December 10, 2015
Over the last few years, I have seen an increase in what could be considered the gold standard when it comes to real estate property tours. These videos include flashy sports cars, beautiful actors, and the tried and true method of using sex to sell. For all intents and purposes these videos are the “Titanic” (think James Cameron) of real estate video - gorgeous; beautifully shot; engaging; but also insanely expensive. And while most of us are understandably unwilling to spend $20,000 or more on a property tour, there are three lessons we can appropriate from these high end property tours for a more reasonably budgeted video.

Lesson #1: Sell the lifestyle, not the home

In every single one of these videos the filmmaker understands that they are selling the lifestyle a home can provide more than the home itself. The heart of any sale lies in psychology. We buy a home because of the improved lifestyle it offers us. In the context of a video the home then becomes more of a character rather than the focal point. The filmmaker isn’t just walking us through a home, they are showing us the life we could live here. This is essentially the same thing as staging a house through video.

While you may not have access to that flashy sports car, you can be creative with your resources. Work with your filmmaker to develop a few ideas that are feasible with your budget. If you are interested in hiring actors, local actors are frequently not as expensive as you would think. Many actors starting out will be willing to work for a smaller fee in exchange for exposure. Please do not ask these actors to work for free, it is insulting to all creative professionals. Expect to pay at least $100/day. 

Here is one of my favorite videos that uses creativity to sell a lifestyle:

Lesson #2: Go for quality filmmaking

The second lesson that you can appropriate from these ultra-chic videos is that they understand the value of quality filmmaking and aren’t afraid to make an investment in a skilled filmmaker. Video is not cheap. Filmmakers hone their craft through training and experience. When you hire a filmmaker to produce your real estate video you are paying for that skill in addition to their time. Additionally, you are paying to essentially rent the very expensive equipment that your filmmaker utilizes. 

Understanding the value of quality filmmaking does not necessarily mean that you need to commit to paying an arm and a leg. There are a number of ways to minimize costs. You can talk to local filmmakers in your area to determine a reasonable budget for the video you want to produce. If you are looking for a simpler production you can reach out to a nearby university with a film program to see if they recommend any promising students. If you find you are making quite a few videos throughout the year you can work with a filmmaker to determine a deal for multiple projects. Or, if you are a brokerage truly committed to video, you can hire an on-staff filmmaker to shoot all of your videos.

Lesson #3: Understand their audience

One of the often overlooked aspects of filmmaking is creating videos that appeal to your audience. Determining the needs and desires of your audience is a great place to start when planning a video shoot. The filmmakers and brokers that produce those gold standard videos are generally selling multimillion dollar properties and they know what their potential audience is looking for. Having a good grasp of your audience helps to guide your video. Every buyer has different needs when they’re searching for a property.

The audience looking for the luxury condo in city and the lifestyle that comes with that residence...

...has an entirely set of needs & interests than the audience looking for a dog friendly, family oriented community...

...which is also different than audience seeking a boater's lakefront retreat.

In the end, the lesson here is to highlight the lifestyle through quality filmmaking that would appeal to the target buyer.

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