Lights, Camera - and Who Left the Toilet Seat Up?: Video Tour Tips

Services for Real Estate Pros

Your video tour and photography session is the most important showing you will ever have, and the one that paves the way for all future showings. 

You probably share a home preparation checklist with your sellers and we always do as well...but through the years, I've noticed there are a few mistakes sellers repeatedly make, even when given direct instructions.

So, here are the most common oversights that when fixed, can make a huge difference in the quality of your video tour.

  • Turn on the Gas Fireplace: I'd say 60%-70% of the sellers I meet say they've disabled the pilot light and can't turn on the fireplace. Having a warm, roaring fire looks wonderful on video.
  • Light the Candles: Even though it's in the checklist, 90% of home sellers don't light candles for the tour. I have no idea why. But a flickering candle is a nice, warm touch and with a talented videographer, it looks fantastic in creating a welcoming ambiance.
  • Turn on ALL of the Lights - even the accent lighting under kitchen cabinets. When it comes to lighting...more is always better.
  • Close toilet seat lids, hide pet food bowls, and put away hoses strewn over the deck.
  • Don't wait until the videographer arrives to move things out of the way. With full motion, walk through tours, it's very difficult to film while a seller is moving items from one room to another and back again.
  • We love Fluffy and Fido but please put them in a safe place for the tour. 
  • Make sure Garbage Cans are put away and out of sight. No one wants to see those.
  • Finally, have the house ready when the videographer/photographer arrives. I can't count how many times I've shot a room only to be told later, that a chair/rug/vase wasn't supposed to be in there, you need to re-shoot it. It's always great to have it right the first time!

Just a little extra effort in preparation can make such a difference in producing a showcase piece that will wow your potential buyer and help them fall in love with the property and with your services!


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Comments (6)

Cindy Westfall
Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon - Tualatin, OR
ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate

Hi Susan, Lots of great tips here! Hmmm...I can remember one you did for me and not only was it garbage day, but the sellers were moving stuff from each room seconds before you shot them! Oye!

Sep 28, 2013 12:53 PM
Susan Harding, HomeStar Video Tours
Portland, OR
Showcasing You and Your Listings, 855-579-6284

Hey Cindy,

Great to hear from you! I've kind of fallen off the blogging bandwagen but am going to get back on. And yes, I remember your shoot...beautiful staging and a home with so much character! So fun...hope all is well!

Sep 29, 2013 06:40 AM
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Susan, saw your comment on my blogpost and thought I'd pop by to see what you're up to! Loved LOVED your video of your services at the bottom of your profile. You've come a long way, baby!!

AND, there's my dear friend, remember way-back-when, when the 3 of us got to introduce ourselves at the AR Meetup? Fun times!

Sep 29, 2013 06:58 AM
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living
Susan, love your tips because they are just the things we do encounter almost every time. Thank you for subscribing to my blog!
Oct 01, 2013 11:57 AM
Susan Harding, HomeStar Video Tours
Portland, OR
Showcasing You and Your Listings, 855-579-6284

Hi Gayle...Thanks so much for your kind words!! My business is continually evolving...adding more features and techniques to showcase listings/agents...and it's super exciting to watch it grow. And hope all is well with you at beautiful Fishhawk Lake! 

And thanks Silvia for stopping by...really looking forward to reading your blogs!

Oct 04, 2013 05:25 AM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Fire up the ceiling fans to they know on the other end of the signal this is not anouther slide show and tune bed powerpoint rehash of the images they already sat through. The sound of the back deck gentle wind chime, lake loons singing all add to the sensory. Make it more memorable.

Oct 05, 2014 12:04 AM