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A picture may be worth a thousand words, but when it comes to real estate, a video helps tell the whole story. A dynamic listing video does more than simply highlight a property’s assets and amenities—it can help show off subtle architectural features and bring the home to life for prospective buyers. Best of all, buyers can begin to imagine their day-to-day life in a house before they ever step through the front door.
It takes a talented individual to be able to capture both the physical attributes of a home and its atmosphere in a succinct and stylish video. In an age where buyers expect the best from listing visuals, here are three attributes luxury agents should look for when hiring their next videographer.
1. Attitude over experience
Like all good things, finding the right person to work with your brand is well worth the wait. “It’s like any other business relationship,” says Anie Buckmelter, Global Real Estate Advisor with Sotheby’s International Realty in Los Angeles. “You need to find someone consistent, reliable, and who can concisely execute your vision.”
It’s also worth thinking outside the box when searching for a videographer to work with. Broaden your reach and consider different channels to find the style of content you’re looking for—and the perspective that will resonate with buyers. Social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube are great places to start your talent search.
Don’t be afraid to step outside of the real estate space for a fresh take. “Experience as a real estate videographer is not a prerequisite,” notes Dominique Williams, Senior Sales Executive with Queensland Sotheby’s International Realty in Australia. “Some of the best photographers that I’ve worked with are wedding photographers—who better to capture happiness, love, and spontaneity?”
As in many fields, video talent can surface from unexpected quarters. “My videographer was a real estate agent in my office,” recounts Buckmelter. “He started using video for his market updates and home tours. I loved the content he was putting out and hired him to do my video work as well. He has since left his career as an agent and started his own branding company.”
2. A collaborative mindset
While agents hire a videographer for their creativity as well as their technical skillset, it’s crucial both parties are able to work together throughout the process in order to achieve the ideal final result. Agents often have crucial guidance to give on which elements of the property should be highlighted, while videographers bring their own perspectives to the table. “I think there needs to be a dance between the vision of the agent and the videographer’s own creativity,” says Buckmelter. “I want my videographer to be able to take direction but not have to rely on it.”
The agent may also play a logistical role by setting up a filming schedule, communicating with sellers, and organizing props, so having a close working relationship is important. “When agents work with videographers, it’s important the agents understand a little bit about the video-making process, so their expectations are realistic,” says Elliot Machado, Broker Associate for ONE Sotheby’s International Realty. At the end of the day, working in tandem will help both sides.
3. A captivating storyteller
A listing video is a unique opportunity to emphasize architectural elements of the property that were overlooked in still images. Finding a videographer with an eye for the small details can set agents up to succeed. “Often videos help potential buyers get a feel for the floor plan, the flow of the space, and up-close details like fixtures and other details that may not be highlighted elsewhere,” notes Machado.
Beyond highlighting the hidden features of a home, a talented videographer can tell a powerful story. “Similar to a Hollywood blockbuster, a listing video must captivate its audience to be a box-office hit,” says Williams. “Each property has a story to tell, and the right videographer can create a visual where buyers envision themselves as the lead characters in the movie.” She notes that elements of daily life, like sports equipment in the background, fresh groceries in the kitchen, and the perfect sunset, can bring a property to life.
And sometimes, the organic moments that arise while filming really pay off. “We had a little dog that was supposed to run up the foyer staircase in a video scene,” continues Williams. “Instead, the dog ran out the door to the manicured garden and rolled in the flowers—which sent the video viral.”
When a videographer can capture the home’s architectural highlights—as well as provide buyers with an aspirational glimpse of owning the property—the end result is a truly effective listing video. “If it’s done correctly, you finish the video and can’t wait to schedule a showing,” says Machado.
Support your team with diligent prepwork
It’s important that agents looking to dive into a video project aren’t starting from scratch. “Bottom line is, come prepared,” advises Buckmelter. “You need to have a vision. If you can’t articulate what you want, how do you expect anyone else to?”
“Preparation and planning are the keys to a successful outcome,” agrees Williams. “Our videographer and creative director spend hours manifesting a storyboard and run sheet, which is then distributed in advance to all shareholders. Each video requires editing time, so plan for these extras in your marketing budget. The result: a happy real estate agent and happy videographer producing sensational visual assets and fostering a long-term collaboration; and most importantly, selling properties.”
Now more than ever, buyers rely on online materials to augment their search for real estate. While photography can grab their attention initially, a listing video shot by a cohesive team is the right tool to give buyers a feel for the space, enhance amenities that are deserving of a longer look, and ultimately, tell a story about the home.