Time To Use Video In Real Estate Marketing

Are You Using Video In Real Estate Marketing in Atlanta?

Because if you aren’t, you may be missing some clients. I once made a property video for a client and a buyer bought it site unseen after he watched the video on his iPad while on the plane 30,000 ft in the air.

video-in-real-estate-marketingSearch Google for a property address. If that property has a video tour it will pop up in the top of the results! You can place a video link in your MLS, On Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia. All my video are made with purchased copyrighted soundtracks, so you will never be kicked off if you load it directly to Facebook!

Do you know you can now also directly upload videos to LinkedIn? THIS IS HUGE! Think about it. The more eyeballs you will have on your listing, the higher your chances are for selling that property quickly. And that’s what your seller wants. That is what you want too. I charge $200 for small homes, and $300 for properties over 2,000 sq.ft. Currently I include drone video in all my property video (if drone use is allowed in your area). Call me today (727) 418-9016 or send me a message to schedule your property video! Here are a few samples.

I make real estate videos anywhere in Atlanta, Marietta, Kennesaw and other towns of Atlanta Metro area. Ask me also about property photos, twilight photography, drone pictures and your headshots!

Realtor Marketing Skills Are Overrated

Stop Marketing and Start Selling

stop-marketing-start-selling-real-estate-tampa-bay-st-petersburgI know, Atlanta Realtor, I may get some critique from you about this post. I recently read an article outlining important skills a Realtor must have in order to be a “good” agent.  They were all good skills but 7 out of 9 were types of marketing know-hows that would somehow prove that the real estate professional has deep knowledge, experience and works very hard for the seller.  Things like taking good pictures, creating high-quality brochures, writing a property description, help you prepare your house for a showing, etc.

I LOVE all these things, and that’s precisely why I don’t sell real estate any more.  I like being a marketer more than a sales person.  A Realtor is a sales person?  Of course!  Last time I checked it’s commission kind of work.  So, if I wanted to list my home for sale, what qualities would I seek in my listing agent?

Ok, here’s a short list:

1) A good listing agent is a great negotiator, a sales person of great skill
2) Knows transaction flow in and out
3) Knows contract, addenda and any deal related paperwork very well
4) Knows real estate news in his community
5) Knows inventory and pricing well
6) Well-connected with vendors and other agents
7) Great closer and problem-solver
8) Great communicator who keeps things under control
9) Delegates tasks

Marketing skills?  I’d put those at the end of the list.  Why?  Because marketing can and, in my opinion, should be outsourced or delegated.  You can control your marketing, you can be the face and voice of your marketing, you can be involved in it somewhat on your personal time (like blogging), but putting together brochures, editing videos, taking pictures, fixing websites – is time that should’ve been spent building relationships, finding business, working with your sphere of influence and with your leads.

Some may say: I can’t afford to pay someone else to do my marketing.  What you can’t afford is spending your time on it instead of focusing on generating business.  Trust me, I’ve made that mistake.  Even your most creative marketing efforts that will generate you leads are worthless if you are not working those leads.

Do you eat your lunch alone?  What are you doing with your 500+ friend list of Facebook?  Your 10 closest friends – do you know what’s going on in their family life?  Do you know 5 most successful people in your town and do you know if they have a Twitter account?  Do you follow?  Answer these questions before you spend two hours making a brochure or thinking about your marketing plan.

I hope you know WHY you got into real estate.  I hope you are taking your “why” seriously and your vocation as a full-time job.  There isn’t much room for you in real estate business these days if you are not.  In the last 10 years the way we do real estate evolved rapidly.  However, if you are new to this business or struggling to build it to a level of success – I have some thoughts to share with you. But that’s in my next post…

Tell Your Story – Reach Your Audience With Quality Media. Domain Homes

livingroom149I have worked with Domain Homes for a couple years now.  I could see passion in what they do and their enthusiasm for creating a brand name that is recognizable and carries a great reputation. My passion was to work with such passionate people. I wanted to come along and help them in this pursuit. Idea after idea, project after project, Domain Homes has grown into a reputable company in Tampa Bay whose brand is well recognised.

Quality Photography

design-center188For Domain Homes it was not a question wether they needed to present their homes with great photography. They wanted quality and consistency. Every model home was photographed and featured with a video tour.

Video

They wanted more. They honored owners of the lots they bought from, threw parties for them and presented gifts. When a kids baseball league found some of their equipment stolen Domain Homes stepped in and purchased new item for them. They also kept the story-line going with photos and video.

When I suggested we create a video presentation of their Enclave Model in the style of House Hunters – they jumped on it without hesitation. The video is now on their YouTube channel and uploaded directly to their Facebook Page.

Results

back240For a small Tampa home builder they created a strong following on Facebook and you will find their daily posts on Twitter and regular videos on YouTube. The awareness of their brand is huge in Tampa Bay. People in St Pete know of them, Tampa Heights, Seminole and Safety Harbor – all heard about Domain Homes. Not an easy task when you are competing with national new home builder giants. Same goes for builders in Atlanta, Marietta, Alpharetta and other Metro Area towns.

Geographical Area of Services

Where Do I Offer Real Estate Photography In Atlanta

Currently I service all areas of Atlanta and Metro Area. After 13 successful years in Florida my family and I moved to Atlanta, which has been our dream for a while. I also travel as far north as Canton, Milton, Alpharetta and even Chattanooga without additional trip charges. I’ll be happy to work on projects beyond Atlanta Metro, please request a quote. My services include Architectural Photography, Real Estate Photography, Twilight Photos, Real Estate Videos (Video Tours), Drone Photos and Video and Headshots.

georgraphical-service-area-tampa-bay-real-estate-photo

Why Have Professional Photos & Video For Non-Luxury Homes in Atlanta

Spend Your Marketing Dollars Smartly

Dining Area St Petersburg HomeI was just looking through listings online.  Majority of luxury real estate is featured with good photos and virtual tours.  Very few have home video tours.  The trend is picking up though, I get more and more orders for video alongside a photo-shoot.

To Go Pro Or Not, and Why

The sad part is that homes listed slightly below luxury level, say in the rage of 200k-450k almost never have a video tour.  Quite often even the photos are not professionally done.  There could be many reasons for that: the home is not showcase worthy, needs updating or the real estate agent doesn’t believe spending money on professional photography is required for a successful sale.  All are legitimate reasons (but if you are just being cheap – that’s not cool).

I believe, however, most agents should try and discuss with the owner bringing the home to a showcase state.  Often the sellers just don’t know how, they need some guidance.  Rarely will the sellers turn down an offer to help stage their home, or decline advice on quick updates.

Master Bath home in St PeteYes, sometimes good photos are good enough.  Even if you take them with your iPhone or Android, as long as you know a little bit about taking real estate picture, such photos will be ok for, say, a bank-owned property, or a home where staging or repairing is not feasible or in case of any other distressed or high-risk situation.  Though, good photos, videos and blogging can help you generate leads, but that’s a story for a different post.

Inventory is still low but, if you haven’t noticed, the sales have slowed down just a little in the past few month.  It’s normal, the market will fluctuate.  Yet, you have to remain steady and competitive with your marketing and avoid slacking when times are good!  You can’t afford to cut your marketing dollar just because.  Let me give 3 reasons why professional photos and videos matter during any time:

1) They make your SELLER look good.

Will neighbors Google your listing address to see how much it is? Do they want to see what it looks like inside? Yes and yes!

2) They will make YOU look good.

You have to think beyond one sale. Every listing is a door to a few more. Your listings online are like your business cards, they are also your reputation, what people can expect working with you. Will the potential clients check out your other listings? Will they want to know a little about your marketing plan? Yes and yes!

3) They will bring you BUYERS.

Because buyer not only shop with their wallet, they also shop with their heart, with their feelings. Buyers love to connect with their future home. What could be easier than helping them do it with photos full of character and a video that perhaps will make them smile and then click “Contact Listing Agent”?

Spending Smartly

I’ve filmed a few home video tours of homes that are not considered to be in the luxury or high-end category, yet they also deserved a well-made presentation.  The sellers and the listing agents were happy to have these extra marketing tools.  Smaller homes take less time for video and photos, bringing the cost of the shoot down too.  Providing the luxury level services when selling mid-end properties will pay off in the end.  Why?  Because such marketing services are affordable and sought after by your clients.  Spend your marketing dollars smartly.

Real Estate Videos Don’t Sell Real Estate in Atlanta

They don’t, YOU do.  How would I know and why would I say this while being in business of producing real estate videos? Because before going into the photo/video business full time I was a Realtor in Tampa Bay for 5 years and I’ve used video from my first month in business.  To the very last day of me selling real estate full-time I’ve never had a huge and immediate boost in listings and sales because I utilized video.  What I did have was a gradual growth of clientele base who appreciated videos that I used in my marketing.

Real Estate Video St Petersburg Tampa FloridaI love photography and creating video content, so it was easy for me to choose and keep these tools in my marketing toolbox.  “Marketing” is the key word in the idea if using video, it’s not a sales tool.  Frankly when business becomes so very open and relational as it is today sales techniques diminish in their vitality.  They are still important but mostly refer to negotiating and closing skills. Marketing has become the lifestream of business.  The definition of marketing has become broader, fuller and more complex.

We choose marketing tools we like, feel comfortable with and believe will appeal to our clients.  We all know that producing a piece of marketing material is only a half of work done.  For it to be effective it has to be strategically placed. It works this way with video content too.  I’ve sometimes seen clients for whom I’ve produced photos and videos not really know how to showcase these gold nuggets to the world.

 

Here are a few tips from my personal experience on how video can boost your marketing campaign

 

1) Have a set schedule for your video production, by date and type

By creating a short video at least once a week you will soon have an impressive library of video content. But you have to be consistent and have a schedule.

 

2) Categorize your videos by:

– Informational (about real estate market in general)

People will come to you because you have real estate knowledge and skills to effectively sell or help buy a property. Informational video will help your clients understand your skills and level of knowledge quickly as well as figuring out if they’d even like to work with you. Sometimes we just don’t click with certain people, and that’s ok. You’d rather never have them come to you, than come and then leave. Your information videos will take care of that.

– Education (about specific neighborhoods in your area)

Education videos will help folks see that you know the area, and know details about neighborhoods, plus it adds value because you showcased the features and streets of the area they may be interested in. Eventually you will have a library of such videos and you can utilize them on individual neighborhoods pages on your website. How cool would it be to have a short video about a neighborhood and then list all available listing there right under the video?

– Home video tours

In your sphere of influence there will also be people looking to buy or sell. Producing quality video tours will capture attention of those looking to buy, because they just don’t see real estate videos all that often. Sellers will also notice because they will want one of their house done when they are ready to sell. Besides your sphere those looking at homes online always get excited when they see that little blue button with a camera on it. Motion video gets a lot more views than a slideshow.

– You can also do one on local activities and events, but keep those to a minimum, you are a Realtor, so stay with things relevant to your business.

 

3) Figure out how to distribute your videos and who your targeted recipients are.

 This topic deserves a separate blog post, look for it in the near future.

In conclusion

You probably don’t need video marketing if you don’t use internet to communicate with friends, family and clients.  Unless you buy TV ads most of your video marketing will be online.  But it’s not for everyone.  Either embrace it, use it, dedicate marketing dollar to it or stick with the tools you feel suit you best.  Remember, it’s all about quality.  Not production quality, thought it’ll help, but your content quality.  Step aside for a moment and take a look at your marketing pieces: email campaigns, Facebook feed, postcards, flyers, your website – does any of it deliver value?  Is any of it interesting, important, captivating? Is any of it telling a story?  Because if there’s no value or importance – we (your prospective clients) can at least enjoy a good story.

Shooting Photos And Video At Snell Arcade

Photo And Video Shoot At Snell Arcade

front Snell ArcadeOne of the exciting things of being a real estate photographer is that you often get to enter some very unique properties.  I’ve been in hundreds of homes, condominiums and townhouses in over 4 years of both my real estate and, now, photography career. I primarily focus on luxury real estate, that’s where I can fully apply my photo and video production techniques.  Many of such homes are new(er) construction, which I love to shoot, but sometimes I am invited to take pictures of a historical gem.

There’s a lot of history tied to Snell Arcade and I was excited when a Smith & Associate agent, Brian Sprague, invited me to shoot his new listing, unit #210.  I’ve once visited a penthouse on 7th floor and was very impressed by the updates, unique balconies and its’ open, yet sophisticated layout.  This new place was on the second floor and much larger, with two good-size bedrooms and two and a half baths.

You can Google about the history, of this early 1920’s building, the club that was here, Mr. Snell’s office at the very top (which is now a two-story loft) and people that worked here.  But today I simply wanted to share a few photos and a short video with you.

living room Snell Arcadekitchen Snell Arcadekitchen-living Snell Arcadebedroom Snell Arcadebath-half Snell Arcadebathroom Snell Arcade

Every property deserves a video tour

Every property deserves a video tour

bedroom2bSome less expensive or distressed homes may not require a professionally done video.  When selling these you can simply shoot a video tour on your phone or small camera and narrate as you film.  As long as you keep your hands steady, keep it short and give some valuable information to your potential buyers – you will be just fine.  You can use  your iPad or iPhone to quickly shoot, edit and upload your video to YouTube – it will take just under 15 minutes.

Some homes are worthy of a professionally done video.  There’s a misconception that such tours are only done for expensive high-end homes.  Not necessarily.  I have a Realtor friend and he decided to produce professional videos for every listing he gets over $100k.  The potential commission on a $150k sale is around $4,500 (or $9,000 if you work directly with both the seller and the buyer).  Many good agents will spend up to 20% of their income on marketing and advertising.  So, is it worth spending a few hundred dollars on professional photos and video tour? Here’s an example of a simple video tour I just finished. Trust me, it won’t break your marketing bank.

What is your vision and what is your plan?

Is-your-vision-planned-outDeciding how much money to set aside for marketing and advertising and what portion of it will be used for video and photography – is not always easy.  Realtors have to spend a lot of money every year: Realtors fees, MLS dues, Supra lockbox, desk fees, splits with a broker, office supplies, technology fees, franchise fees – these are often a must.  Video and photo often fall in the voluntary expense fund (if there’s any left) out of which you pay for enhanced listings on home search sites,  mail-outs, postcards, brochures, magazine ads, food for open houses and broker’s opens, personal website, IDX search plug in, membership in local networking clubs, and many more.

My advice would be to start with your vision and skill assessment.  Decide where you want to be in 5, 10 years, what you need to learn and then focus on getting there.  Some aspire to always work on their own, others want to build a team, some dream of becoming a broker, others desire to run a commercial real estate division.  Your plan and your vision will affect how you apply your marketing money.  How much of your budget should go to marketing will depend on what stage you are in.  Don’t spend your dollars on any marketing without having a vision and a plan to accomplish it.

You will have to adapt to the ever-changing world and learn new technology on the way to your dream.  Decide early on to only use technology that can substantially boost your business and give you advantages over competition without changing your vision and core values, and without putting a strain on your budget.

Real Estate Video Misunderstood

Real Estate Video Misunderstood

Slideshow-is-not-video-real-estateFrankly, I have no idea how much longer we will experience the deceptive promise a of a real estate video tour when what you actually get is a slideshow. Including a Ken Burns effect, logo, and (cheesy) music is not exactly what you’d call video production. Most agents host their slideshows on YouTube; however, I believe YouTube has intentions of limiting the presence of the slideshow videos since it is primarily a full-motion hosting service. Yes, full-motion is key!

Quality Issues

In fact, a slideshow put together in a video format and then uploaded to YouTube loses quality because of compression. The photos in your video slideshow become low-resolution and often very pixilated. You can watch a video in 1080p but most people watch YouTube videos in 360p format – a far cry from your 20 megapixel resolution photos you stitched in a slideshow for which you probably paid some serious money. Compressed full-motion video that was shot professionally will still look good even at 360p. This low resolution is offered for faster streaming and only good for full-motion video. Nothing wrong with slideshows, but keep them in that format and avoid convert ing them to video.

They Said “Video”

Most agents have visited a seminar where a real estate social media guru (who has possibly never sold a house) lectured on the importance of using video in your marketing. And rightly so. There’s no question video is one of the fastest growing marketing tools for businesses. What the expert may fail to mention is HOW to use it. So, we take take our cue from others and try shortcuts, often outsourcing to vendors if its easy and cheap. If a virtual tour provider is offering you a video tour, inquire whether its real video/full-motion. Also, ask whether a videographer will shoot your listing or if the offer only includes uploading your virtual tour slideshow to YouTube. If the latter, don’t waste your money. Just do a slideshow yourself for free in 5 minutes. Consumers want to see a video, not the same pictures they just saw in the listing info, now in a form of a sloooow slideshow. Simply check your YouTube watching stats to see that your video views are stopped at about 5th second of your slideshow. The remaining 4 or 5 minutes? They are pointlessly occupying YouTube’s server somewhere on the other side of the world.

Come on, you can do it!

True-Home-Video-Tour-YouTubeWhatever you do, please don’t call a slideshow a video. It really makes some buyers annoyed because, frankly, you are wasting their time. Video sparks emotions and gives viewers a way to connect with the property and the neighborhood (if you include that in the video).

Why not make a video tour of your listing? Pull out your phone, hold it steady, and make a 1 minute video presentation of your listing – trust me, buyers love it. Even better, hire a professional to give you an edge over the competition.