Selling Homes with Video: Real Estate Videographer Fred Light

According to the National Association of Realtors, more than 82% of home buyers begin their search on the internet. 91% of households with an annual income exceeding $75,000 used the web to find their next home in 2007. What does this mean for the videographer? There is money to be made in a new and growing market.

Learning Curve

Thirty-year real estate marketing veteran and struggling videographer Fred Light saw the video real estate opportunity, jumped to the occasion and drafted a plan to start cashing in. “All realtors in my area had a bad photo slideshow set to elevator music,” he said. “Every site I visited was littered with blurry pictures and mundane text descriptions no one cared to read. With so many potential buyers looking, agents needed a better way to market their product and increase the sale of their homes without being embarrassed. A high-quality, professionally-produced video was the answer.”

The next step in Fred’s plan was to purchase the right equipment to make his dream a reality. “The primary investment will be for the camcorder. There are relatively cheap models on the market priced from around $800, but these are not recommended. Since this is not for pleasure, but for business, you should consider getting one of the best that money can buy, and that means an investment of at least $2,000. If you’re good, you can get your money back many times over.”

Overnight Success

Fred has found so much success in producing real estate videos that he is now the founder and owner of Nashuavideotours.com. He provides narrated, high-quality video real estate tours, as well as agent profiles on video on a full-time basis. He has also appeared on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, on National Public Radio (NPR) and in New Hampshire Magazine.

With 900+ small productions under his belt, going from point A to point B was no easy task: “I didn’t know it all at first,” says Light, “I just took the plunge. I’ve been doing this now for 3 years – longer than pretty much anyone. Through a great deal of trial and error, a lot of time and a lot of money, I’ve finally found a few things that work.”

When asked about his success, Fred was quick to point out the formula: “Videos that are clean, to the point, priced lower than expected and optimized properly for the web – especially search engines and the agent’s website,” he says. “Sell the house and nothing more. It’s all about the house.”

Reasonable Prices

And what about advertising your services? “You will find that your best advertising will come from word-of-mouth: one person recommending you to a friend… and that friend giving your name to another, and so on. You don’t even have to pay for this kind of advertising, and it can really multiply your assignments.”

When he was asked about the lower-price strategy in his formula for success, Fred cracked a smile and pointed out the details: “I set a price point of $200-$300, and I need to produce a product that fits that price point,” he says. “It needs to look good and make me a profit. So clearly, some corners need to be cut to keep the workflow down.

“The reason why 95% of videographers don’t make any money is that they price themselves out of the market. Realtors don’t see the need for real estate video, and they don’t want to pay for a tour unless it’s under $300. If you’re charging $500, $600 or $700 for a real estate video, your customer base will be no one. They won’t pay it.”

Selling You

With all of the statistics standing in the way, Fred still became successful. “At the end of the day, when word gets around that you have good video equipment, really know your stuff, do a great job and your prices are reasonable … your phone will likely start ringing off the wall.”

Brian Alves is a 20-year corporate videographer and the host of The DV Show podcast. You can find him on the web at www.thedvshow.com.

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