- Don't mention listings or sales in your marketing videos, agent Ivan Estrada advises; focus on making them informative and entertaining.
- Invest in a good videographer if you have the money. It makes a difference.
When Los Angeles agent Ivan Estrada goes to listing appointments, people often greet him at the door with the words, “I feel like I know you already from your videos.”
He then sits down with them and demonstrates what video can do for the sale of their home with an entertaining montage of past presentations.
Estrada is known for his monthly YouTube videos, The Real Estate Minute. which he has been creating for four years and rack up thousands of views. Spread over three one-minute segments, these are newsy or magazine-like pieces in which he talks about haunted homes, showing a robot making dinner in a kitchen and everything between.
At 32, Estrada was in the National Association of Realtors’ “Top 30 Under 30” list in 2014. Last year he recorded $11.9 million in sales volume, while this year it will be $22 million. He currently has a team that includes a buyer’s agent, an assistant and a transaction co-ordinator, and would like to hire a full-time marketing person.
Ideas, settings and social media
The Douglas Elliman real estate team leader, based in Beverly Hills, comes up with an annual plan for content for the Real Estate Minute videos at the end of the year, making sure it is open to topical updates.
“We might talk about trends in tech or design, or new communities that we will highlight,” said the agent, who has been featured on a number of real estate shows, including Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing and HGTV’s House Hunters.
“I am never selling in my videos; I’m giving people fun content, real-estate related but not: ‘Come and buy this house.'”
He tries to film them in interesting venues, he added; he used the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles in October and November “because the backdrop is amazing.”
The museum will embed the video into its website, said Estrada, who is on its advisory council.
A fan of social media, the millennial agent is “heavily involved” in Facebook and Instagram — and, more recently, Snapchat. He meets with his staff every Monday morning to discuss what the social media activity for the next week is going to be.
How to send clients your videos
As well as distributing his videos through social media, every month the Realtor sends out a newsletter to clients. He uses BombBomb technology to embed The Real Estate Minute video into the email.
“For clients, all they have to do is press play, and they are able to watch the video — it keeps it there and makes it easy to view and takes out the complication of finding it on YouTube,” he said.
What types of clients are interested in video?
Estrada, who specializes in markets such as Beverly Hills, Century City, Hollywood Hills and West Hollywood, is also moving further west to Pacific Palisades, Brentwood and Santa Monica.
He estimates 40 percent of his business is luxury and 60 percent is first-time homebuyers, many of them friends from his alma mater, the University of Southern California (USC).
First-time buyers are not necessarily looking for humble homes in L.A., he said.
“I have friends who are attorneys and making a very good living — and their first home is a one-bed apartment or a studio, and then I have friends whose parents do very well, they have that support, and they want a five-bedroom home.”
He estimates his business is 50/50 buyers and sellers: “Where I feel that I shine is on the listing side. I can use my creativity with video marketing,” he said.
The skills that help as an agent (and a video star)
Like many agents, Estrada had a few other professional lives before real estate, which have helped him in his chosen industry.
The Angeleno is a qualified CPA (certified public accountant); he worked for two accounting firms, including Deloitte, prior to starting at Coldwell Banker seven years ago.
Always a singer and an actor since he was small, Estrada was on Univision’s “Sabado Gigante,” a beloved variety show for Spanish-language speakers, until he was 16.
This meant that he is comfortable in front of the camera, giving him an edge on his competition.
“This is where I am strong; it separates me from the rest, it makes me feel comfortable, and I can show my passion,” he said.
Some traditional brokerages are still fearful of agent videos
Not everyone in the real estate industry has recognized the value of video, the agent has found.
When Estrada went around brokerages earlier this year, looking for a new home after four years at Keller Williams, but wanting to do more in the luxury space, the traditional firms he visited advised him against doing his own videos.
“Their comment was: ‘We love you, you are great, but the videos have to stop.’ They kept bringing up other video content that I could use that was currently being used by the firm.”
He thinks it is because they preferred their exclusive branding on videos as opposed to co-branding with an agent.
Estrada said he likes Douglas Elliman for its willingness to co-brand, the attention to detail given in their marketing and its social-media approach.
He is going to be using the foyer of his Douglas Elliman Beverly Hills office for his upcoming talk show. For a design enthusiast, this is the perfect place to shoot, he said.
Tips on shooting videos
Estrada is obviously further along on the use of video than some, thanks to his background. The talk show he is planning in 2017 is going to be another step up in terms of production value and content. He has a documentary maker as his videographer for the show.
The agent is planning interviews with designers and a high-end builder, and he will be pairing up with an upmarket home-products retailer for one show.
He uses not one, but more like a handful of videographers for his various productions. Videographers tend to have different specializations, he said.
Estrada advises: “If the agent has the resources, I would invest the time and money in finding a good videographer. They will have the right lighting and microphone equipment, which is crucial.
“For a newer agent with limited resources, I would still put video content on social media, such as Facebook and Instagram Live.”
Mentors make a difference
Estrada said he can still hear the voice of his first mentor in his ear when he’s tackling a new challenge on the job — the “legendary” Fran Hughes, whom he worked with at Coldwell Banker years ago; she’s now a VP with the John Aaroe Group.
“She saw something in me. I call her my real estate mother — she believed in me, she guided me through transactions. Even if I would call super late or early, even on vacation, she always called me back,” he said.
“The biggest thing I learned from Fran is that there is no ceiling, that as long as you work hard and are determined and driven, you can do anything.
“I grew up thinking you can only reach a certain amount of success, she destroyed that concept in my mind — I know I can do anything if I work my hardest.”