Real Estate Video Is Dead, Encore

I happen to agree 100% with my old friend Joel Burslem over at 1000watt on this:

This technology is also a truely democratizing force, meaning your marketing collateral can now compete with the best that Madison Avenue can cook up. In the eyes of consumers, a boutique brokerage can now sit on a level playing field with the big brands with their multi-million dollar ad budgets. No more hokey Handi-cams. Please!

The listing video they use to highlight is an excellent piece of craftsmanship.

I love that the video stars the homeowner; who else would be as passionate about the house, or be as expert on what it’s like to live there?

There’s a second part of this “video is dead; long live cinema” idea.  More after the jump.

Telling Your Story

Real estate video doesn’t have to be only about listings and houses.  They can and should be about you, the realtor.  So first, take a look at this:

Although “professionally done”, the video falls far short of being interesting or informative or creating any sort of a consumer response short of boredom.  What could such a video look like?  Well, take a look at this.

That’s passion on display, in a quiet but sincere way.  Manakintowne is a small boutique farm in central Virginia.  The owners are quite obviously in love with what they do.  They believe in what they’re doing, and no one pretends that farming is easy work or glamorous work.

But look at what these farmers think about food, about “feeding someone”, and how critical eating is to being human.  Is housing any different?  Why couldn’t people whose lives revolve around buying and selling houses come across this genuine, this authentic, this passionate?

The answer is, I think, that they could.  If they thought about it, and used some of the video technology that Joel talks about.

So get to it.  Tell your story.  Don’t just try to hawk yourself or your warez.  Tell your story.

And if you can’t tell your story with passion, authenticity, with genuine love of what you do… might I suggest finding a different line of work?  Maybe like tax collectors, or government healthcare bureaucrat or some such thing?

But It Ain’t the Tools; It’s the Story

I do differ with Joel, however, in one small respect: it isn’t the technology that matters, it’s the story.  Hokey handicams or Flip videos could work magic just as well as the Canon 5D-MK or the million dollar Madison Avenue shoot.  In fact, it’s safe to say that most companies today are looking to Madison Avenue not for the slick production values but for their creativity and ingenuity in telling the story.

It’s not the equipment you shoot on, but the person and the story you’re shooting that matters.

So don’t wait to acquire thousands of dollars of equipment and training yourself how to edit video.  Don’t think you have to hire professional videographers to do stuff for you — although they certain can help.  If you’ve got a story, if you’ve got a passion, go ahead and tell it.  Right now.  With whatever means you have to tell it.


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Rob Hahn

Rob Hahn

Managing Partner of 7DS Associates, and the grand poobah of this here blog. Once called "a revolutionary in a really nice suit", people often wonder what I do for a living because I have the temerity to not talk about my clients and my work for clients. Suffice to say that I do strategy work for some of the largest organizations and companies in real estate, as well as some of the smallest startups and agent teams, but usually only on projects that interest me with big implications for reforming this wonderful, crazy, lovable yet frustrating real estate industry of ours.

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8 thoughts on “Real Estate Video Is Dead, Encore”

  1. Hey Rob,

    In case your readers are looking for companies who offer a variety of services to agents and brokers who are interested in integrating video into their property marketing – there are more than 25 listed on

    I think that the next move for Virtual Tours is to move more in the direction of Video – or video created from still images. There are some purists like vScreen, Turn Here and others that are strictly video – but a bunch that are hybrids of still photo animation saved as a video file and syndicated to popular video sites like YouTube.

    There is no doubt that the future of this category will be robust, especially as the price point moves from $1500 down to the $100 price point. I think that there will be a collision between improvements in technology for video capture that make it possible for agents to shoot compelling video; better usability for editing video; and video distribution services.

  2. I'm a geek so I like to focus on the technology. But as a marketer, I also agree with you Rob that the story is most definitely important.

    My point really in the post was that what gets me excited is that this technology now is so cheap and so easily accessible, that it is making it easier and more affordable for ALL of us to tell our stories these days in a way that truly does them justice.

  3. Rob,

    The first agent video is fantastic. . . there is one thing that caught my attention. The video shows the bottom of the agents shoe, not a big deal in the US, but for our friends on the Arabian Peninsula sole flashing is a huge insult.

    In this ever-shrinking world of cross-cultural boundries, it's a good idea to know that various societies have different means of insults. As we get away from text and move to video, body language will become more important.

  4. I do a lot with video in my real estate business. I agree 100% that it's all about the story. There are some very well made, excruciatingly boring videos out there, but look at the gems shot on a Flip cam that keep people coming back. The video should be sending out a focused message, in a way that allows people to connect. It takes practice – and I still consider myself in training – but in the end it is worth it.

    Excellent article!

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