It’s no secret that videos are changing the way we market real estate. Photos are limited because they don’t move. 3-D tour platforms, such as Matterport, are very cool, but they only show the inside of the home. There’s just no sense of perspective or context. No location. No curb appeal. Only video can give prospective buyers a true sense of a home’s look and flow, features and personality. And only a tour video gives agents a chance to tell the story of their listings to buyers and future clients.
But what’s the best approach to creating an effective real estate tour video? The answer to that question is broad and complex, of course, so let’s start with the basic ingredients. For now, we’ll skip over the technical aspects of particular cameras, drones and editing software, and focus on essential elements that every real estate tour video needs to have.
1. Start with a script
Know what you’re going to shoot ahead of time so that you can maximize efficiency and capture all of the necessary elements that make your listing special.
Create a shot list that flows in a natural progression. Begin with an overview of the outside, then an overview of the inside. This acts as a sort of preview that helps viewers decide right away whether they’re interested in seeing the rest. Then move on to the parts that everyone wants to see: the living areas, kitchen and master bedroom are essential, as are the grounds.
Special details such as pools and gardens should be emphasized, but garages and extra bedrooms can be left for the gallery of stills that will accompany the video. It’s good to demonstrate the flow of the home, but showing every little detail will make for a long, boring video.
2. Shoot movement
Remember, the biggest perk of video over any other media is that it moves to create a more dynamic viewing experience. Make the most of that by including pans, slides and zooms.
Got a fireplace? Shoot a roaring fire. Decorative fountain? Make sure the water is running. This is a tour, after all, so create a flow with your shots, and maintain a consistent pace.
3. Include essential details
Remember that the primary objective of the video is to be informative to its viewers. Show them what they need to see, so that they can decide if they’d like to schedule a showing.
Use text on the screen to highlight the address, bedrooms and bathrooms. Give them your contact info so they can reach you for details. Include a map so they can get a clear idea of where the home sits relative to the neighborhood and its surroundings.
Think of the video as being platform agnostic — meaning make sure that any viewer can watch it from anywhere and get the information he or she needs. Don’t assume that people will get the details from elsewhere on the page.
If they watch it in a bubble, they should be able to determine the size, location and amenities, as well as know how to go about getting more information. Too many real estate videos focus on style rather than substance and leave viewers thinking, “Well that’s pretty, and all, but where is this place, and how many bedrooms are there, and how do I get in to see it?”
4. Maximize your branding
One of the primary benefits of using video is that viewers get a chance to see more than just the house — they get to see you. In fact, tour videos are as much about promoting your business, as they are your listing.
Whether you choose to personalize your videos in simple ways like integrating your brand colors, fonts and graphics or go all-in and appear in person, giving a guided tour, your video is an opportunity to market your brand.
Your video has the potential to be seen by other owners in the neighborhood, buyers all over town, and internet viewers all over the world, for weeks, months or even years into the future.
It’s a great opportunity for them to get to know you, both as an agent and a person. This will go a long way toward helping you secure future business. So be sure to include your contact info, picture and company logo at the beginning, end or both.
5. Promote it
No video, regardless of quality or elements, is going to do you any good if nobody sees it. You’ve got to have a clear, comprehensive strategy for getting eyeballs on your video, across multiple digital platforms.
Post it on the MLS, of course. Most likely, you’ll be required to post an unbranded version there, but you can use your branded one just about everywhere else. Post it on your website, your social media pages and Zillow.
Send it in your next email newsletter to your database. Post it on Reddit. Make friends with bloggers who write about your city, and get them to post it.
Keep track of your total video views, and use the numbers to gauge your success, then share that success with your clients. If there’s one thing clients love (besides offers, of course), it’s statistics on the exposure you’re getting for their home.
For examples of great real estate videos, check out my list of favorites, here.