Real Estate Videos Revisited

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    • #43326

      I am a new member here at so “hi!” I’d like to give some input on what I feel would be a good approach to developing and marketing Real Estate videos.

      First off, I am not a professional videographer, which believe it or not I feel gives me an advantage in seeing the big picture of doing this. I am a marketing professional that is learning videography. Fred Light hit the nail on the head, Real Estate videos are about price. That’s it. Good product, inexpensive, quick turn around. Now Fred has had the good fortune of not having to market to Real Estate Agents. Not everyone will be that fortunate, so you may have to sell your service to Agents. If you approach your potential client the correct way, I believe that forward-thinking Realtors will be very open to video.

      I’ve read just about every post on regarding Real Estate video. Most of the focus is on the video itself, who is going to see video, blah, blah, blah…forget that. To market Video to a Realtor, the focus needs to be on the seller and the Agent/Broker, not the video, not it’s quality (although it does need to be decent) not the potential buyer. Fred light makes great, to-the-point home tour videos, but he ain’t winning no emmys for his work nor do I think he cares!

      First, as Fred Light mentions in one of his articles, try to find a top producer in your area. These are the guys that “get it” and spend money on promoting themselves. Here are the “hot buttons” to get an agents attention:

      1) “Video will show your client (the home seller) that you are using the latest technology to market their property to get maximum exposure”.

      For the most part, Agents want to list properties. They would rather find sellers than buyers. Show the Agent how video is tool that will set him/her apart from other agents.

      2)”If you (the Agent) have listings that are about to expire, letting your client know that you are now going to use “the latest technology” to market their home through the use of video may be just the thing to keep them on board and not jump ship to a different broker”.

      Agents do not like to loose listings. Listings are an Agents bread and butter and they will do anything possible to protect that listing. Basically you are using the fear of loosing a listing to motivate the Agent to set him or herself apart by using video.

      3) Let the Agent know you are not a videographer, you are a “marketing partner”, and that his or her success is your success.

      4) Take the time to shoot video of the surrounding area, shopping, schools, dining, entertainment, etc and make a demo to show the agent. Make the agent understand that this will give the potential client the confidence that he/she is an “expert” in the community. Remeber, your job is to help the Agent sell his or her self.

      5) After you have touched on these subjects you can now go into how you produce a quality product at an affordable price that will help give the potential buyer a better look at how the property “flows”, etc.

      Unless you have already established yourself as a Real Estate videographer and have a portfolio, be prepared to do some “pro bono” work.

    • #181743

      Good post. Good insight. Thanks for sharing.

    • #181744

      My pleasure Earl. IMHO, I think video is going to play a larger role in marketing across many industries. With high-speed connections become more accessible both in the home and on the road, video is becoming more and more mainstream. Real Estate videos have been around as long as camcorders, but until recently it was a difficult product to distribute to the masses with a level of quality that would capture the users attention. Connection speeds are only going to get faster and digital technology is constantly improving and becoming more affordable. Heck for about 10K you can set up an IPTV station and broadcast live in HD! In 2-3 years people will be searching for homes from their couch using their cable remotes the same as they look for a football game on Sunday afternoon.

      I bought my first camcorder 1 month ago (Canon HF S200) and I am really enjoying learning. is awesome source of info, and I am the kinda guy that believes in giving back to the community. I’ll soon be posting links to my amateurish work…go easy on me…hehehehe.

    • #181745
      AvatarGrinner Hester

      I agree that more and more houses will be sold without the buyer ever seeing them in person but realitors just don’t want to pay market prices for production. They don’t even see it as production. The last time I was asked to bid on such a project their budget wound up being less than a half day rate. They almost acted offended when I quoted my day rate. I could see higher end realistate companies creating their own video departments long before I can see them happy to pay market value for video services. That makes sense. Hire a kid under 30k a year and call him a director.

    • #181746

      I hoofed it through my town, trying to drum up business. I only had one bite – It didn’t work out.As grinner pointed out, they just don’t want to pay. I’m wondering if many realtors are making their own videos…

    • #181747

      Grinner I agree most won’t pay what a videographer is “worth”. $250-$300, maybe a bit more for larger homes is the price range for home tour videos. I am giving the agent what they pay for; a walk through with a few cutaways. I am not trying to win any videography awards. The focus is on giving the viewer a “feel” for the home which photos and panoramic slideshows cannot provide. I never owned a video camera until about a month ago. I bought a Canon HF-S200, a $100.00 tripod, a GlideCam 1000HD, Premiere Elements/Photoshop Elements and a .66x wide angle lens. I practiced shooting in my own place until I felt I had it “down”. Yesterday I shot a condo in Ft Lauderdale for a Realtor. I had a 2:00PM appointment. By 5:00PM I had the video shot, edited and posted to the clients YouTube account. Everything is set to auto, I walk though very slow then speed it up in post. I still have room to improve which will come with experience and if this looks like a service that will sell I will upgrade my equipment and most likely get a better finished product in less time. But for under $1500 bucks and no experience, what I have is acceptable. The agent is very happy with these results:

      The video is only a part of a complete marketing package I am developing for Realtors. My finished product will include video, photo, distribution and syndication, multimedia optimized websites, smartphone sites, etc. The video is more for the seller than the buyer as far as a tool for the agent.

    • #181748

      JJmmargate, nice video as it gave me a sense of the layout of the property in question. A voice over explaining everything may be helpful or maybe a lower informational bar that includes address and realtors name and contact information.

    • #181749

      Thanks for your input Charles. I am actually putting together a library of overlays with Photoshop that consist of top, bottom and corner banners along with fade in/out area labels (living room, kitchen, dining area, etc.) as well as agent logos, contact info, etc. MLS guidelines prohibit any broker/agent info on listings so what there has to be is an MLS version and an “full advertising version”. I agree that a voice over would definitely enhance the experience. As soon as I have the video down-pat I’ll get to work on my radio voice!

    • #181750

      I’ve been toying around with this for awhile, Let’s see if either of you have any ideas: I actually DO voiceovers. I have been doing the for over 20 years before I started producing video as well. I’ve done real estate videos, and you’re correct about the pricing range. I think most pro VOs would expect the same rate. But What If – knowing how “frugal” agents are, and how most home walk thrus are pretty quick – would a range of 10 to 15 percent of the video price be workable for producers to get a quick pro VO? I’m just wondering since I’ve seen some Real Estate pieces shot with poor audio. If some of you had a go to person, would that be worth it?

      I was in radio for a few decades. But I’m not marketing the VO as much as I once did. Anyway, if you’d like to hear samples, it should be at ronharper dot com

    • #181751

      I was wondering if anyone can help me answer this question. Should we as videographers be sharing the risk with our clients and to what point? Any input on ideas would be great from you. I really like the approach jjmmargate is taking, which is diving into the industry, understanding their pain and showing knowledge of heir industry. This is obviously a big risk which takes time but can really pay off. The same can be said about any other industry. Should we be more focused on only one vertical market? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    • #181752

       I’ve been shooting Real Estate videos for about a year now…   no previous experience, learned on my own (and now I have VideoMaker to help). That being said, I charge a flat monthly fee for unlimited videos — knowing that the agent only has a small listings base, I find that I am getting my name “out there” and still making a few bucks. I’ve done a couple of voice-overs, but feedback suggests the video part is more important — people want to see the building. I limit my videos to no more than 3 minutes (based upon square footage or features). My belief is that the video should only be the carrot that gets the buyer to schedule an appointment to go see the property. The agent is very happy with my work.

    • #181753

      gkhan: I think you have to look at video for real estate for what it is: a form of advertising. Realtors have an advertising budget. If you were to shoot the video and get paid when the home sells (I assume that is what you mean), then you are taking the risk that 1) The realtor is going to spend the money to market the property so its attracts buyers 2) The realtor is going to price the property to sell and 3) The homeowner will take a reasonable offer.

      Personally I think the better approach is to develop a product that can be produced quickly and efficiently and priced accordingly. I just shot a 2/2 beach condo yesterday. I did the glidecam walk thru, pan shots and exterior in under 30 minutes. Another 30 minutes to edit and encode. I have shot 7 properties and each time I learn something new. The “real” videographers on here will probably look at my work as low quality. It is. But the client loves it, his customer are impressed by it and that is all that matters. I just have to pray a videographer doesn’t call one of my clients to list their home…lol!

      Sunkleep: I agree about keeping the video short. The fact is (based on studies by National Association of Realtors) most viewers will only look at video/virtual tour for a minute or two, very seldom so they sit thru the whole “show”. Most home searchers want LOTS of photos that they can click-click-click thru in rapid succession. A typical viewer can look at 24 photos in a little over a minute which shows almost every nook and cranny of the home. I’ve discussed this with the realtors I am working with. My approach will be to feature the highlights of the property, those things that will keep the viewers attention and keep the video as short as possible without it looking like a rush-job. The use of video should be used to COMPLIMENT good photos, not the other way around.

      Video should be viewed more as a tool for the realtor to get and keep listings as opposed to a tool used to sell a home. A realtor can say “We all advertise in the magazines, newspaper, on the web, etc. We all do photographs, most of us have virtual tour slideshow, but what sets me apart is that I also include a full motion, high defintion video featuring the highlights of your property”. At that point the realtor can pop his home tour demo dvd in his laptop and knock the socks off his potential client and secure the listing (or so that is the plan…lol)

    • #181754


      One thing I am having difficulty with is trying to get good overall exposure when I have exterior windows. Here in South Florida its as much about the views as the property itself. Try to get an ocean view out the window from a distance and the interior is underexposed, try to get a crisp shot of the interior and the windows are blown out. I know there must be a trick of the trade. Gels on the windows are out of the question. Some of these windows are floor to ceiling and wall to wall and 24 floors up! Any suggestions?

      One thing I am toying with is if for an example a large window with a view is say 15 feet away; Set the exposure so that the window is slightly blown out and the interior exposure is good. As I approach closer to the window, dissolve to the window view with the exposure set for the view outside the window and pan the view then dissolve back inside and reset the exposure. It’s been cloudy/rainy here the last couple days so I have not had the opportunity to try this yet.

      My clients are happy with the auto-exposure I use now which is a happy medium, but I am a bit of a perfectionist (within reason) and I know I can get more professional results with a little extra effort. Just trying to figure out how…

    • #181755

      “One thing I am having difficulty with is trying to get good overall exposure when I have exterior windows.”

      Cheapest, easiest solution? Get your a$$ out of bed earlier. Seriously. Be there at sunrise and within a half hour of sunrise the interior and exterior light will for a few minutes, be perfectly balanced in brightness…..

      either that or you gotta pump a lot of light into the interior or buy some seriously big and expensive roscoe gels to cover the windows with…. ND’s and warming gels (cto) to get the light levels and colors to balance.

      one other trick that might work is to shoot the scene twice at different exposures and using masking layers to blend the two layers together… I haven’t tried that because it seems easier to me to just shoot an hdr image with my d-slr and do a Ken Burns style pan off the still to create the video clip.

    • #181756

      Don…I was wondering if that was one of the “tricks”…thanks (I’m up every day at 5AM, real estate agentsThere are virtual tour companies that create “Ken Burns” slideshows with HDR images, some look really great, but in the end it’s just a pan of a still image and does not give the feel of video.

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    • #181757

      “There are virtual tour companies that create “Ken Burns” slideshows with HDR images, some look really great, but in the end it’s just a pan of a still image and does not give the feel of video.”

      You ever look at some peoples marketing materials and say to yourself “I could do that better”?

      The truth is in some businesses cost and convenience over-ride quality… A real estate agent wants fast and cheap, your job is to balance that with quality. You likely won’t hear an agent complain about a pan off a still image as much as you’ll hear complaining when you ask the agent to meet you at 5:00 am to shoot a property, when the guy has ten or twenty properties he needs filmed….

      If your agent is trying to sell a million dollar mansion, and buyers are out of state or country, he’ll jump at the 5:00 am photo/video shoot to help show the place in the best light…. other than that, you can bank on being given a list of 5 properties that need to be shot in one morning, and delivered the next day, or he’ll get his cousin to do it for nothing argument… A compromise is needed, more oft than not.

    • #181758

      OK, so here is the link! Sorry I can’t seem to embed the video.

    • #181759

      Don: Some Virtual Tours do look good, there are plenty of virtual tour companies that offer software that allows agents to create an unlimited number of tours for $30.00 per month. I am not trying to compete with that. The input I am getting from Realtors and the studies the NAR has done show that users don’t spend much time looking at virtual tours. Why? Mainly because they are a regurgitation of the photo gallery that the user already viewed, with some added “special effects” and background music. So why do Realtors use them? Because a virtual tour impresses the seller, or at least they did when they first came out. Now everybody and their brother has some kind of virtual tour of their listings, some good and some not so good and if they don’t then they certainly won’t entertain having a $200-$300 video tour made. I hope I have the problem of having 10-20 properties an agent wants shot, but I highly doubt that will be the case. I think they will use video for new or expiring listings, but won’t put out the cash for a fish they already have on the hook. I just dont see this as a high volume business, 10 in a week would be a stretch IMHO, but who knows, I’d love to be wrong!

    • #181760

       Maybe I’m way outside the box here, but I charge $100 per month for unlimited videos on a yearly contract (3 agents in a private brokerage firm). During the busy months, I work regularily for only my monthly fee, but I get paid every month, so even the slow months (zero videos) I collect a check. It works for me and the broker.

      I would think if a broker has more agents, the monthly fee could be higher. Just my two pennies worth.

    • #181761

      $100 per month for unlimited videos? Are you crazy? LOL

      How can you make a living doing that? As I write this I am down on Martha’s Vineyard doing 30 videos tours in 5 days for a client. And rest assured, I am not doing them all for $100! (they’re $350-$450 each!) That just makes no sense, especially if you anticipate your business to grow. If you don’t anticipate that, why even bother?

      My business is so crazy right now that I’m very seriously considering raising my prices to slow things down a bit. I would be very happy with considerably less business right now, as I’ve been working like a crazy man since February.

      As far as length of videos, a 2-3 minute video is really optimum for cats in the clothes dryer, but not necessarily applicable to real estate. If people actually WATCH the video, they’re a serious buyer and they want to see everything. They WILL watch a 5, 7 minute or even longer video if they are interested in BUYING the house. If they’re not interested, they won’t watch if for a second! Real estate video isn’t exactly “entertainment”. Just as if you watched a wedding video, you probably wouldn’t watch it for more than a minute or two… UNLESS it was your daughter, in which case you would watch it for 30 minutes… and again and again!

      My stats show that most videos are viewed almost 90% through if not more, and they are all at least 4-5 minutes in length or longer. Video is the FIRST SHOWING. It qualifies the buyer. If they make an appointment for a personal visit, it’s a second showing. First they view the photos, THEN the video if they are still interested, not the other way around…. You don’t whet the appetite with a teaser video, you do that with the (hopefully) excellent photos.

      I did a house on Martha’s Vineyard last year for a seller. His home had been on the market for 3+ years. I did the video and the broker received four offers almost immediately and it sold. Those are the brokers who hired me for this week to shoot their entire inventory – all based on the response for that one video that was purchased by the seller!

    • #181762

      Excellent work NEGuy… however, in rural Wisconsin the market is quite smaller. I will shoot 2-4 videos a month (10 during a really busy month and 0 in the “off” months). I get paid every month, videos or not.

      I like your input about the “teaser video”. I’m finding the same as you, the 5-7 minute videos get more attention (so now, mineare longer). Keep in mind, a low end home sells for ~$60,000, the high end around $500K. We only have about 4 “million +” homes in our “area”. Soooo, for me to get $350 for a video of a 100K house is a “no go” (brokers won’t pay that much). I could probably get $350 for the high end homes, but because the brokers around here don’t use videographers, I’d be placing myself out of business.

      But, all that being said, thank you for the reply (and criticism). Sometimes I do think I’m crazy — but I also remember that I would much rather be doing videos than working in a factory just because it “pays better”. Really though, how else am I gonna find out what others are doing (and getting paid) if I don’t post the questions. Again, thank you.

    • #181763

      The $60K home maybe not, but I very regularly do homes that are in the $200-300K range and they will still pay $200-$300 for a video. That’s my bread and butter business. I do probably 3-8 of those types of houses every single day all year long.

      Why? It’s NOT about the house. It’s about a marketing strategy that sets them apart from their competition. It’s about attracting new listings. It’s about standing out. It’s NOT about selling ONE single house and the cost of marketing vs. the commission for THAT house.

      People who understand that concept are on board.

      Just like in the old days when people were advertising in (and reading) newspapers. The successful advertisers advertised REGULARLY (weekly, daily, etc). They had a contract. That had repeated impressions. They weren’t selling a HOUSE on those ads (even though often times there was a photo of a house), but they were selling themselves. Having a presence every single week is what got them new business. If they had a house to market, fine. If not, maybe just an institutional or generic ad. But they were THERE every week. But they were known because of their consistent advertising and because they DID advertise.

      Doing videos for marketing is 30% about selling a house, and 70% about selling an agent or broker. Granted, most Realtors don’t ‘get it’, but some do, and those are your customers. As soon as they realize they got 3 new listings from their video on their $200K house, or someone recognizes them at the grocery store or at an open house, they see the value and why they’re doing video.

    • #181764

      NEGuy says:”They weren’t selling a HOUSE on those ads (even though often times there was a photo of a house), but they were selling themselves.”

      Wow, thanks for clearing that point up for me. I see that I can market myself (my videos) differently. Soooo, a change in strategy is called for. Guess I’l hafta get right to work. Again, thanks.

    • #210149

      The emphasis is on the real estate buyer. To save him time, gas and have open house on demand property listings, local area events to watch, listen, learn from round the clock. No matter where he is. But that video platform will not rock, shock and awe unless it delivers. It is helpful, handy, versatile on a smart phone when the buyer has a short time span freed up waiting for an appointment, at an airport with a delay. To start the opening doors. Lots of them.


      Pull them around the community, introduce them to property listings and slide shows with guitar or ivories or sax is not a video. Real estate video works so so well, efficiently. Make your own, just like you produce the blog posts, the website photo galleries. You the agent, broker have all the details and learn everying at the kitchen table two hour listing.

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