When Carrie McCormick markets a property, she begins with the imagery.

“I start with telling the story of the home,” McCormick, a development specialist at @properties, said at Inman Luxury Connect Wednesday. “And I start with video. Video has been an excellent way to tell the story.”

McCormick, who is based in Chicago, went on to say that she sees video marketing as a “requirement” these days. But she doesn’t just whip out her iPhone, shoot a few images, and call it a day. Instead, she thinks critically about how to help potential buyers connect on a deeper level with the entire neighborhood.

“We’ll do drone flybys of the school or the coffee shop,” she explained. “And then we’ll take the video inside the home. We’re trying to create more emotion in these videos so you kind of fall in love with the home.”

From left to right, Clelia Peters, Kevin Thompson, Dusty Baker and Carrie McCormick | Credit: by AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic

That ability to create an emotional impact with buyers was a recurring theme during McCormick’s Luxury Connect panel. It’s a major goal for her marketing, and extends to other strategies as well such as staging — something that was a recurring theme among all the panel’s speakers.

“It’s rapidly moved to a top priority,” Kevin Thompson, chief marketing officer of Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC, said while seated alongside McCormick.

“I try to stage every single one,” Dusty Baker, a Southern California-based agent at Sotheby’s International Realty, added of his listings.

Agents have obviously been staging homes for a long time, but all three panelists described the practice as growing in importance, particularly for luxury properties. In Baker’s view, staging increasingly helps people envision the lifestyle they might have in the home. And while staging might costs thousands of dollars at the high end of the spectrum, it can more than pay for itself in the higher prices staged homes can fetch.

Though its not entirely clear why staging has become even more important lately, it could have to do with technology. There is, obviously, more of the video marketing that McCormick described, as well as immersive 3D tours from companies like Matterport. Baker also said that companies have also emerged that let people buy homes with all the staged furniture, meaning the buyer can just show up “with a toothbrush” and move in.

Thompson added that technology is also making staging less disruptive via augmented and virtual reality. Now, he pointed out, a home can be partly or entirely staged digitally, which is a major boon to consumers.

“A lot of consumers might not realize they can virtually stage homes,” he explained.

While these techniques help consumers better understand what their lives might be like in in a new home, they have other collateral benefits as well. For example, Baker said that while he’s “pessimistic” about how many people actually watch real estate marketing videos, they’re still worth shooting because big platforms like Zillow and Google actually prioritize listings with video.

“So even if no one watches the video,” he continued, “it elevates our online presence.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II

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