I have been writing this column for about two years now (don’t worry, I’m still a Rookie, and every time I learn my lesson from one beginner mistake I end up making a new one) and I think last week’s video topic may have brought me the most mail that I have ever gotten. (See, “What to do this year? Video video“)

I am still talking to my client about this (because, er, I don’t have a signed listing contract yet, so I am still in that stage of negotiations my boss calls “doing my little dance”) but I do have a number of new thoughts:

1) There are lots of people who want to help me do this. A shout out to AgentCasts, Wellcome Mat and TurnHere, among others. I had no idea that there were so many filmmakers in the world.

2) Since I wrote my last column, I have watched, I don’t know, maybe 40 or 50 real estate videos. The ones that are the best? Well, they represent the properties best.

What does that mean? It means that their story and the marketing story of the property dovetail. Since the listing I’m trying to get is of a luxury property on a street that’s becoming more and more chic, it’s obvious that the story is at least partly the story of the street.

Do we spotlight the street at the beginning or the end or in the middle? I’m not sure yet. But I do know that it is a big part of the story. There are videos, and I am not going to call any site out by name, where the selling point of the property is obviously the kitchen and the video is all about the bathrooms.

More expensive videos are generally more fun to look at, but the story fit is just as, if not more, important. The best metaphor I can come up with is that Angelina Jolie is one of the most beautiful women in the world, but she looks funny as a blonde.

Or let me let a reader explain: Tom Layson, who is the communications director of Windermere Puyallup/Canyon Road, wrote “Video is a space you HAVE to be in, but doing it right is a very tall order.” He continues, “The main thing is to focus on story.”

Well, Layson is a former TV guy, and he certainly does know how to focus. I watched a video on www.winpcr.com for one of their listings, a $269,990 home. Now I have to say here in New York City where everything is expensive, I would not expect much from a home at that price — it is frankly the cost of a luxury kitchen.

But everything in this video was pointed to the “more than you expect” message — it showcased both the home’s features (double sinks and a separate shower and a gas fireplace) and its craftsmanship (stone facing, full landscaping). What in a classified print ad would have been a small, possibly cookie-cutter house on the video became: We can get you a lot of house for this money; we took a lot of care on this budget.

3) We are, every one of us, viewers who already have preconceptions about what video is. We watch ads; we watch TV. What kind of video matches a particular property? Well, maybe the client has an opinion. As my prospective client said about one video I showed him, “This seems to be formatted as a TV show segment; it should be thought of as a commercial.” I think this is a lot of my problem with spots where the camera is on the agent the whole time. I don’t want to see the beauty queen dancing around the car — I want to see the car.

4) Music is incredibly divisive. It can be overbearing, or annoying, or perfect. It can also be copyrighted. Reader Peggy Madsen, broker/owner/systems specialist at the Rockies Real Estate Network, wrote that “a broker’s real estate video is considered a commercial use, and that means royalties are owed for any copyrighted music. Most music is copyrighted, so I make my own.”

OK, that one sounds daunting — I didn’t even make dinner tonight, I went out — but if you watch one of Madsen’s videos, you get that she has mastered principles #2 and #3 above. These are commercials made by a Realtor who knows what she’s selling. She shows you the great location, and you get a caption that says “walk to all.” She shows you great views, and you get a caption that says “views.”

5) As you get more and more used to watching real estate videos — after you watch, say, 40 of them — they start to seem long. I am thinking two minutes is ideal and three minutes is maximum. Five minutes, which is the amount of time it takes to go through a really large property with a certain degree of thoroughness, is also enough time to not only get your viewer jazzed on the property, but also to bore them to the point where they start having a backlash against it.

6) The technology isn’t just about ad spots. Brent Hammonds, an Arizona Realtor (www.brenthammonds.com), recommended “Hello World” at www.soldnow.tv — there are a dozen different examples of what you can do with it, but my favorite was the idea of doing a quick v-flier for out-of-state agents — now that’s a referral notice that would get attention!

Sorry I’ve gone on so long, and I recognize the irony of writing a long print column about visual images. Maybe in a month or so I’ll attach a v-cast.

Until then, courage.

Alison Rogers is a licensed salesperson and author of “Diary of a Real Estate Rookie.”


What’s your opinion? Send your Letter to the Editor to opinion@inman.com.

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