Marketing, like every facet of luxury real estate over the last few years, has rapidly evolved, and clients expect listing videos to rise to a whole new standard.
This has been driven by multiple trends — the virtualization of the buying and selling process, the prominence of visually oriented social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, and the high standards of quality and sophistication set by today’s many streaming services. In my own real estate office, video content now comprises around 40% of our marketing materials.
One of the most important lessons I have learned is that when it comes to video, the return is worth the investment. Engaging an accomplished, professional team with high-quality equipment, and a videographer who can capture the character and aesthetic of the home yields remarkable results. Recently, I spoke with Marc Wagner, videographer for Motion Picture Entertainment, with whom I have collaborated on a number of projects, about the most significant trends we’re seeing in property videos today. Here are three, in particular, that stands out.
Create a true sense of story and splendor
The first trend, and perhaps the most interesting, is the emphasis on emotion in listings videos. Rather than simply showcasing a property, the goal is to tell a story. In my experience, the most successful videos resonate with viewers on a personal level. Instead of giving quick glimpses of the home, they provide a genuine impression of what it’s like to live there.
“My personal favorites are videos with the character of a feature film — the ones with their own story, produced to the highest quality and featuring special music,” Wagner tells me. “It’s interesting when the property is not placed in the foreground too boldly, but serves as a location for the story and arouses positive emotions and desire.”
In this sense, I liken these videos to movie trailers. The viewer’s future in that home is the feature film, and the listing video serves as the teaser.
Include characters for narrative and scale
The second trend is something that we always include in our videos: people. Including a diverse range of characters can provide a relatable perspective for the viewer, enabling them to see the home through the eyes of another individual.
“In all industries, the focus is increasingly on people,” Wagner points out. “Of course, this must also be reflected in luxury real estate videos. Protagonists convey action, generate empathy, and stir emotions. In addition, spatial relationships are also indirectly depicted.”
As luxury homes are expansive and impressive, viewers can better appreciate the magnitude if there are humans in the frame for scale. Some agents produce tour-style videos where the camera follows a guide through the home — an approach we’ve seen gain popularity over the past few years.
Focus closely on people’s favorite places
The third trend is related to the previous two: while traditional listing videos devoted equal time to each section of the property in order to provide a comprehensive overview, a movie trailer-style video is going to give precedence to the spaces that matter the most to prospective homeowners. After all, these locations are the luminaries on the stage for the various scenarios the video portrays.
Wagner gives some examples of the areas around the home that videographers in luxury real estate are paying special attention to:
- The kitchen, as well as indoor and outdoor dining spaces, are where people gather together to keep company and trade stories.
- Bedrooms and their spa-like ensuites retain a privileged status that viewers value, as places of privacy, sanctuary, and respite.
- Location, landscaping, and immediate surroundings are relevant, both for the buyers’ context and for the setting of the short film.
Approach videography projects holistically
Those three trends — human emotion, human perspective, and human experience — need to be brought together with nuance and balance. Storytelling is critical, but so is showcasing a home’s unique architectural features and amenities, and providing audiences with a thorough, factual understanding of the home and its value proposition. Then there are all the fine details, from casting the right talent to choosing the right score. All of these pieces, when they artfully fall into place, help agents find the perfect buyer.
Wagner sums it up beautifully. “We don’t market real estate per se, but create places where people can arrive, feel secure, switch off, and recharge their batteries. It’s about combining information, emotion, and story in such an authentic way that they intuitively find answers to their own longings,” he says.
“A property is like a promise — and more than ever, a retreat from a hectic world. Therefore, a film must convey tranquility, clarity, and positive emotions that invite us to dream. Because we dream and remember not in still pictures, but in moving images.”