“Why hire a professional videographer to shoot listings?” I’ve seen that question a lot lately, along with articles about the hows or whys of creating your own listing videos.

I’ll admit that hiring a professional videographer costs money. And with high-resolution video cameras and editing software widely available, you may think that nothing could be simpler than throwing together a listing video. But there are several reasons to think again.

1. Return on investment. Making your own listing videos is like changing your own oil. It sounds like an easy money-saver, until you get halfway into it and realize just how complicated and time-consuming it really is. Making a quality listing video takes several hours from start to finish, counting travel and shooting time, as well as editing and uploading. Add unexpected glitches with equipment or software, and the payoff dwindles even more. It makes far more sense to spend the time doing what you do best: selling houses. Listing presentations, an open house (or two) and showings are all a better return on your time.

2. The “wow” factor. It’s relatively easy to capture video footage, but it’s much harder to get the lighting right, edit the footage, and incorporate music or a voice-over. It’s a skillset most people just don’t have. But those touches are important — they create an immersive, “sticky” experience that keeps buyers engaged and focused on the home from start to finish. Pay a pro to get that “wow” factor, and you’re more likely to impress buyers and sell the home quickly, possibly even for a higher price.

3. Flexibility. Using a pro opens the door to options that would be too complicated to manage on your own. You can be on camera for a guided tour of the home or neighborhood. You can bring in multiple cameras to give the video more visual interest. Or you can set up movie-style scenes that draw buyers in as only storytelling can. Extra features like these can be especially helpful for premium listings, where prospective buyers are harder to impress.

4. Competitiveness. There is generally a noticeable difference between professional and amateur video. As a result, professionally produced videos tend to get more attention and make a more favorable impression, whether you’re using them to sell houses or recruit new clients.

That means professionally produced listing videos help you compete, from any perspective. If you’re the first in your market to use them, congratulations! You just set the bar for everyone else. If other agents in your market are already using professional videos, then you need to do the same to stay relevant.

Making your own listing videos will certainly save you money in the short term — but the cost in time, opportunity and selling power makes hiring a pro a better value.

Kathryn Royster is the communications coordinator for HouseLens, the nation’s largest provider of walk-through video house tours. Her personal real estate passions are old houses and getting in over her head on restoration projects.

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