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Not-ready-for-HGTV: My alternative to the listing video

I am not hugely in love with the idea of video for listings. My problem is simple enough to state: I think photos do a much better job of selling buyers on the home. Why? Because they’re bigger. Brighter. Of much higher resolution. And: Because they hold still. Video has geek-appeal to geeks and age-of-wonders appeal to everyone, but if buyers want to get to know a house, they are going to study it. Even if video overcame its crappy, fleeting quality, it would still be a poor medium for touring a home.

However: I do want that age-of-wonders appeal, and we always want to do more than our competitors can on our listings. And: If I can soak up another twenty minutes of a potential buyer’s time, that’s twenty minutes that won’t be deployed looking at other houses. The point is, there are good competitive reasons for including a video tour with our listings, even if video competes poorly with digital photography.

So what I wanted was a video format that made sense in the context of the listing — video doing a job photography cannot do, rather than video doing photography’s job badly.

Here’s what I came up with: An interview with the seller. This film was made this week — and, yes, I know: I suck as a videographer. The particular home is an extensive restoration, so taking the seller through the house room by room to talk about what was refurbished, what was remodeled, what was created from scratch — this is a way of turning video into a true added-value asset in the listing package.

The next time this seller refurbs a house, we’ll shoot video all along, memorializing the major changes. It might be slick to mount a web-cam from the ceiling to snap a picture every five minutes while work is going on: Time-lapse remodeling.

This works much better for me, in any case. We’re not depending on the video for high-resolution images — there’s luck! — but we are able to take on the story behind the listing in a way that is both compelling and uniquely suited to video as a communications medium.

And: As we do more of these, we’ll get better at them. I promise.

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13 comments

13 Comments so far

  1. Dave Barnes May 4th, 2007 2:58 pm

    Larger image please.
    One of the things I hate about watching video on websites are the tiny images.
    Get up to at least 5 inches high.

    Sound is very tricky to get right.
    You need to spend some money on better microphones and learning how to use them.

  2. Dave Barnes May 4th, 2007 3:07 pm

    Greg,

    I poked around on the website for the house and I would suggest that you remove “http://armls.marketlinx.com/SearchDetail/Scripts/PrtAgtFulPhoto/PrtAgtFulPhoto.asp?prp=Mls&where=+&…” from the PDF version of the MLS listing as it is ugly and distracts the reader.

    ,dave

  3. Chris Butterworth May 4th, 2007 4:26 pm

    All the techie comments and suggestions aside, this is a great (and forward-thinking) idea! And you’re generous enough to share? Thanks, Greg – keep that thought machine rolling!

  4. Tom Schieber May 4th, 2007 4:49 pm

    Great idea – great use of today’s killer app – video. How long until your competitors figure it out? Who cares, just keep innovating!

  5. Mark May 4th, 2007 9:40 pm

    I agree completely Greg, video is a dreadful medium, because its never going to get close to high definition photogrpahy… unless you spend 5x the production cost.
    Thats why I recommend floorplans – they are a great navigation tool, and it definitely keeps visitors looking at my homes rather than someone elses. Checkout this example: http://www.plansandtours.com/33

  6. Rhonda Porter May 5th, 2007 10:26 am

    What an amazing idea…and it’s so simple, yet I think the best ideas are. You’ve made the seller happy AND you’re promoting the listing in a way that is unique and beyond what anyone else is doing.

  7. Dave Barnes May 5th, 2007 6:25 pm

    As a homeowner who will sell/buy two houses in the future, I have this to say: I will immediately fire any real estate agent that uses the word “unique” in my presence.

  8. Brian Brady May 5th, 2007 10:09 pm

    “I will immediately fire any real estate agent that uses the word “unique” in my presence”

    Whatever for?

    FWIW, Rhonda’a a lender, like me, so this stuff is actually quite “unique” to us.

  9. Doug Quance May 8th, 2007 6:46 am

    I agree with you on the merits of video in selling real estate, Greg. You can spend a lot of money on equipment – and still not get the result you want on the web.

    Now what I have moved to a new web host, I will do more video… but like you, it won’t be the main course – it will be a side dish or dessert.

    There is a place for video – but the still image still rules.

  10. […] But how did they get a tin ceiling into a 1950 Ranch? Well, there’s a story behind that. Most homes, especially historic homes and custom homes and luxury homes, have a story. And who better to tell that story than the owners? So, beginning with this listing, BloodhoundRealty.com agents will include a video on the home’s custom website, which interviews the owners for stories about the house. Where did that tin ceiling come from? Go to the Video Tour link to find out! […]

  11. […] We don’t do this for every listing. We only do it when we have a story to tell, because video without a story is anti-marketing — worse than doing nothing. If the sellers or the neighbors have an interesting story to […]

  12. […] We don’t do this for every listing. We only do it when we have a story to tell, because video without a story is anti-marketing — worse than doing nothing. If the sellers or the neighbors have an interesting story to […]

  13. […] We don’t do this for every listing. We only do it when we have a story to tell, because video without a story is anti-marketing — worse than doing nothing. If the sellers or the neighbors have an interesting story to […]