Dare to be Different With Video

Video is becoming commonplace in real estate marketing, but the content is what makes you stand out.

August 9, 2013

Kendyl Young has a house you can buy — but she’s really selling you a life.

You’ll understand when you see this video she produced for a recentlisting in Glendale, Calif.

It’s certainly not your typical listing video. Young — founder of DIGGS, a division of Dilbeck Real Estate Real Living in Los Angeles — and her husband play the owners of the house. In the video, they’re coming home from a day of shopping, and the camera follows them through the house as he heads back to the bedroom and she sets a vase with sunflowers on the kitchen table.

What the video sells, Young says, is not just the house, but the experience of living there.

“I believe that video should give the viewer something markedly different than a listing,” she says. “The viewer should get a feeling from the video.”

Young has been shooting videos for her listings for three years, and she often goes for a story-telling approach. One home she marketed was a vintage house in Glendale, for which her tagline was “If Norma Desmond lived here…” Young played the part of the ghost of the 1950s starlet in her video of the property, with the camera capturing glances of her shadowy figure moving throughout the house.

“There’s always some aspect of the house that relates to a story about the house that needs to be told,” Young says.

She says that her unique marketing tactic has drawn more serious buyers, and from further away. Her videos giveprospective buyers the perspective of living in a home upfront so that when they come for a viewing, “they’re not just kicking the tires — they’re coming to decide if they want to buy,” she says. Young’s market in California is already so hot that “no matter what I do, I’ll sell in 60 days,” she says. But her videos have attracted potential buyers from other markets in California and from out of state.

Video is becoming more and more important to businesses. Forrester Research found that Web pages with videos are 53 times more likely to appear in the first page of Google search results than text-onlypages. That kind of power is moving many real estate professionals to find new and interesting ways to present video as part of their marketing plan.

And there are tools to help them. Animoto allows users to insert their own photos and videos into a video template complete with a specific design and commercially licensed music. The videos can then be shared on social networks. Since its launch in 2007, Animoto has garnered 7 million users, and one of its fastest-growing segments of users is real estate professionals, says CEO Brad Jefferson. There are now “several thousand” real estate agents using Animoto, he adds.

“The challenge with videos is: Is it going to look professional and is it going to be affordable?” Jefferson says. “We deliver that.”

Animoto’s video templates can deliver high-definition quality, depending on the service plan a user chooses. Service fees range from a free basic plan to a $499-per-year “pro premium” plan. The higher the plan, the better the quality is of the video.

Jefferson says he’s seen agents coming up with all kinds of new video ideas using Animoto. Some have created a video slide show just to sell their marketing skills to potential sellers. One of the more popular usages, he says, is creating neighborhood videos thathighlight the amenities and attractions of a specific area. Other agents have created “welcome to the neighborhood” videos to send to buyers after they have closed on a purchase.

“All businesses are realizing the power of video,” Jefferson says. “It’s something new and kind of unexpected for their clients.”

Thanks to his Animoto videos, says Kent Corey, an agent with Elite Florida Realty in Fort Myers, Fla., he’s seen his listings fly off the market. One of his favorites is a video slide show he put together of a home, incorporating both short video and photo elements. The theme is “coming up roses,” as rose petals frame the listing photos that pop up on-screen. Take a look:

The video helped put the property under contract within a few weeks of coming on the market, Corey says. Listing videos in general have helped shorten the time on market and increase competition for his properties, he says.

“One of the first Animoto videos I made helped me sell a property in one week,” Corey recalls. “I got 20 people visiting the home and six offers, and sold it well above asking price. Animoto videos have also helped me sell real estate in Florida to clients who live outside of the United States, as [the videos] bring the properties to life.”

Corey says he has also used his videos to market himself to prospective sellers and drum up new business. “They show clients that I’m going the extra mile,” he added.

What’s so great about Young and Corey’s videos is that they’re “personal and warm,” says Stefanie Hahn, education director for Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS®, in Collegeville, Pa.

“The best videos make you feel something,” she says. “In our case, we want the buyers to fall in love with the home before they even visit.”

Hahn has spent a lot of time teaching agents how to effectively use video marketing. She’s stressed the importance of keeping videos short (less than five minutes) and using tripods to get a professional-looking, steady image. But when it comes to video content — what will really sell a buyer on the property — Hahn suggests a bold approach.

“Bring the sellers into the process, and ask them two key questions: ‘What do you love about this house?’ and ‘What attracted you to this neighborhood?’ Incorporate their answers as narrative over your video tour,” she says.

That way, agents can put some real-life context around what makes a property a standout — and it’ll make the agent a standout, too. Beyond the typical photo or video slideshow, this approach can make your marketing unique from everyone else.

“If you have great photos — and we should all get that we need great photos by now — you don’t need the classic video tour,” Hahn concludes.

Graham Wood
Executive Editor of Digital Media

Graham Wood is Executive Editor of Digital Media for REALTOR® Magazine. He can be reached at gwood@nar.realtor.