Informing homeowners about the current market value of their homes is a highly effective way to stay top-of-mind.

There’s so much noise out there on how to navigate a challenging market. This April, let Inman help you cut through the clutter to make smart business decisions in real time. All month long, we’re taking it Back to Basics and finding out how real estate pros are evolving their systems and investing personally and professionally to drive growth. 

This article was last updated on Apr. 19, 2023.

Real estate agents who adopt this straightforward approach can attract immediate listings and foster future repeat business in a market with low inventory or significant challenges.

This single activity generated more than $11 million in listings in my own business, and it was one of the most impactful things I’ve ever done.

Unsolicited video CMAs

As prices have increased over the past couple of years, so has the opportunity for many homeowners to work from home or wherever they choose. These options have led many homeowners who usually would have stayed in their current homes for a decade or more to reconsider all their options.

The best way to add value to homeowners right now is to provide an updated comparative market analysis (CMA) of their home. Agents have historically done this with a printed copy of the CMA, but we’ve found that recording your screen to create a video explaining the updated valuation and emailing it to the seller is a game-changer.

In the fourth quarter of 2018, I did one unsolicited video CMA per workday. With holidays and days off, that totaled 72 unsolicited video CMAs done and emailed over that three-month period, which directly resulted in more than $11 million worth of listings.

The following is the system and strategy I used to see these incredible results.

Begin with the understanding that we will specifically target three main groups with these CMAs:

  • People who have told you they were interested in selling within the next year or two
  • Past buyer clients who live in a home that you sold to them
  • People who are homeowners in your area that you’ve met through marketing activities

Consider sending one unsolicited video CMA per day, which is basically a 5- to 10-minute video informing the homeowners about their home’s current value. Each one will take you about 30 minutes to create. In my case, each one of the videos I made was worth about $3,600 per hour based on the results I generated after doing 72 of these unsolicited video CMAs. 

Even in areas with a lower average price, if your average price is half of the one in my market, it’s safe to say that most of us would gladly schedule any activity that generates close to $1,800 per hour.

How to create video CMAs

To start, we’ll pull up the following tools on our computer browser before we actually begin recording:

  • Google Earth
  • MLS with comparable homes
  • CMA data
  • Estimated seller net sheet

Begin with Google Earth, and plug the owner’s address into the search bar, so that as soon as you begin recording, you can click to search, and the map will zoom directly to the owner’s home from space. 

This technique is a small differentiator that will catch many people’s attention because they won’t likely have seen anyone do it before. It also looks high-tech, and when the sellers see their own home, it will compel them to continue watching. 

Once we’ve started recording and we’ve zoomed in on the home, we’ll click the MLS tab that shows active, pending, and sold comparable properties, which will give us access to all the information we need without having to try to remember it. Although we’ve already pulled this screen, we can show and talk about specific similar properties compared to their home.

Next, we’ll access the CMA tab, which will provide data for three or four of the best comparable sales to help the owner understand how we arrived at their home’s value. Doing this allows us to narrow in on the best comparable houses to the owner’s home and give a range of estimated value to the homeowner.

Then, we’ll display an estimated seller net sheet, which can be as simple as a Word document that includes the estimated selling price, typical closing costs for sellers in your market, and estimated net proceeds to the seller, excluding any mortgage payoff or prorations. 

Providing the estimated net number has the power to grab the owners’ attention to help them fully understand the value of selling their home.

Below, we’ll go through the process to give you all the tools and scripts you need to get started immediately.

Recording the screen

Countless tools will allow screen recording, but BombBomb is one of the best because it creates a GIF of the video that you can include in the body of an email. When users open the email, they will see a brief preview of Google Earth zooming into their home, which will naturally make them want to click play to see more. There is a fee for BombBomb, but it will quickly pay for itself with these CMAs.

For those who are already using Zoom, simply set up a meeting that includes only you, and share your screen so the homeowners will be able to see you and the details. 

Use the record feature on Zoom to capture the information easily, and then either share the link to the video that Zoom will provide you, or upload it to YouTube or whatever platform you are using to house videos.

Throughout the video, your image will be included in the corner of the screen, talking them through the information in the video. The homeowners being able to see you on the screen while going over the specifics helps you build rapport, and it helps the homeowners see you as their real estate resource. 

The script

The narration could sound something like this:

“I wanted to give you an update on your home’s value because the market has been shifting over the past year. You might be surprised at how high your home’s value is right now, so I wanted to give you an updated range of your home’s value.” 

This sets the tone.

Then, click to comparable sales.

“I’ve pulled up all the houses from our local MLS that are comparable to yours that have sold, that are active, or that are currently under contract within the past three months.”

Go through some of these details, and then click to CMA.

“I’ve narrowed this down to the best three comparable sales to your home to give you an idea of your value in the current market environment.”

If you have information about those sales, share it with the homeowner here. Provide background information, price-per-square-foot, bedrooms, bathrooms and other details.

“Based on these adjustments, though I haven’t been inside your house (in a while), I’m giving you a range of within 5 percent or so of your home’s value. If you’d like a more specific value, it will only take me about 5 minutes to walk through your house and give you a free no-obligation update to this amount.”

“Whether you are thinking about selling right now or not, I think it’s great for you to have a marker of where your home’s value is currently, following the year that we’ve been through.”

Click to the sellers’ estimated net document.

“Whether you’re considering selling your home or not, it’s important to know where you are financially in your investment because a home is usually one of the most valuable assets you’ll own.”

“But if you did decide to sell, the typical closing costs would look something like this. These are only an estimation because there would likely be other small fees and prorated amounts plus a mortgage payoff if you have one. But this gives you a rough idea of what you could expect.”

Provide as much information as necessary about the closing costs, and then give the bottom-line number.

“I hope this gives you a better understanding of your home’s value, and if you ever want to revisit this, you can search your email by searching for your address.”

Use “(Address) Valuation Analysis Update” as the email’s subject line so they can easily find the content later.

One of the great things about using BombBomb for this video is that whether two months or two years have passed since the original email, the platform notifies the sender when someone clicks on the video.

So, if you haven’t heard from the person for a long time but they click into the video at some point in the future, you’ll know that they might be wondering about their home’s current value.

Now we can reach out to them and say something like this:

“It’s been a while since I checked in with you. Hope you are doing well. Are you still loving the house?”

You will likely be amazed at how many opportunities a brief outreach like this can generate.

The ‘tail’ in your business

Probably nothing is more impactful than letting homeowners know the value of their homes in the current market, and nothing will keep you top-of-mind more than this process.

As we build a daily schedule and work on systemizing our business, we should schedule at least one of these a week, or even one a day, if we want to create a significant impact. Often, once we generate an opportunity on the listing side, we’ll create one on the buyer’s side as well, and who doesn’t want a chance to double-side deals in this market?

Jimmy Burgess is the Chief Growth Officer for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in Northwest Florida. Connect with him on Facebook or Instagram.

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