a bathroom. No need to video it.

7. Tell a story. The purpose of a movie is to tell a story, not catalog countertops and floors. Determine what each home’s unique story, benefit or living experience value is (compared to the competition) and shoot your videos to highlight and tell that story.

8. Stop the music. First, you probably don’t own the rights to the music for commercial purposes. Second, your musical taste is yours. Third, if buyers wanted really good music videos, they’d go to YouTube on their own.

9. Keep it short. It’s a marketing commercial, not a documentary. People are distracted today, especially online. They won’t watch a …. what was I saying? Oh, right… they won’t watch your videos if they feel they forgot to make popcorn.

10. Show product engagement. It’s boring to see photos and videos of listings featuring people-less rooms. You’re selling a place where people will live, play, relax, exist; not a museum. So bring in the actors (or just use the family that lives there). Show some chopping in the kitchen, relaxing on the back deck, playing in the yard. Buyers need help envisioning how they might live there – so call in the extras and start the show.

Of course, many other tips come to mind: Use a tripod. Shoot in high definition. Upload to YouTube. Post the video to your Facebook page and embed it into your blog. 

But the key point is this: For Gen X and Gen Y, surfing the web is a multimedia experience. The Boomer-days computer experience of card-catalog flat information just won’t work for them (or anyone, Boomers included, really). Nobody expects real estate marketing videos to be a production-studio release. Just shoot it as naturally and straightforward as you’d do a showing with a buyer in person.

With so much inventory saturating most markets, video is the key technology to help your listings stand out against competing properties. Great video will help sell your listings, especially when compared to the foreclosures in the marketplace that are unceremoniously dumped online en-masse, with minimal data and barely photos . Good video will also help you get more listings – from other agents who are still printing postcards, as well as For-Sale-By-Owners who can’t put all of the pieces together on their own.

One comment

  1. Here is my first attempt at making a video for one of my new listings. It is being marketed as a tear down so it’s limited to the outside of the house and the lot features. It’s a start… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ILCirDyrdk

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