It is widely accepted that in order to market a property, a real estate agent or landlord must list photos of the property online. Despite much effort (and often money), looking through photos of a potential home is often a terrible experience for renters and buyers alike. Some of the most common complaints are:
- Grainy or suspiciously vivid photos of properties
- Aggravation of clicking on an attractive photo and realizing it is the only photo available for the property
- Showing up to a viewing and realizing the online visuals are egregiously misleading
More and more realtors are using video (and even virtual reality software) to show properties and provide information to potential clients primarily through Instagram and Facebook. In our social media-filled world, videos are more compelling, more informative, and more attractive to viewers than photos are. In this article, I’ll share video best practices and explain why it’s important to include videos in your marketing plan for an available property.
Importance of Short Form Video
While Youtube is better for search engine optimization, many realtors are now also utilizing Instagram for lead generation. Content is easier to share on Instagram and Facebook than other social media platforms, making it attractive to realtors. Though Instagram Stories are ephemeral, YouTube and the Instagram feed meet potential leads where they are and give them more insight into a realtor’s available properties. I would recommend leveraging both platforms as much as possible in marketing campaigns.
Modern residential realtors must create more visual content to show off their properties. Shoppers will often skip a firm or home if there aren’t photos or if the photos are low-quality or deceptive. While real estate firms often contract outside companies to create videos, many independent and rising realtors are creating videos themselves and looking for time and cost-efficient methods for doing so.
This video stitches together photos of a property to give the viewer a more interactive experience:
Here are some tips and insights on how to make your videos pop without misleading the viewer!
Good informational videos, to maintain viewers’ focus, should be between 30 seconds to one minute. Property tours will vary in length. Consider making a video in segments, like one video for each room or space in the house.
- Good lighting: For indoor shots, ensure soft, bright lighting -- generally, late afternoon (“golden hour”) is the best time to film, but it depends on the orientation of the home. Avoid direct sunlight through a window that might cause glare.
- For outside shoots, consider filming with overcast light. Overcast light prevents glare.
- According to a handful of recent house and apartment-hunters, renters appreciate steady camera, high quality imaging and lighting when watching videos. Try to use a stabilizer like Gimbal or Flowmotion.
- If there’s a gorgeous view or rooftop, sunset shots are an easy way to make a potential occupant fall in love with the property!
- Don't forget the importance of trust in the real estate business. Don’t try to improve the visuals by shooting from a lower angle if there are low ceilings or editing out certain spots. Show the property as it is to avoid misleading shoppers and attracting the wrong buyers.
House and apartment-hunters appreciate good sound quality
- Avoid distracting background noise, like lawnmowers, barking dog, or noisy trucks. If you live in a noisy area, film during the quietest time of the week. Keep your kids and pets quiet while you film to make the shot seem more professional.
- Try to keep your movements - footsteps, opening doors and cabinets - quiet by stepping carefully and greasing squeaky hinges.
- If the footage is noisy, consider muting it or replacing the soundtrack with music before publishing it online. You can add text to convey the meaning instead of relying on your voice.
Kapwing tip!-- Use Kapwing to add text to emphasize key features, like granite countertops or stainless steel features, or label rooms. If you’re speaking in the video, you can also add subtitles; up to 85% of social media viewers watch videos with the sound off. If you’re stitching together a slideshow of photos, you can edit photos individually first!
The key for property tour videos is to allow the viewer to imagine walking through the home themselves—start in the entryway, then make your way through the house. Afterwards, show the outside of the property and the neighborhood to help the viewer imagine what it might be like to live there.
In a video, you can also communicate hyper-local info about the property, either by speaking directly to the camera or by adding in text annotations. House hunters are interested in videos where they can learn neighborhood information, age of the home, appliance information, architectural style and any other aspects that aren’t readily visible or easily found online. You can mention the highlights of the property, local community spots (such as local businesses and parks), describe appliances, or showcase unique architectural elements of the building. Making a video script beforehand will help this process go smoothly!
What if the property isn’t very nice? Not all units will be luxurious showstoppers, but even low-resolution visuals add value. Many browsers have commented that they would skip a property all together if there weren’t any photos. A listing without photos begs the question “What are they hiding?”
Content Marketing Videos
Real estate marketing strategy starts with the realtor, not the property. To build your brand as a realtor, you can provide other helpful information to people who are in the market to rent or buy their first space.
This realtor, Joeseph Venturi, adds a watermark image to the bottom right corner that appears for a few seconds near the beginning of the video. He also adds padding around the video to make it square and embed captions into the video.
Realtors have improved their success by publishing brand-building videos on LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and other visual content platforms. Given the rise of videos on IGTV and Instagram, informational videos are easy to make and reach the viewer where they are. Creating videos like this can also help home-hunters feel more comfortable with attending an open house—they already know a little about the realtor who will show them around!
Realtor Jason Compton makes 1 minute videos to educate his network about real estate topics:
Below are some other content ideas real estate agents might consider when getting started with videos marketing.
Q&A Facebook live
Host a short Facebook live event while in a property where you can answer viewer questions or take more time to show specific aspects of the property related to these questions.
Have satisfied clients send in videos or clips to share their house/apartment-hunting experience with your company and enjoyment with their new homes!
The below example shows a property owner sharing his experience working with a real estate broker, Mark. The agent shared this video on both YouTube and Instagram (after resizing and adding subtitles and a title above the video).
City or neighborhood videos
Show off the city or neighborhoods that you represent with a promotional video to get potential clients excited about the area!
Realty Austin has a great promotional video showcasing all that their city has to offer:
Social Media Mascots
A unique real estate marketing idea is to use a mascot or cute IG personality for your team to draw in followers. For example, check out the IG account @stella_inthecity —a real estate agent who mixes photos and videos of her adorable Great Dane with luxurious New York apartment views.
Thanks for reading! If you're a real estate agent getting started with videos, check out Kapwing as a convenient, simple video editor designed for social media. We hope that you find value in our free tools.