If you are still doing slideshow tours of your listings you are living in the 1990s.

Today’s great agents are embracing video on their listings, because video offers potential buyers an online tour of the property (like a slideshow) but also increased marketing exposure through search engine optimization.   The fact that Google owns Youtube should tell you something.

How do you start taking video tours of properties if you have never done it?

This is an important question to ask yourself because if you are anything like me, the videos you take are clearly amateur.  I am talking about the shaky hand, the blurry lens, the whole nine yards.  What are the options if you want to bring a professional quality video to your seller?  One option is to hire a professional to take the video.  Companies like TurnHere will do a full professional video for a listing, and although they do a great job, you may question the value of a $200-$400 professional video for your $200,000 listing.

In searching for a solution you want to find a company that helps you to maximize your online presence by syndicating the video to as many places as possible to create that search engine optimization that you are looking for and many of the professional video companies do nothing more than create the video.  For me, in my search for a company that could offer a high quality video, syndicated to the world, at an affordable price, the answer was HDHat.

For me, HDHat has been a total lifesaver.

With HDHat, you shoot the video, after they give you plenty of instruction on how to do it, and then they make it look like you hired a professional to do it.  They offer several tutorials on how to properly shoot a video and they explain how to submit it to them via Dropbox.  HDHat then works their magic so that your video looks like a professional did it.  HDhat stabilizes the video (in case it looks shaky), sprinkles in a Google Earth fly over of the property, adds the voiceover (based on the script you give them), creates a branded entry page for yourvideo with social sharing links, and, this is the best part, they syndicate your video out to the world.

How much, you ask?  The basic package is $29.95 and the syndication for this package includes Youtube, Facebook, Blogger Blog, WordPress, Vodpod, Posterous, Twitter, Tumblr, Daily Motion and HdHatHomes.  For an extra $15 they will also create  Postlets, Craigslist, and Twit Vid postings. By the way, HDHat does syndicate to Realtor.com for you.  This is free for Realtor.com Showcase Members and there is a $25 fee charged by Realtor.com for non-showcase members to post a video to their listing. So, for under $50 you can have a totally branded and professional video to share with the world.    Sure, you do some of the work, like taking the actual video, but they make it look like you spent hundreds of dollars paying a pro to do it for you.  For the Standard Tour Package (the $29.95 option) you can submit up to five video clips with a total of eight minutes of footage.  If you need something longer you can go with their Pro Version which, for $49.95, you can get up to 10 minutes of footage.

Personal branding is everything in our business and one of the things I love with the HD Hat videos is that they create a branded and unbranded video for you.  Here’s an example of what your branded video will look like. I love the social sharing buttons at the bottom.

What type of equipment do you need to create your own tours?  That depends on what you are looking to do.  I have trusted the advice of the people at HD Hat and have purchased my video camera through them.  The prices are super reasonable and they know, better than I do, what type of camera will offer the best video tour.  Although you can do a tour using an ipad or iphone, check with the HDHat team to find out how to take the video, and whether other attachments are needed.  The best tours are done using a wide angle lens which means, at a minimum, you’ll want to purchase some upgrades to your iphone/ipad if that’s what you are using.

To be fair, many of the slideshow tour companies are now converting their tours to a video format hosted on Youtube, but as of yet, I haven’t found an option that is as focused on syndication of the video to as many outlets as HDHat offers.

You don’t have to break the bank to have professional video.  You also don’t have to settle for a “home video” quality video tour that you create all by yourself.  HDHat offers the best of both worlds and at a price that is, in my humble opinion, out of this world.


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