Connect SF08 – The emergence of video

Wellcomemat videoThis break out session from a group titled Savy Agent Technology proved enormously popular with people packed tightly into the small room. The panellists comprised video service companies and hosted video companies, as well respected industry practitioners:

Fred Light a video producer – Nashua Video Tours

Mike Malkasian – President of

Morgan Brown – Director of Marketing of TurnHere

Phil Thoams Di Guilio – Co-Founder of

The opening question brought out the value of video which unanimously was to the ability for it to be seen as a point of difference for an agent; whereby agents (who largely fund all marketing in the US) consistently win listing pitches by offering a video service as part of their marketing proposition. The other unanimous agreement was the fact that video is a complement a comprehensive portfolio of photographs, it could never replace photographs. In the process of buyer engagement with a property listing there was a linear path of reviewing listing facts, followed by scanning the photos before then watching the video, where the video watching was more likely to be done by serious rather than casual prospective buyers, who were also far more likely to watch the video multiple times.

With the advent of full motion video on the web there was a clear message that 360 degree virtual tours are finally dead! – they had been used for many years to provide a surrogate for video but now the buyers could guided through a house and neighbourhood in a continuous tour, there offering has lost the final vestiges of value.

A valuable insight was that video provided a greater sense of transparency whereby photos could avoid or hide aspects of the house whereas video (in a long duration format) exposed the whole house and thereby gave a more comprehensive and compelling picture of the property.

As to the costs and applicability most spoke of basic video productions from US$150 to US$400 with more comprehensive presentations from US$400 to over US$1,000. There was no real limit as to which properties best suited video although logically the higher end better justified the costs and reflected the larger more comprehensive presentation of a larger house. The duration of videos seemed to be between 90 seconds and 3 minutes.

A recommendation was made as to the value of capturing not just the property but also the neighbourhood which provides rich context to the presentations so people could see the street and the local schools and community, this incremental material could be stock images which could be part of the “sell” of the real estate company as part of the video. It also provides an opportunity much as with blogs for an agent to demonstrate their local knowledge and expertise.

Turning to the operational issue of making the video, it was felt of value to have a commentary to “guide” people through the house, as to whether this should be done by the agent as part of the sound track or by a voice over by a professional voice was to a certain extent a matter of choice – the important thing was to make a piece of marketing material that added value to the listing. A good piece of advice was not to repeat listing facts in the video like the number of bedrooms and section size – and never detail the price as naturally this may well change in the process of the listing life.

Moving from a voice over to a personal guide in the video, again it is a matter of personal choice as to whether agents should be in front of the camera – it could provide good brand exposure, but if you are nervous or not keen then it is better for the property to be the “hero” of the video. Some examples had been done very effectively where the current owners of the video contributed content to the video on the basis that they more than anyone best knew the best way to sell the property.

To the question of DIY or getting a professional in, naturally money played a part. The Flip camera at just around US$100 provides the simplest way to capture video and then download it quick and easily and therefore DIY could be enormously effective, equally there were many other video cameras which could produce excellent quality (especially as the web format does not require high definition). Common desktop software such as Windows Movie Maker and iMovie for MAC’s provides the ability to do the complete DIY job from start to finish. In terms of hardware format, the only thing to steer clear of was cameras that record straight to DVD – these do not allow editing of content and therefore the shot would have to be taken in one take.

A sound piece of advice was for the agent to use their own camera to produce a “briefing” video for a video company where they video the parts of the house with comments and provide that for the cameraman to better and more efficiently produce the final video.

From production to hosting of videos. One key benefit of video is that on the web videos attract strong Google rankings and as the medium is still fairly new for real estate it was not unusual for well tagged video to appear in the top 5 results on very generic real estate terms – one that could not even attract such ranking from blogs for example. Getting video onto multiple sites now was becoming an issue as many video social media sites were instigating bans on real estate videos. The belief and fact is that these videos add nothing to these sites in terms of richness of “sticky” content as the appeal of such videos is so narrow and has no viral appeal.

A key point to remember is that once you upload videos to the web on sites like YouTube you are allowing such videos to be copied and linked and shared around the web – it is the nature of the web, so be aware in terms of what you want to show. Equally there is becoming a consideration as to whether YouTube with its “general” content is really the place for video of quality homes when there are a number of free hosting sites specifically providing services for real estate.

Overall there is no doubt that video is only going to grow in importance as a key part of marketing real estate, as to whether it will replace open homes, that is a good question, it certainly has the ability for the agent to be more efficient and effective at marketing and for the buyers to be better informed from the comfort of their armchair.

July 26 2008 03:07 am | Video

6 Responses to “Connect SF08 – The emergence of video”

  1. Ross Brader on 26 Jul 2008 at 3:45 pm #

    I agree that there are better hosting sites that can be used other than youtube for example and
    With a minimal amount of practice it should be possible to make your own videos with quality voice over etc.

  2. Ross Brader on 26 Jul 2008 at 3:49 pm #

    We have tested a high definition clip on our website – it’s a music video but quite amazing quality even when you blow it up to full screen – see:

  3. Alistair Helm on 26 Jul 2008 at 4:10 pm #


    Clearly you have bought into video in a big way! – as you say it should be fairly easy with a bit of practice to add value to all your listings.

  4. Ross Peebles on 29 Jul 2008 at 12:36 pm #

    I’m not surprised the session on video was so well attended at Connect SF08. Online video is ‘the new frontier’ and has enormous potential for the real estate business here in New Zealand.

    If you liked Ross’s music video above, check out this link:

    I recommend the Getty Images showreel on the right hand side of the menu. Click on the 480p version – although feel free to go for the full HD version if you want!

    These videos are running with Adobe Flash Player software, the most widely used video software around. This is also the software we use at View It Now – a New Zealand company specialising in high impact, cost effective videos for real estate agents.

    Check out some of our videos at:

    Just click on one of the three photos to launch a video.

    We believe a professionally produced online video is a great way to showcase your listings and to stretch your marketing dollar further. Research suggests 90% of buyers begin their hunt for property online so why not make a memorable first impression.

    Check out our website for full details.

  5. Fred Light on 18 Aug 2008 at 2:50 am #

    Don’t go down the VIMEO road –
    They do NOT allow real estate videos or commercial videos of any kind. They will be removed ASAP and without notice to you.

    Either host them yourself or use a site like that specializes and encourages real estate videos.

    Otherwise you’re going to be hunting down a lot of ‘dead’ videos on Vimeo real soon. They removed over 200 of mine!

  6. Alistair Helm on 18 Aug 2008 at 7:28 am #


    Thanks for sharing this insight – I am sure that agents here in NZ will insist that video hosting companies are explicit in detailing for how long videos will be hosted.

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