Video may have killed the radio star. However, it’s been much better for real estate agents, many of whom have used video marketing to transform their practices, usually for the better.
A well-made real estate video – whether a virtual tour shot by phone, or aerial footage captured by drone – can be an invaluable resource for both buyers and sellers, since it showcases the property in much more detail than a photo or textual description ever could.
(I say this as someone whose own house still exists in online property listings/databases mostly as low-res, badly outdated photos – the real estate equivalent of grainy Big Foot footage).
According to the 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 39% of homebuyers used sites with embedded video during their home searches, and 56% of them felt it was “very useful.” The 2019 edition of the same survey found that websites overall were the most trusted resource for real estate information, ahead even of the professionals themselves.
Why property videos are so trusted in real estate
“Pivoting to video” became something of a dreaded phrase in the media world in the 2010s, but the video revolution was much more real and more positive in the real estate world, for several reasons.
Reliable lead generation and nurture
How do real estate agents get people to look at their property listings? Video marketing is one of the effective ways, since it works at all parts of the sales funnel:
- At the top of the funnel, it can generate valuable page views. Links to pages with embedded video get 157% more organic search results than ones without it.
- Near the middle and bottom of the funnel, a compelling video can be the last nudge buyers need to make a call or send an email to a real estate agent or the property owner.
- Sharply produced video can also persuade sellers to work with an agent, confident that their property will be shown in the best possible light.
- Overall, property listings with video generate more than four times more leads.
Consider this video, shot for listing agent Brian Lewis for a property in Manhattan. It includes a great mix of external shots that give prospective buyers a good sense of where the unit is located, along with plenty of internal shots that show Mr. Lewis casually taking advantage of the apartment’s different features.
Basically, this video works as well for someone who has never seen 118 East 60th St #29C before as it does for a serious buyer hoping to get just a little more insight into the interior and what it would be like to actually live there.
Versatile use cases: Tours, testimonials, and more
The house or apartment showcase/overview is just one possible use case for property videos. A video might also be used for:
- In-depth guided tours of each room of a residence, perhaps using AR or VR tech (although be careful here, so that the video doesn’t mislead the viewer).
- Customer testimonials from buyers and sellers about their experiences with a real estate agent.
- Pre-property listings, in which agents introduce themselves and their methods.
This video, targeted at home sellers, is a great example of the latter approach. The real estate agent discusses the importance of picking the right agent prior to a property listing. She then shows some realistic shots of herself in action, for example presiding over the completion of some paperwork – a central task in any property transaction.
Unique and immersive perspectives
We mentioned AR and VR above, and they both illustrate the unique advantages of video in real estate marketing. From a starter home to luxury real estate, property videos let buyers get as close as possible to a listing without actually being there.
But while AR/VR are still in their infancy, other immersive types of video are much more well-developed and widely used. Aerial footage in particular stands out, as it’s both fun to watch and uniquely informative. More specifically, it can provide a sharp look at a property beyond the standard street-level perspective.
This video of a farm in Texas uses aerial footage to great effect. In just one minute and 48 seconds, it includes a precisely edited sequence of outdoor shots of nearby forests, pastures and bodies of water, followed by key property details and information on the listing agent.
How to make and share real estate video
One of the first questions to answer when thinking about real estate videos is whether to create and distribute them yourself, or enlist the help of professional videographers and social media experts. Either approach – let’s call them DIY video and professional and/or premade video – can work, but it’s important to know what you’re getting into beforehand.
Just like it sounds: You shoot and edit videos yourself or in-house.
- Complete editorial control over a video’s content.
- Can be done using a simple DSLR or phone much of the time (plus a drone for the aerial footage).
- Relatively cost-effective compared to hiring a team of pros.
- Possible challenges in getting the right quality, angles, etc.
- Can become time-consuming, with a lot of trial and error.
- Overall, requires considerable technical skill and digital media savvy.
There are numerous how-to guides for DIY video on YouTube and elsewhere, like this one, which offers a step-by-step look into how a team put together a polished property video using its own equipment. It’s certainly doable, but many complications can arise.
For starters, you will almost certainly need wide-angle lenses and stabilizers if you’re using a DSLR, not to mention a high-quality and well-placed microphone. Without them, you run the risk of unfocused and shaky videos that look low-quality to viewers, potentially scaring them off.
Editing is also crucial. For example, you’ll typically want to edit videos that showcase a house such that they mirror the sequence of a real-life tour. Ultimately, it takes a lot of effort to get a DIY video right unless you’re already well-versed in the relevant tools and technologies.
Professional and/or premade video
These are actually two different types of video, united by the fact that they’re produced by outside parties instead of internally. Professional video encompasses any type of video work from dedicated videographers, who will capture and edit footage to your specifications.
Premade video is a bit different. Some services, such as Promo, offer stock clips that can be customized and incorporated into real estate videos, especially ones designed for social media. To that end, Promo makes it easy to get the right aspect ratio for different social media platforms (e.g., widescreen for YouTube, square for Instagram, etc.). Others like Animoto provide a drag-and-drop video maker for easily turning your own footage into a video.
- Done by experienced professionals.
- Less time-consuming than DIY video.
- Highly customizable for different use cases.
- Not as much control over video content.
- Potentially expensive.
- Stock footage might not be as compelling as original shots.
Where should real estate videos be posted?
Property videos are frequently incorporated into multi-channel marketing strategies. Two of the most common channels are:
Real estate professionals are ubiquitous on social networks like Instagram and YouTube. We shared some YouTube clips above, so let’s look at one from Instagram here to get a feel for how a video on that platform might look.
This one, showcasing a condo in Orange County, uses aerial footage to open and then proceeds to a guided tour. The backing music track is innocuous yet soothing, and the camerawork is very steady. The closing aerial shots then show the condo’s position relative to other locations in the neighborhood. Finally, the caption includes contact info, plus lots of hashtags for high search visibility.
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Real estate websites
If you’ve ever looked up a property online, chances are you’ve gone to either Zillow or Realtor.com. Both of these sites allow listers to embed videos and virtual tours to give viewers a better sense of the property and help with real estate marketing.
For instance, here’s a still from a sample Zillow video. Sellers and relators can quickly create these videos using Zillow’s mobile app.
Aside from social media and real estate sites, videos can be included in email marketing (like newsletters) and on an agency’s main website, among other possibilities.
How long should your video be?
This really depends on what type of video you’re making, which we’ll discuss below. However, one rule of thumb is that most real estate videos should be between two and six minutes in order to hold viewers’ attention while covering a home’s features. Length will also vary based on any restrictions from the site or social media platform in question.
What types of real estate video content should you create?
Like cinema, real estate video has a set of distinctive genres. Instead of the documentary or the drama, though, there are go-to types such as the guided tour and customer testimonial. Let’s look at some of the major formats and what each one entails, along with a real example.
What it is: A video designed to accompany a specific property listing.
What it should include at a minimum: An overview of the property, including a look at (or guided tour of) its rooms and any relevant features, in addition to info like the address, size and agent contact details.
Relevant enhancements to consider: Aerial footage, textual overlays (e.g., to quickly convey the information above), background music, narration, neighborhood markers, stock footage, AR/VR (for tours mostly).
This luxury real estate clip checks all the boxes for a good listing video. In a little over two minutes, it shows off the property’s interior and exterior, with plenty of shots of a family actually using it. Aerial footage provides nice framing, and all the relevant contact info is at the end. It’s also a great pitch to sellers looking to have their luxury properties properly presented.
What it is: A video featuring testimonials from, or interviews with, a real estate agent’s previous buyers and sellers, local businesspeople, or other individuals of interest such as mortgage lenders.
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What it should include at a minimum: A well-edited, relevant testimonial that seems genuine and positive.
Relevant enhancements to consider: Q&A sessions, background music, interior and aerial footage of the property bought/sold.
In this testimonial, a Colorado real estate agent receives positive testimonials from numerous customers. Each is in a different setting, but the smooth editing makes for a seamless transition from one scene to the next. The background music is also lively, nicely complementing the overall positivity of the messages.
Agent introduction video
What it is: A video providing an overview of a given agent, how and where they operate, and why buyers and sellers should work with them.
What it should include at a minimum: The professional directly addressing the audience and giving them relevant information about what sets them apart from competitors and why they should consider getting in touch.
Relevant enhancements to consider: Aerial footage, music, stock video.
This intro from Arkansas agent Jennifer Skoff is exemplary. She addresses the camera straight on, describes the local areas she serves, and makes a pitch for why she’s great to work with. The video includes plenty of clips or her adeptly guiding clients through paperwork.
What it is: A video of a real estate agent offering guidance to buyers and sellers on how to navigate real estate transactions
What it should include at a minimum: Answers to commonly asked questions and solutions to various problems.
Relevant enhancements to consider: Graphics, viewer-submitted questions.
Buying or selling a home is a complex process. There are numerous possible complications related to which mortgage lender to use, when to sell and how to make a standout offer. Tennessee-based agent John Jones has honed the art of making advice videos that address these types of issues, such as the one below, in which he provides detailed guidance on how to make an offer that gets noticed for a hot property listing.
Getting real about real estate video
Buying or selling a residence is a high-stakes process. But with the advantage of sharply crafted video showcasing the property, these transactions can be made much easier.
As you make and share your real estate videos, don’t be afraid to go beyond the examples included here. Creative video making, whether DIY or from a professional team, can be decisive in landing a key client. For more ideas on how to incorporate video in your overall real estate marketing strategy, you can check out our longform guide on that subject.