Why Are Real Estate Agents (except ours) Still Resistant to Shooting Narrated Video Tours?

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.

Narrated Video Tours Still Surprisingly Rare in Real Estate

The term “virtual tour” was introduced to the real estate industry a couple decades ago, and early vendors wowed us with 360-degree still photos of each room The latest “shiny object” is a product by Matterport. I remember getting a demo of it at a trade show several years ago. They call their product an interactive virtual reality tour — still photos in which you can use your mouse or finger to rotate each photo manually left to right or up and down. Gray circles indicate new photo points. You click on them and are taken to that place where you can, again, rotate horizontally or vertically. Thus, you can, at your own pace, navigate around the entire property choosing which room you want to enter and leave. Here’s an example of a Matterport tour:


Still, it’s only a collection of still photos with no narration. Personally I find it kind of dizzying and nowhere near as useful as being walked through the home by the listing agent pointing out the features of the home.

I have been selling real estate now for 19 years and seen a dozen or more variations of the “virtual tour” concept, but none of them include narration like the video tours we have been creating since 2007.

For this article I studied 50 currently active listings by other brokerages and only half have any “virtual tour.” More surprisingly, only one of them had a narrated video tour. The rest were merely slide shows, most of them with music, but 10 were completely silent, which merely duplicates the MLS’s own slide show. (Example) Two had actual videos but they were drone videos. Eleven had the interactive Matterport slideshows described above.

The one narrated tour was quite good in the detail which the agent shared, but the agent chose to be in half the scenes, which struck me as a little weird. I prefer to feature the home, not myself, in my video tours.

Visit www.GRElistings.com to view our currently active and pending listings, each of which you’ll see has a narrated video tour.

The Narrated Video Tours of Our Listings Allow You to Visit Them From Home

For over decade, Golden Real Estate has created narrated video tours of its listings. You can find examples at www.GREListings.com. If all brokerages did this, it would greatly reduce the need for open houses and in-person showings.

Here’s the video tour from this week’s featured listing in Lakewood: