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It's called VIDEO............

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Imagine watching TV, clicking to your favorite show. Due to programming changes, REALTORS have taken over the broadcast. Popcorn, muzack and a slideshow, anyone?

Um..... it's called VIDEO for a reason. That's the message that needs to go out to REALTOR-land this week (and for some time to come, I suspect). While millions of lowly seventh-graders seem to have no problem filling up YouTube with high-definition video, too few adults in charge of the housing industry have figured out that movies require one critical feature:


What's with the slideshows, folks? A panning set of photos doesn't cut it in the twenty-first century. Adding Pachelbel's 17th century greatest hit as background music won't send it viral, either. Maybe we should offer customers a vintage 1939 Viewmaster to see the latest stereographic images?

It's simply not acceptable that real estate searches of YouTube return nothing more than low-resolution slide shows. Pan, zoom and transition effects can't compensate for what must be the consumer's first (and last) reaction to these non-videos: Click. Move on. That's not what they expected; if the video turned out to be "not" correct, what else should the consumer worry about in the advertising content.

It's not as if there are any major barriers to online video, either. Most new mobile phones can do halfway decent video; most digital cameras have featured good video recording features for half a decade. Mini video cameras like the Flip or Kodak Zi8 are high resolution, high-capacity point-and-shoot devices that use a simple USB connector to pull video onto your personal computer, ready to upload. In fact, YouTube users can upload video directly from their smartphones, no computer necessary. So what's standing in the way?

(The first person who writes MLS in the comments will be sent to Siberia...)

Check out our video training lessons at www.mflearn.com

In all fairness, it's not all bad. It's just too few. There are some agents out there making some great videos. They talk us through the house and don't overly edit the clips, to keep that natural, personal feeling to the message. Some use a tripod, others just work with a friend, but those who are creating real videos are doing so in under an hour, at most, per listing. That's less time than printing, licking and stamping a typical mass-mailing to the neighborhood. And it's certainly more effective, especially with next generation buyers and sellers.

Video alone isn't going to turn the housing market around, but it might be one of the better tools for the industry to employ. Trying to reach the "sidelined buyers" with traditional media isn't going to attract them; it certainly won't engage them. And possibly, should a Gen Y buyer be subjected to yet another slideshow, it just might scare them off. For good.


PS: Check out our video learning lessons at www.mflearn.com - YouTube, video cameras, shooting tips and more! 

Iran Watson
Georgia Elite Realty - Marietta, GA
Marietta Real Estate Agent - Photographer

Video is no doubt going to play a huge part in the future of selling real estate.  It just hasn't reached critical mass yet.  At this stage in the game, we are still struggling to define video as a lot of Realtors and consumers equate a slideshow set to music as video.  That will all change soon enough though...

Sep 20, 2010 02:08 PM
Matthew Ferrara
-- www.matthewferrara.com - Boston, MA
Matthew Ferrara & Company

I'm not sure what you mean by "critical mass" - I just worked with one major franchise that has more than 15,000 videos on their YouTube channel - and last month YouTube served a bazillion (unofficial) videos. I think critical mass was hit by CONSUMERS years ago; and Gen X and Gen Y sellers and buyers are expecting video for anything they buy online..... Maybe REALTORS equate slideshows with video, but even then, I can't BELIEVE they really do; because they buy stuff online, themselves... they'd be totally disappointed if their car company or holiday vacation website only had "slideshows".... No, I don't think that's it.... :> Thanks for your comments!

Sep 20, 2010 02:13 PM
Iran Watson
Georgia Elite Realty - Marietta, GA
Marietta Real Estate Agent - Photographer

I should clarify Matthew, critical mass with real estate agents.  You are right, it hit with consumers years ago!

Sep 20, 2010 03:03 PM
Matthew Ferrara
-- www.matthewferrara.com - Boston, MA
Matthew Ferrara & Company

Ahhhh... I get it! Yes, you're probably right. Perhaps as the "mass" of REALTORS goes down, the "critical" use of video will increase? Did I just create a new law of thermodynamics? LOL! Have a great one!

Sep 20, 2010 04:17 PM
Larry Lawfer
YourStories Realty Group - Newton, MA
"I listen for a living." It's all about you.

Real Estate is a conservative business.  It moves very, very slowly to adopt new technologies.  The early adopters get it, but most don't.  That is ok, more for your right?  The best way to make your pitch I think is to show the results of what good video do.  Agents have to make a living every day, they are always looking for the best way.  Show video, prove video to be the best and they will follow.

Sep 23, 2010 03:05 AM