Video and Real Estate Listings Part 3

August 7, 2006

(This post available in español/portugues

We covered a bunch of issues in part 1 and part 2 of this series of posts. Two seemingly random and unconnected areas that I want to cover in this post include the following:

Equipment: Video as it relates to podcasts, vlogs, and vcasts doesn’t need to be a particularly expensive profession or hobby. Good shooting techniques and some understanding of basic lighting techniques can often make up for a small budget.  Keeping a sharp eye out for quality gently-used video and support gear also will help to stretch the budget. If there is any one piece of gear that I would recommend as being essential, it would be a quality microphone. You can make up for a low-end camera with well lit subjects and knowledge of basic shooting techniques…however, it’s really hard to make up for poor audio even with the best video camera and incredible visual shots. Basic editing packages are available for most (if not all) operating system in the free to very cheap range.  Sometimes they are included with the basic set of programs that come with the computer.

We are just getting started but have high definition (HD) video and editing capability for own use in podcasts or for our services to customers. This includes everything from a Sony HDR-FX1 camera to Pinnacle Liquid Pro HD and Canopus editing cards housed in 2 dual proc 2.4Ghz 4GB RAM capable workstations.  In addition to improving our set of offerings after launch, we plan on offering several future series of video podcasts of our own.  Right now, however, the software team is focused on the launch of our ForSaleByLocals(tm) web engine that will be driving our three principal sites in English, Spanish, and Portuguese as well as a number of language and country-focused real estate sites. All this while continuing to grow international real estate communities with our Spanish and Portuguese weblogs – yikes! Busy days… 

Know the Business Goal: When you are part of an agency that sells hundreds of properties or a FSBO seller looking selling your own property, one should not forget that investment of time, effort, and resources in making a vlog or podcast constitute a business decision. Despite what you may read, video is not some kind of new magic elixir for home sales nor does it fully take the place of personal contact of an agent or owner. Digital video via the web and even 360 degree shooting techniques have been around for a few years now.  I remember playing with QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR) some years ago when it first came out – if I recall correctly, the quality of the 360 shots wasn’t too different from today and there were a few real estate sites that incorporated this “new” technology at the time with unknown results. 

Video should be regarded as a means to an end. If the property sells in the desired price range, mission accomplished. The best of videos likely won’t sell a home by itself and (surprise) homes will continue to briskly sell even if video isn’t included with the listing.  Video is a tool and, like any tool, it can have a use or it can stay in the toolbox and rust.  Understanding why you want to include video in your listing(s) and whether it is worth the time/effort/money involved is another business decision that needs to be approached with the same due diligence as any other.

So why are we involved? Our rationale for being involved with video as part of the real estate buying process is fairly simple. Sellers of all types of properties are leaving no affordable stone unturned when it comes to finding qualified buyers. Some US sellers in certain markets are even pursuing a strategy of drama pricing to widen their pool of prospective buyers.   We see translation of published listings and use/accessibility of online video as a key element in expanding potential customer bases

Tools and techniques such as downloadable podcasts/vcasts and video integrated with searchable translated online listings can help bring a house to life for far flung buyers and sellers. As an example, US real estate might be considered a bargain for an otherwise forgotten international buyer who knows that just over 250,000 Euros would have bought the same USD$350,000 house in May that would have cost him or her a good 370,000 Euros just a few years ago.  Another example might be the US buyer of vacation property looking to find a deal at local prices with the owner of a perfect property that happens to not speak English well. For years, many international agents have routinely taken professional video of properties for sale and narrated them in their local language. These are only a few examples of the spaces that may be currently underserved by the real estate community at large and that innovative use of video can help us fill as part of a wider online real estate strategy. 

Feel free to add your thoughts to the conversation…

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