If you’re interested in hiring a professional videographer to shoot your listings, how do you know which person or company is the right fit for you? Assuming you’ve already seen a portfolio, try asking the following questions to narrow down your list.
1. What do you mean by “video”?
For some pros, “video” means using photos to create a slideshow that moves smoothly from image to image. The slideshow might include zooming into and out of photos or panning across them. For other pros, “video” means using actual video footage, either to create a walk-through tour of a house or a movie-style video that tells a story. Other pros might combine photos with video footage. To avoid surprises, make sure that you and your pro are speaking the same language.
2. What areas will you shoot?
A typical video includes footage of the home’s exterior, major living spaces, bedrooms, at least one bathroom, and the kitchen. Some packages may include additional rooms or exterior features such as pools. Barns, guesthouses and other large outbuildings usually cost extra. Make sure the videographer will be shooting all the areas you want to highlight, and ask for upfront pricing on any add-ons.
3. Who will shoot my video?
Expect just one or two videographers for a walk-through tour. But for a movie-style video, your pro should send at least three people: main and backup camera operators and a production/technical assistant.
Some video companies use trainees, interns or part-time amateurs to shoot listing videos, especially if real estate marketing is not their main business. So make sure your video will be shot by a professional, and ask to see samples of that person’s work, not just a general company portfolio.
4. What’s your timeline?
Once a home is staged and ready to sell, you don’t want to wait a week for your video appointment, then another week for the finished video. Companies that work exclusively in real estate marketing, or have a department dedicated to it, will probably have greater availability and a better turnaround time. Look for someone who can send a videographer to your listing within one or two business days and deliver the finished video within 48-72 hours after that.
5. What’s your cancellation policy?
There are many reasons you might need to cancel a shoot: bad weather, contractors who get behind schedule, homeowners who take longer than expected to prep for market. It’s reasonable for a pro to require at least 24 hours’ cancellation notice, or to charge a rebooking fee if the videographer arrives to find the property not ready. But rebooking fees should be no more than half the cost of the shoot.
6. What else do you do?
At some point, you may want more than listing videos. You might want to film a commercial, videos for your website, or an agent bio. If you can find a pro who also does these things, it will make your entire marketing process that much easier.
Kathryn Royster is the communications coordinator for VideoLens, whose HouseLens division is one of the nation’s largest providers of video house tours for real estate listings. Her personal real estate passions are old houses and getting in over her head on restoration projects.