The most basic elements of a real estate transaction haven’t changed for hundreds of years. Person A has a property to sell, Person B wants to live in that area; they agree on a price and transfer ownership. But technology has changed many things about the real estate market over the past couple of decades. There are now smartphone apps, publicly available estimate websites, online tour bookings, and more.
One particularly useful asset for home sellers (and buyers) is the video walk-through. Appealing, professional-looking photographs of listings have been standard for a long time, but video walk-throughs are on their way to becoming an expectation, not just a bonus. Think about how often video is used now in advertising, instead of just photography. Do your favorite products catch your attention on social media with just the static image of a flyer, or do you pay more attention when they offer a 360-degree view with commentary?
When a potential buyer is browsing listings online, a short video of the home is more likely to tempt them to schedule a tour than photographs alone. After you’ve visited a place once or twice, you already have a sense of how the property looks and feels—and it’s easy to forget that others don’t have that context. Brief clips of the walk to the front door, a panorama of the back yard, and a zoom from the upstairs balcony can do so much more. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but video makes viewers feel like they’re on site.
You already know it’s your job to present a home in the most flattering way possible. You also probably know that “staging a home” means to set up the rooms with appropriate furniture and décor that have a broad appeal for most people. You know that your photographs of the home shouldn’t highlight just how cramped the broom closet is, or that the bathroom cabinet door is ever so slightly warped. These are unimportant details, but you still don’t want to draw attention to them. Well, promotional video gives you the same ability to “skip over” the less marketable elements, while offering an even more exciting viewer experience.
When a buyer walks in expecting their dream home but instead notices irritating little imperfections, there are consequences. You also know the consequences when—instead of a neutral, “broad appeal” home environment—they notice things that are too specific to the tastes of the previous owner. You’re free to use the power of video framing to exclude those problems until they’re fixed. Help the buyer fall in love with the “feel” and “story” of the house first, before they are exposed to the minor, fixable imperfections.
One realtor tells the story of deciding to take on a house with excellent blueprint design in a lovely neighborhood. The realtor excitedly walked through the house, but found that certain areas were a nightmare. One room had dusty old aquamarine wall hangings, another had tacky, outdated black and gold borders near the ceiling. In the living room, there were ugly murals and a wet bar that had seen better days. The bedroom had a seventy-five pound sculpture of a tiger that would need to find a new home. If someone focused too closely at those details, this particular house would have the most appeal for a low-rent “Scarface” wannabe. It would take a day or two to fix these elements—but by choosing to omit just those elements from her temporary walk-through video, she was still able to get some promotional materials online and build buzz for weekend showings.
The power of a video lens lets you focus on just the appealing parts, leaving the unpopular hangings, borders, and murals off-camera. This is also useful if there are some minor repairs that haven’t been done yet. Someone taking a tour in person will be turned off by those few little holes in the drywall, not realizing they’re a cheap, easy fix. But if the person has already fallen in love with the house via video, they might be more forgiving.
Your walk-through video doesn’t have to be expensively made, and it doesn’t have to be perfect, or even a final version. No one is expecting a big budget, professionally lit production starring a host in perfect suit and makeup—this isn’t a five million dollar mansion. Providing potential buyers with a more immersive view—carefully curated—may be just the thing that will make them decide to take a chance on attending your open house or tour.