Narrated video tours of all listings has been a trademark and “value add” for Golden Real Estate since our founding in 2007. Many times in this column I have promoted the value of narrated, live action video tours. Back in 2005 or thereabouts, I even did a presentation at the weekly marketing meeting of the Jefferson County Association of Realtors (since merged into the Denver Metro Association of Realtors) showing my fellow Realtors how easy it is to shoot and edit a narrated video tour.
Yet, 15 years later I still know of only one or two agents outside of Golden Real Estate who create such video tours. Analyzing 100 currently active Jeffco listings on REcolorado, I found that only nine had non-drone video footage (60 were interactive slideshows or just slideshows with or without music). Only two of the nine had walk-through video footage, but they lacked some factors which meet our standards.
Our standards are pretty simple. It has to resemble an actual showing. That means the listing agent begins the shoot in front of the house, giving its address and perhaps panning to show the street and neighboring houses. Then he or she takes you in the front door, talking all the while, pointing out features that may not be obvious in a still photo or slideshow — this is a hickory hardwood floor, this is a gas fireplace, notice the mountain view out this window, this is a quartz countertop and Silestone sink, etc.
We feel it’s important to do a single clip of each floor, not separate clips of each room, so the viewer gets a sense of flow. Our preferred camera (a DJI Osmo Pocket — $199 on Amazon) has a gimbal stabilizer, so we can walk up and down stairs with Steadicam-like smoothness, but if we make a separate clip of each floor, the first clip ends with a view up the stairs, and the second clip begins with a view down the stairs — again to provide a complete sense of flow for the prospective buyer.
Because our video tours are the digital equivalent of an actual showing, we have sold some of our listings to out-of-state buyers who only saw the home in person when they flew in for the inspection a week later. They felt they knew the listing well enough from the video tour, and none of them terminated after seeing it in person. Isn’t that what an actual video tour should be like? Click here for an example from one of this week’s featured listings.
So the question remains — why aren’t other real estate professionals taking the time to shoot actual narrated walk-throughs of their listings?
One answer may be camera shyness, but all the agent needs to do is to talk, not be on camera. Just imagine you’re showing the home to a buyer! In fact, being on camera detracts from the video. I used to be on camera at the end of my videos, thanking the viewer for touring my listing and inviting them to call their agent or me to see it in person. I no longer do that, now simply putting my phone number and email address on the screen as I speak from behind the camera lens.
Another reason agents may choose not to shoot a video tour is that we are increasingly drawn to out-source our tasks, including shooting the photos (which we, too, out-source) and even putting the sign in the ground.
Typically, the companies which shoot magazine-quality real estate photos will offer to create a video, but they are typically just offering to create a video file such as an .mp4 file consisting only of a slideshow of the very same still photos that are displayed in slideshow form on the MLS itself. If they offer to add narration, it will likely sound inauthentic because the speaker is someone who hasn’t seen the house. In short, such a “video” simply can’t compare to a walk-through of the home with the listing agent, who can describe its not-so-obvious features.