More and more real estate agents are integrating video into their marketing campaigns. Go to just about any real estate conference *cough* Inman Connect *cough* or talk to any marketing guru, and you’ll hear that video is the new black, when it comes to promoting both listings and the agents trying to sell them.

  • A good video should be platform agnostic. The viewer should be able to gain all of the relevant info from the video itself, regardless of where they watch it.
  • To be effective, a tour video should include vital stats such as bedrooms, bathrooms and square footage, as well as a map and agent contact info.
  • Even the best video won't have any impact if no one sees it. A dynamic syndication strategy is crucial.

More and more real estate agents are integrating video into their marketing campaigns. Go to just about any real estate conference *cough* Inman Connect *cough* or talk to any marketing guru, and you’ll hear that video is the new black, when it comes to promoting both listings and the agents trying to sell them.

You’ll hear about how millennials greatly prefer video content over text and photos, how listings with videos get way more clicks, how videos greatly increase conversion rates and so on. And that’s all true.

Videos are extremely powerful marketing tools. But — and it’s a great big fuzzy but — videos only help you if they’re done well. A bad video, just like a bad website, bad flyer or a bad haircut, will do more harm than good.

I’ve seen hundreds of real estate videos, and I see the same simple, yet disastrous, mistakes over and over again. The following list highlights some of the most common mistakes and offers simple advice on how to avoid them.

10 mistakes agents are making with real estate videos

1. They’re not making videos

Well first of all, not using video is the most common mistake. Website visitors are beginning to expect video content. The vast majority of homeowners want video content to promote their homes.

Listings with videos get four times as many views. Videos elevate your brand and your marketing to a whole new level, which can, in and of itself, generate more business.

Simply put, potential clients are easily wowed by video content, and the agents making use of that content are far more likely to get hired.

2. Shooting vertically on a phone

Yes, you can shoot good quality video on a smartphone. The latest phones have excellent cameras in them, and there is all kinds of gear and software you can buy to help you improve your end result.

Just please, have some mercy on all of us, and remember to shoot videos with your phone held sideways.

Vertical footage not only looks amateurish, but it also inevitably results in vertigo for the viewer, as people instinctively try to flip their phone to get the wide view, which is then sideways; so they turn it again, and then it’s narrow again. And then they twist their necks to try and compensate and so on. Uggh. No.

3. Not using a stabilizer

Regardless of your camera, make sure your footage is at least relatively stable. Far too many agents are shooting walkthroughs on their phones that bounce around wildly, resulting in a jarring, uncomfortable experience for the viewer.

It’s not a horror movie. Your goal is not to make people feel anxious and queasy. Anxious and queasy is not going to get you hired. Stop it.

4. Not including text

A good real estate video is a tutorial, not an art project. Yes, beautiful imagery and creative flow are important, but the primary goal should be to educate potential buyers about what the house has to offer.

I can’t tell you how many videos I’ve watched where, at the end, my reaction is along the lines of, “Well OK, that was a beautiful house, but how big is it? How many rooms and baths does it have? Who is the agent, and how do I find him or her? I know absolutely nothing about this house now, other than that it is pretty.”

Your video should be platform agnostic. Meaning, make sure that someone can get all of the details they need, regardless of where they see the video.

Don’t expect them to look elsewhere for details on bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, etc. Add those details as text in the video. And don’t forget to put your contact info at the end. Do this even if you have a voiceover or host in the video.

Many people will watch these videos with the sound off. For instance, it is estimated that 85 percent of Facebook videos are watched without sound.

5. Not including a map

Similar to No. 4, it is all too common to finish a video and think, “Yeah, OK. That was cool, but where the hell is it?!” Ever heard the phrase, “Location, location, location!”?

Of course, you have. You live on earth.

Most buyers are more concerned about the location than they are about the house. Showing them a house with no geographical context is only going to end up wasting their time, and maybe yours, as they are forced to do further research, culminating in a very realistic scenario in which they decide they don’t like the location.

The primary goal of the video should be to inform the viewer. A quality production with a thorough and organized presentation will accomplish this, while at the same time make the presenting agent look like a sleek professional.

A good video saves you time by qualifying your potential leads. The more they learn up front, the more likely they are to be serious if and when they call you.

6. Not using scripts

Speaking of organization, make sure you know what you want to show and say in your videos before you start shooting them.

It’s usually painfully obvious when agents don’t adequately prepare for their videos.

Write out a shot list and a script ahead of time. If you’re going to be speaking on camera, or in a voiceover, take the time to edit and practice your words. It will pay off in the end. And if you don’t, chances are that you’ll end up looking like an incompetent amateur.

7. Not prepping the house 

Treat a video shoot like you would an open house. Make sure the home is clean and show-ready. Remove clutter, hide family photos and other personal items, close the toilets, etc.

If the house looks like it hosted a frat party the night before, you’re going to end up looking like an idiot.

It sounds obvious (or at least it should sound obvious) but apparently, it isn’t because I’ve seen a lot of real estate videos “featuring” piles of garbage, painting and cleaning supplies laying around — and at least one with a pack of angry dogs.

It’s a whole lot easier to fix these things before you’ve shot the video. Editing out these types of flaws can be difficult — if not impossible — depending on the circumstances. You don’t want to have to deal with a reshoot just because somebody left the seat up.

8. Appearing unprofessional

This is another thing that should go without saying, yet is common enough to warrant being included on this list.

If you’re going to appear in your video, be sure to look your best. Again, treat it like you would an open house.

Wear clean clothes, comb your hair, get that leftover spinach out of your teeth. Look like a grown-up. You’re a professional, after all.

9. Making videos too long

A good real estate video should be only as long as it has to be — and no longer. This usually means about 30-90 seconds. Viewer attention spans are notoriously short.

The point of a good tour video is to provide a preview of the home, and encourage people to come see it. It shouldn’t be an exhaustive tour of every little nook and cranny.

Nobody needs to see the fourth bedroom or the half bath off the garage. Most viewers have seen these things before. A bedroom is a bedroom, a box is a box is a box.

Focus on the big stuff, like the view from the curb, the kitchen and living areas, the master, the backyard and a few unique highlights. The rest can be filled in by the viewer’s imagination or a live tour.

Keep it tight with a succession of short shots — maybe two to four seconds each — and keep the overall length to a minimum.

It will be a better-finished product, get a better reaction and be far more likely to get viewers to watch to the end — where your smiling face and contact information should await them.

Pro tip: Getting people to see your smiling face and contact info is the real goal of a good video. Videos make you look like a baller, which makes it much more likely to secure that next listing or impress the next buyers. Investing in video will pay off in spades.

10. Not having adequate syndication

This is a big one, and it’s a problem for most agents, regardless of the quality of their videos. Remember, a video, like any marketing material, is only valuable if people see it.

Even the best videos will have minimal benefit without an effective syndication strategy that gets them in front of the right audience.

Make sure your videos get added to the MLS, your website and social media pages, your email newsletters and more. The more exposure the video gets, the more exposure you get.

There are, of course, myriad other ways to screw up a real estate video. Trust me. However, these listed here are common and pretty simple to fix.

Most of them are related to content, rather than production skills, which means they apply even for agents who hire professionals.

Most professionals will shoot exactly what you tell them, so be sure to tell them exactly what you want. If you follow these rules, you’re far more likely to end up with a high-quality, effective video that will promote not only your listing but also your business and brand, as well.

Rob LeRoy is the CMO and co-founder of The Real Estate Video Guys. Follow Rob on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Email Rob LeRoy.

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