Home Selling in 98075>Question Details

Linny05, Home Seller in 98005

What do you think of property videos? Additionally, what do you think of having the seller(s) in the video?

Asked by Linny05, 98005 Wed Dec 16, 2009

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Ardell, I disagree with you, and I did answer Linny05's question. To recap: I think they're a slightly bad idea, not worth the electrons, time, and money to produce, because I think they hamper the sales process slightly rather then help. And even the people on reality TV shows had to audition.

This doesn't mean we shouldn't do them, especially when the Seller wants one done. But they deserve to know, up front, that we're not going to get kind of results that they see on HGTV.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
Why should the seller not be in the video? Because s/he'll look a complete dork, that's why. Do they have any cinema experience? Do they know how to pose, look into a camera, move in a scene? No, they don't. It looks easy because even the "worst" television and film actors study and rehearse intensely.

Ardell, who has provided a link to one of the best videos, demonstrates - to my mind - why they're terrible. Fifteen seconds into it, the powerlines dominate the scene. This is a house with a killer view, mind you. The video does not do the house nor the view justice.

And how could it? A guy or two comes out, shoots ten or twenty minutes worth of film, takes the light as s/he finds it, edits it, and calls it good.

Sellers like them, we do them because sellers like them. Anecdotally, I'm sure that many houses have sold because buyers first saw the video, but I don't think so.

With Garage Band, everybody may be a musician, but everybody is not yet a film producer.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
This video was done artistically. The home was fully restored after the owner, a local artist, passed away. The song was her favorite song.


The mls has a rule against people being in any of the photos so it's likely that they would also have a rule against people in the video as well. That means it could not be displayed in the mls or through an mls feed and you would have to have a means to distribute it widely.

I originally sold real estate on the East Coast where there is more interaction between buyers and sellers as they come to the closing at the same time and sign in the same room. The have "a settlement" vs. an escrow closing.

I have arranged on several occasions for the buyers to meet the sellers, but there really is an art to it. Timing is very important and it is not a good idea for the meeting to take place until after negotiations in most cases. I have done a few negotiations with all parties at the house, but have had the sellers wait on the patio while talking to the buyers (writing the offer) and the then buyers went out on the patio while I presented the offer to the sellers, back and forth until they were in agreement on all things, and then they all came in together and we had a toast. It was very nice.

I also arranged for my buyer clients to meet the sellers who were very knowledgeable about a large addition to the home and we had a few questions after the inspection. Went very well. It really depends on the demeanor of the parties at the time of the meeting. Buyers can ask some odd questions or kick tires or do things that might upset the seller, so it doesn't work in every case. I think I am better at making those judgment calls because I sold on the East Coast for 8 years before coming to the West Coast in 1998.

I wrote a post on this in 2006


and afterward tried it several times, but only when I knew it would likely work well.

I think it would be a good idea for you to do the video of what you want to say about the house. You can have it in the house on CD's near the home flyer. People who like the house will pick up anything you have to offer.

Generally it is better to point the camera at WHAT you are talking about in the house, with you talking in the background, vs. the camera actually on you talking.

Hope that is helpful, and good luck to you.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009
As a virtual tour photographer and a REALTOR, I'm all for it. But there are some quality issues with videos so far though that will soon be getting better. I would suggest a good still photographer will be more effective than a video at this point. Take a look at http://www.circlepix.com or look at some of my virtual tours at http://www.circlepix.com/agent/145783 for some options. I would not have people in the pictures or tour though! People want to see the house, even if you're stunningly beautiful! Look at what some of the agents in your area are doing and what is appealing to you, will be appealing to the buyers looking at your home. And watch some HGTV-Designed to Sell,Design on a Dime and anything Sabrina Soto does is always right on target! Good luck!
Web Reference: http://www.JimMellen.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009
Thanks Tonya,

A lot of my buyer clients would like to hear from the seller how much they enjoyed living in the house. They don't care if that is in person or on a little video done with a flip video camera and uploaded to YouTube.

It does NOT have to be professionally done.

I think "the amateur" flip video with zero cost is actually the wave of the future....

This is where Mack gets to say "Ardelll...no" again :)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 18, 2009
Mack and Ardell, you both had valid points.
Frankly, I think videos are effective because people who are looking at houses love them.
I can't say that they actually help sell houses but they increase views because people want to see them.
Obviously, just like pictures, quality counts. The better they look, the more people are likely to be interested in maybe checking the place out for real.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
Again Mack, I do not disagree with you generally speaking. But let's give the person who asked this question the dignity of answering HIS question. The answer is YES that is a GREAT idea...now let's talk about how to do it well.

Maybe he ONLY gives it to the person who just made an offer Maybe his agent gives it to only those agents whose feedback is "the buyer liked it and they are thinking about whether or not to make an offer".

It won't be in the mls, it won't be part of the mls feed...BUT clearly there is a way to incorporate the seller's view of his own freaking house into our tight little...system.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
No, Ardell, I am not saying, "hide stuff from the buyer."

Successful marketing is, however, about controlling the message. There's a reason you didn't advertise that property as "Rugged hilly streetscape with parking problems where the powerlines haven't been buried leads to this fabulous view home . . . "

As listing agents, I think we need to recognize the goal of our marketing isn't to satisfy the most information-demanding prospects, it is to attract buyers to the property. And in my view, video, because of its poor quality and poor production values, does more to keep people away than to attract them.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
No, Ardell, it's that video - and photos, too - greatly exaggerate the impact of powerlines on the view.

On your video, 12 seconds into the film, BOOM! there are the thick, heavy powerlines. It's only a few seconds later that you get the sweeping view shown with a tiny little strand, but by then, well, first impressions count, no?

The fact is, the more flashy stuff you do, the more sellers think you're doing to sell their home. In reality, the flashy stuff doesn't help sell homes, it gives people more reasons to reject your home.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
Mack...people want REAL. If there are power lines...so be it. Are you suggesting they shouldn't find that out until they take the time to come out and see the house? That said, I would not go out of my way to include them, but I would not erase them with an edit program either.

People are NOT dorks. The buyer would LOVE to meet the seller of the home most times. The last thing on their mind is whether or not the seller is a a"dork". They are not expecting to meet Anjelina Jolie.

Truth is most every buyer would LOVE to meet the seller, to twist their arm on price, to get every morsel of info they can... I can't say the reverse is true. Often the seller does not want to meet the buyer.

A home seller with a video describing what they like most about their house, and possibly even noting its shortcomings...well, could be how real estate is sold in the next decade. I would consider doing one for every listing where my seller is hating to leave their home, but that might highlight the ones where there is no video :)

If we (the industry) fight changes, and we are clearly known for that, we will find ourselves on the outside looking in. Time to think out of the box instead of same old; same old.

Oh, and Merry Christmas, Mack! I don't see you around much these days...so just in case. Happy Holidays!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
I think videos can be useful tools. I don't think the sellers should be in them at all. I can't see any circumstance or listing I've had, or a buyer I've had desire this type of marketing (seller doing home video). The agent, yes, that's why agents are hired to list properties as they have the training, knowledge, and expertise of the industry. The agents also know what attracts buyers to property. My opinion of course, however, I wouldn't want to watch a video of the sellers in the house I am planning on/or thinking of purchasing.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009
I would recommend that you prepare a document for the agent to make available when, or if they felt it was in your interest. Buyers want to hear from sellers when they have reached a certain point in the process, too early and it feels as if they are taking the home from you rather than buying it for themselves.
Once they have an emotional position on the property and may be preparing an offer, your document may be useful in securing the interest. I've used this tool in the past fairly effectively, but it has to be done carefully.
I agree with the others, appearing in a video or photographs will work against your goal of getting a buyer, or getting the best price.
Web Reference: http://SammamishRealtor.Net
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009
A video tour can be an effective marketing tool. It can add another dimension, especially with music or voice over, that allows the viewer to "live" in the home while viewing. They can view over and over until they feel at home in the space. The objective of marketing is to allow the buyer to visualize themselves in the home. Staging specifically minimizes the seller's presents in the home allowing the buyer to see themselves in the home, and allows the buyers to place their furniture, their children. Pets, and their guests in the home. You never want a potential buyer to feel like a stranger in someone else’s home, you want them to “feel at home.” A seller should never be in the virtual tour, or in any of the photos. Everything needs to be a neutral as possible so that the buyer can simply plug in.
Web Reference: http://www.annizilz.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009
I'd love to hear more about having/not having the seller in the video. Our rationale for considering it is because when we were house-hunting, we often wanted to hear from the seller but they were essentially absent from the picture. We're thinking it might provide people with a peace-of-mind of sorts to hear from us first-hand. I agree that if we were America's most attractive couple it'd make the decision easier, but unfortunately we're pretty average looking =)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009
Video....good. Video w/Seller....bad.
Web Reference: http://www.phgbrokers.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009
Hey Jim, I wasn't going to name names however now that you have, I am most impressed with Circlepix. I've used them many times in the past. Generally for 500k and over plus custom built homes. I like their work. I can't say it was the selling factor, however, I do know the fact the potential buyer picked up a CD when touring the home pleased my seller and showed them the buyer may have some real interest.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 19, 2009
Hi Linny,

I've enjoyed reading the various thouhts on your question and whether it's videos,flyers,advertising,listing terms, you've found that REALTORS have a wide range of ideas on how to get a house sold. There is not necessarily a right way,wrong way,better way or worse way. I suggest you remain flexible and adjust your "medium" as quickly as you find it is not working.

As far as video goes, look into what format will work best for wherever it will be placed. A HD video may produce such a large file that the buffering as it is being viewed may make it look inferior. You also have to keep in mind that you have to make it as easy for the end user as possible to view. If they have to download a viewer to se it, they never will. Shorter is better so I like your one minute plan. If it is on a DVD that would be best, but you'll still have to get it in peoples hands!

I still think high quality stills and the "virtual" images available from a quality virtual tour provider will be your most economical and productive asset. A YouTube video is easily accomplished using stills and most of mine, people think are videos, but they're just stills. Music and audio narrations are also easily added. You might have your agent look at http://www.Circlepix.com and weigh the options before spending hundreds on a high quality video!

Good luck and post whatever you do on this site for all of us to see.
Web Reference: http://www.JimMellen.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 19, 2009
Hi Linny,

Great thread. And it made for interesting reading with many viewpoints and excellent discussions. I would have to agree with Mack. Effective marketing for the house is, to me, what it takes to garner interest in the maximum number of potential buyers - so that they come over and SEE the property. Compared to video, it's much easier to take a proper # of very good photos that illustrate a homes strengths.

I look at a listing as the resume of a house, as it were. It needs to "do it's job", and help the house get "the interviews" (viewings). Will a video really help with this?

Mack is very correct I think when he said that video introduces risk, that the prospective customer might see something that could pose a possible objection. There are plenty of opportunities for a home to create objections AFTER the customer is there looking at it. So, why give customers more potential cause for objection beforehand?

Now, with that said, IF a video is really well done ... then maybe. But how many people have the right equipment, training and eye for that? A very friend of mine is in that business, so HIS home might have a video when he sells it but he's an expert. I couldn't imagine that there would be a reasonable ROI for hiring a professional to do one of these, merely for it's hoped-for benefits.

What is more shocking, at least to me, is how many listings have relatively poor photos, but this would be a separate discussion and I don't wish to spin your thread off into an entirely separate direction.

As to your second question ... well that's interesting. If the house belonged to a celebrity then I might want to see them in some of the photos ... but in the video? I think that it might be an unneeded distraction. But I guess it all comes down to "if it's done right". And that is a very tricky subject. What might be appealing to some viewers might be a turn-off to others.

It is correct that many buyers would love to have some access to the sellers before buying. This was true of my last sale. And I had a very nice chat with my buyer. He wanted to know some things about the basement, and the extra work that I had done to mitigate a minor drainage issue in the back. He already had the official report from a certified engineer that I hired. But it was the phone conversation that helped clinch things, provided him with confidence that we really took very good care of the place (we did) and we got our offer the very next day. I'm not saying that this is appropriate for all situations. I think that most of the time that buyers and sellers should be kept apart, and that's where good representation is so valuable. Most sellers aren't in sales, and might say something that hurts the deal before the contract is signed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 19, 2009
Thanks for asking the question! It was fun! Happy Holidays and good luck selling your home. We all get an email when you post an answer here, so I would appreciate it if you would post a link to the video here when you have it done.

Would much appreciate it, and again. Thank you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 18, 2009
Some of mine didn't compete with Ardell's but neither did some of my homes I had listed. In certain areas, certain price points I think a video is almost mandatory. I personally don't shoot them (I've seen my work from youth basketball games lol). I hire a video tour company to do them. Again, it depends on the property, price point, location, etc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 18, 2009
Well, if it's not going to be as good as Ardell's . . . let me put it this way: I don't do them, because I can't compete!

But, you know, life is short. Go Hollywood!

Now, I'm wondering - are you guys any good with diction?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 18, 2009
Thank you everyone for your inputs! Great discussion and we will be sure to take it into consideration. This is now what we're thinking of doing: semi-pro videographers (HD), having us talking in the background as a video tour of the home is done. About a minute in length and provide people with a website (a web flyer of sorts) where they can go to see it if they're interested. The website will be on flyers at the house and around the community. Our Realtor is the one who proposed this idea and he will be around to make sure we dont violate any of the Fair Housing concerns. Thank you again!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 18, 2009
Ardell's your video is really good. Note, the sellers are not in it either......
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 18, 2009
I wasn't thinking of an amateur video, rockingblu, but there's a big gap between the professional services available to real estate agents for a half-day shoot and what gets produced for commercial viewing.

I think Ardell's video is high up on the quality spectrum for what we can provide to our clients, professionally produced and edited. Still . . .
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 18, 2009
Dear Linny05,

i personally like to use videos with the properties I list. The research on internet traffic, however, is conclusive that the number of photos is more significant than having a video or not. The key number of photos that significantly increases "hits" is 20 plus. The listing data, nowadays is downloaded to many many sites. A lot of sites do not capture the video, even though it is made available through the NWMLS download.

That being said, many houses don't warrant 20 photos. There are some rooms that do not photograph well, so shouldn't be posted. The purpose of the photos is to get potential buyers to call to see the home. I have seen far too many lisitngs where the Seller would have been better off without some of the rooms photographed.

I am definitely opposed to family members in the photos. You are putting all your information out on the internet. That raises a lot of security concerns for me.

The bottom line of all of this, is the package. Is the home a good value for the market place. If you would like a quick analysis of your value, my website, http://www.karenmcknight.com , allows you to compare what Zillow and Cyberhomes post as your value. This of course, is only a general guideline and I would be happy to do a Pin Point Price Analysis for you.

Warm Regards,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
I don't totally disagree with you there, Mack. Clearly the things most sellers want to do, are to camouflage the fact that the home is over priced, or compensate for wrong price. But I do not see that in this particular seller's question. I think he is sincerely trying to give something he wished was available to him as a buyer when he bought.

I see no reason to discourage that. Better to find the best way of helping him do what he wants to do, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone, especially him. Tell the seller how to do it well. But saying "NO...we said NO, and we know better than you"...well, frankly those days are over.

Timing is everything. I do see the advantage of the video being given (after carefully reviewed by the agent for the seller, for "turn offs") to people interested enough after viewing the home in person.

What you seem to be saying is "let's hide stuff from the buyer" and frankly, those days are over too.

I will give this caution to the seller who asked the question. 99% of the time when the seller is giving me great ideas of how to...the seller is not doing THEIR job. When a seller is trying to do my job, they most often are not doing their job. Pricing it well, keeping it very, very clean, eliminating pets and pet odors during showings, etc... I don't know why that is, but when people have their nose in every word on the flyer, they most often are not doing their job, as the seller, well. Even when they do get a buyer, they end up messing up on the home inspection negotiation by not doing their part well. Not sure why that is, but that has clearly been my experience to date. When the seller is looking over my should at all the marketing stuff, he's doing it so he doesn't have to go clean his garage. :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 17, 2009
I don't think videos are a very effective marketing tool. They have a tendency to warp the picture. Sometimes a large expansive view from a patio door is ok. I occasionaly will do a video of the neighborhood park or surroundings.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009
Videos are only as good as the specific video for the home. The purpose of pictures, virtual tours or video is often confused. Agents love to tout it as a reason to use them to list a home. In too many cases, the quality, or lack thereof, does more to repel prospective buyers than to attract them.
Check an agent’s success record of actual sold listings in this market in relation to their canceled or expired listings, as opposed to their flash. I disclose my track record when doing a listing presentation.
The purpose of media is to raise interest in the property and cause potential buyers to want to see it firsthand. People don't generally make $500,000 purchases without a firsthand inspection or two. They will however bypass a home if the pictures or video either provide too much or little information.
The marketing for your home should be designed to attract buyers, cause showings which result in offers. Video may help, but only if it's done well.
Web Reference: http://SammamishRealtor.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009
Video, waste of time and money; seller, depends on how they look at IMDB.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 16, 2009
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