If you’re selling your house online and it’s not on video, think again.

Now broadband speeds are fast enough and video marketing is now affordable for everyone, it is here to help you generate more viewings which can get you that all important sale - By Steve Walker - VHS Productions

Having being a house-hunter, and in broadcast television for over 13 years I’ve seen the market, marketing, and the technology change quite radically. Unfortunately with the latter, technology, estate agents here in the UK have being very slow to move with the times. Criticised by the OFT and instead waiting to follow the lead from innovators such as Tepilo, and the small number of independent videographers offering to put your house on video.

Only a small handful of forward thinking estate agents are now offering this service, which has being used around the world with great success for a number of years now. One of the leading UK internet based agencies look set to start their video home showcase service in the next couple of months, call it ‘the final icing on the cake’. Video actually offers so much more than just ‘the icing’ on the proverbial cake, it is the filling full of flavour, the icing, the fancy message and decorations that adorn the top, right down to the presentation box your ‘cake’ is delivered in.

So what are the benefits? How much does it cost? Is it for me?

Well aside from the main benefits of a lot of viewers being able to walk through your door 24/7, and the convenience of time saved by wasted viewings, the video’s main duty is to tell a story, in your case, welcome to my house, it is for sale, and it is worth viewing.

Video is such an effective and powerful medium. Just watch how much information even a short 0’20 second commercial can deliver, it is usually very clear, and no matter what the running time of a video, it usually has a beginning, middle and an ending.

The call to action is what motivates the viewer at the end to follow up, so the email here for more details, phone for price or similar is the big important message you want to get across. Used for house selling I’m hoping you’re starting to see the whole picture how the story telling process can engage a viewer and keep them watching to the end.

If you take a look at our promotional video, or sometimes called a ‘tease’ in the business, it has a total running time of 1’26 seconds. The first 0’25 seconds is the setup, with a 0’13 second call to action at the end, that leaves only 0’45 seconds of actual home video which across the 18 shots of the home teased is 0’2.5 seconds a shot. Surprised? Possibly, it doesn’t seem that long compared to a house still picture slideshow seen many times no doubt across all the leading property websites. The difference is movement. Camera movement opens space and creates perspective, this is virtually impossible with a static 2 dimensional image. If you can open up space and show depth and perspective, along with a music soundtrack it is easy to evoke an emotional response in the viewer. As a seller that’s exactly what you’re hoping for, and with video this moment of emotional attachment can happen way before they even step through your door for the first ‘real’ look around.

That’s where we get to the second most important aspect of a video production, music and/or natural sound. If you heard the video without sound, un-mute the sound on your computer, and take a listen. This music was composed and arranged in house to fit the style of property and to compliment some of the shot changes, I can’t say we can write original music scores for each house we do, but as story tellers sound is one of our key tools to help keep viewers engaged in the unique appeal of your property.

That is the main benefit that you can offer viewers of your house online. By showing them more you are keeping them from moving on and watching another slideshow. Perhaps the biggest benefit to those of you selling at the moment is that video home showcasing is in its infancy here in the UK. In a market place as big as the property market you need all the help you can to jump off that well stocked property website and say ‘HERE, LOOK AT ME!’ Well you will certainly have that opportunity at the moment by introducing video to your selling tools now, and if you manage to sell your house without the agents intervention, you could also be saving between 3-5% of the value of your property, which well and truly covers any marketing costs.

Which nicely links to the big question, What does it cost? Well if you watched the video you already have a starting price, so in comparison to a 6 day local print advert there is no comparison. How many people are lucky enough to sell after one 6 day local advertising run? Average selling times at the moment are between 7 and 14 months, if not longer. That’s a lot of 6 day adverts if you want your property to remain in the spotlight. An actual video home showcase will run anywhere from around 1’30 seconds to 3’30 seconds, this is a well researched time in response to viewers threshold for boredom. When you’re house hunting how many properties are you going to end up looking through before narrowing it down to the chosen few you actually want to arrange an appointment for?

With the likes of not just Tepilo, but a whole host of property search sites, your video home showcase stays online until you’ve signed contracts. It can be uploaded to a host of video friendly sites including Facebook and YouTube, you can then link to your friends and colleagues and have them send links to their friends and colleagues, that is the start to your ‘viral’ campaign.

With Google investing billions into YouTube and video recently you can be sure it is the future, and it will be found. By the time estate agents use video online as part of their normal service, which they will eventually, you could look forward to High Definition Blu Ray Viewings, Property Channels on Television showcasing videos, Mobile Phone Video Marketing, the list is potentially endless.

So finally, is it for me? In almost all cases I would answer quite simply yes. But I must warn you. Most mobile phones have video facilities, and I’m sure a lot of you have camcorders, some of you may even be offered video by estate agents who will shoot it themselves as they do the still pictures. This can seriously work against you. How engaging is a random collection of amateur stills slowly dissolving into each other with no music or sound. Now I’m professional so to me I switch off pretty quickly. Some of your viewers may last a little longer out of desperation but you will be doing yourself no favours with a bad video. An amateur video is so much worse than a bad still picture.

My key advice to you is always call a professional, you’re selling the biggest asset you own, estate agents are not videographers or even photographers, and if you do fancy giving it a go yourself, follow some of the basic camera setup advice found in a great blog on these pages then give it a go. Tripod and lighting are your main allies. And please, before you upload your video for the world to see, watch it back a few times and watch it from a viewers perspective not just your own. And if all else fails drop us an email for a no obligation quote.

With huge thanks to: Steve Walker - VHS Productions www.vhsproductions.com