Why Narration? Video Tours with a Voice

Services for Real Estate Pros

Smooth video, nice transitions, licensed music, and your agent branding. It’s the perfect recipe for a video tour. Or is it? Well, yes and no. More often than not, something is missing.


The Missing Piece…

That something is what you’re not hearing. Long ago, (even before my time!) silent movies swept the nation. Of course, they had music, but by today’s standards, they were “silent movies”. With no dialogue and no narration, and the occasional quick graphic, audiences were left trying to decipher what the movie is really about. The beautiful Greta Garbo's first talking film was in 1930 and MGM marketers enticed the public with the catch phrase "Garbo talks!". So, I think in 2014, we should also let our video tours "talk".


Answer their Questions! 

So, why do so many video tours today just include music and no voice over narration? With voice over, your viewer can not only see the home’s great features, they can also hear the key selling points. It can answer the questions in the viewer’s mind as they are watching. Are those hardwoods oak or cherry? A completely remodeled kitchen? New appliances? A home sound system? Travertine tile or slab granite? What is the home close to? New parks or award winning schools, wine country or local shopping?


 Not all are Equal… 

This not to say that all voice over is created equal. We’ve all seen those tours where you hear someone saying “this is the kitchen”, while you’re looking at…wait for it, the kitchen! The voice over needs to take it a step further. It’s about adding information to what the viewer is seeing, emphasizing key selling points while describing the features. Helping to create that “emotional connection”, compelling viewers to take it a step further and contact the agent for a personal tour.


Back in my days as a television reporter (thank goodness, I no longer have those hours!), it was very rare to ever produce a story (a video) that did not include voice over. On a rare occasion, we’d produce what’s called a nat sound package without narration. These were usually “just for fun” features, showing kids playing in the snow with the sound of their laughter, for instance. It could be really cute or entertaining, but when you wanted to inform viewers of just about anything, you would, of course, without question, add voice over.


Total Recall - Remembering Your Listing

With 90% of buyers starting their home search on the internet, you want your listing to stand out. And to be remembered. Studies show purely visual communication is more effective than solely verbal communication. The most compelling communication? It's not a surprise, it's communication that combines both visual and nonvisual content.  

To ask the question again, why do so many tours not include narration? If you’re using a vendor, some have to outsource the voice over artist and so it’s an additional expense. You may also find real estate video producers who offer it all, in one affordable package. A little research pays off.

A compelling video that marries quality images and an informative voice…it’s a recipe to hearing the best sound of all, the sound of a buyer’s agent making a fantastic offer.




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Comments (6)



While I agree with much of what your saying I will be the devils advocate here for a minute. First, who is the one reading the narration? No one wants to hear just anyone reading off facts about a home. I would argue that some narration can actually hinder a viewers interest in a home. I have heard some very poor narration more often than hearing good narration and it has just led me to turn the volume all the way down because I just want to view the listing. Also if you think about the actual experience of going to a listing most buyers (at least my buyers) just want to take a look rather than have someone blabber on and on about what the home has. As an agent sometimes were just there to answer questions buyers come up with, rather than sell them on the home. I personally feel not every home should have narration but if your going to go all the way with it then hire a professional that first and foremost sounds good. I think you have good points here but from my experience narration can sometimes help but more often than not it is distracting. Depends on the home and the persons voice.

Jul 27, 2014 04:39 PM
Susan Harding, HomeStar Video Tours
Portland, OR
Showcasing You and Your Listings, 855-579-6284

Hi Jeff, I appreciate your points and yes, low quality voice over is not the way to go! It needs to be done by a professional voice over artist, or an articulate and enthusiastic agent or home seller. We've found that narration is a fantastic tool to help hold the potential buyer's attention and engage them with the video. It also helps to differentiate the agent's listing from the 30+ other homes that the viewer may have also watched. It makes listings more memorable and since the agent is not there when they view the tour, it helps to answer the viewer's questions as they are watching.  

Jul 29, 2014 03:07 AM
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
HomeSmart - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

I can see how narration could add to a video presentation. I guess the reason you don't see more video tours with a voice is basically due to the extra time and effort it would take (or cost) to include.

Sep 06, 2014 03:11 PM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes™- by eXp Realty - Vancouver, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Hi Susan, nice to see you still visiting AR - narration is a fantastic tool - done properly. IMHO, one doesn't need to be a pro - but has to be reasonably easy to understand and sound authentic and enthusiastic. ( This is assuming, said narrator also uses an external mic for good audio quality). ;)  Otherwise, hire you guys, right? 

Sep 12, 2014 06:56 AM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

The sound is 40% of the video punch, effectiveness. The just a bed that starts off Star Wars action packed and then inside the place is violins, cellos and keyboard ivories... well, those don't work.

Oct 05, 2014 12:00 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Susan Harding, HomeStar Video Tours - I'm impressed! Would love to have you write more on this topic. 

Thank you!

Jan 15, 2018 07:40 PM