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The Benefits of Using Video in Your Real Estate Business

by Sharon Vornholt on March 12, 2013 · 27 comments

  
Video

Video is one of the most powerful tools you have at your fingertips to build your business. So why aren’t you using it?

Today it’s quick and easy to shoot a video. You don’t have to be concerned with buying fancy equipment anymore. You can use your smart phone or a flip camera like mine which is a Kodak Zi8. As much as I love my little flip camera, the smart phones take such good video and are so convenient to use that I find myself leaving my camera behind more and more these days. And most of these devices can be used with a tripod if needed.

Video Builds Authority in Your Niche

I have written several articles here on BiggerPockets about building your authority or “expert status” in your niche. Using video is one of the best ways to shorten that process whether you are a landlord, rehabber, blogger or are in a completely different niche. There are numerous ways to effectively use video.

I have done podcasting and video and there is a place for both of these, but when it comes to certain things like showcasing a property you just can’t beat video. You know what they say; “A picture is worth a thousand words”.

The “Like, Know and Trust” Factor

You have heard it before; “People do business with folks they know, like and trust”. What better way to get to know someone several thousand miles away, than through a face to face conversation via video? It’s much more personal than a telephone call, and it’s just so easy now. Chatting with someone face to face online is a great way to network with other investors on the opposite side of the country.

The program I have been using for a while is called “Oovoo”. I use it to do most of my video interviews. It is free and it is drop dead simple to use. If you are a Skype fan, then check out “VOD Burner” which is also free to record your videos. One thing I like about Oovoo is that the two screens are separated. I think it is easier on the eyes then having two screens right next to each other. It really doesn’t matter which program you choose. The important thing is to get started.

Ideas for Folks “In the Trenches”

If you are rehabber or a contractor there are a lot ways you can use video. If you don’t fancy yourself a blogger, then try video for getting people to your website. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Before and after videos
  • Rehab “progression” videos
  • A video to showcase the property when it is ready to sell; kind of a video sales page

How to Videos for “Newbies”

  • “How to install a … ” you fill in the blank. You could do these for just about any part of the rehab.
  • “How to identify a roof that needs to be replaced
  • Subtle signs that you may have a moisture problem in your basement
  • If you have a site where you list properties, be sure you have a video of each property.

There are endless ideas for effectively using video.

Landlords

Everyone knows that you can rent a property much faster that has pictures. Did you know folks like video even better than pictures? If you have a property to rent just walk through it and take a quick video. You can point out any special features like a big deck or new kitchen cabinets. This lets potential tenants get a much better idea of what type of property you have. Video will definitely make your property stand out. If you are camera shy, you won’t even have to be in the picture.

Blogs and Websites

Most bloggers know they should be using video even if they haven’t started. Video will really help your site when it comes to Google rankings. But aside from that, what better way than with video to build authority and add that personal touch to your site at the same time?

Here are some other suggestions for using video on your blog or website:

  • Interview other experts in your field. I recently interviewed BiggerPocket’s own “Brandon Turner” for my blog. And he was great by the way!
  • You can interview experts that might be viewed as “support people” in your business. Those might include coaches, social media experts, and other folks that provide direct support to your business. I interviewed Joy Gendusa of PostcardMania a while back. She is an expert in postcard marketing and is the owner of a large company that specializes in postcard marketing. I knew that this interview would be helpful to many real estate investors.
  • Teach what you know to other people. You can do how to videos on just about any aspect of real estate investing.
  • Folks like me can be completely stymied by technology. If you know how to use some piece of technology, teach the rest of us how to do it.

Making Screen Capture Videos

If you are more comfortable with the screen capture type of videos, there are both free and paid versions of software that you can use. Camtasia is kind of the gold standard when it comes to this type of software. It’s really nice, but it’s also expensive. There is also a free version called “Cam Studio” for folks that need a lighter version. Another freebie to look at is a Microsoft product called “Microsoft Expression Encoder 4” which has great reviews online.

Here’s a tip for you: Just go to YouTube and look for videos that will teach you typically in around 5 minutes how to use these products. They will save you a lot of time. However you decide to use video, “Just do it”. Get started now.

I would love to hear how you are using video in your business so please leave me a comment below.
Photo: KayOne73

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark Ferguson March 12, 2013 at 7:30 am

Here is one of my videos on a rental property I have under contract. Pretty rough but I am getting better. http://investfourmore.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/119/
So far I just use the videos for my blog and to document the condition.

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Sharon Vornholt March 12, 2013 at 10:14 am

Mark –

Video is a great tool when used this way. Be sure to do an “after video” and hang onto all your videos even after the property is sold. You will have a “before and after” series one day.

Sharon

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Seth March 12, 2013 at 10:15 am

Great article Sharon. I agree – video is going to be the next wave of the future. I’m planning to make it a much bigger part of my business in the next year.

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Sharon Vornholt March 12, 2013 at 10:30 am

One thing I didn’t put in the post was that it really helps to have a video calendar (just put it on your regular marketing calendar). Plan out a month or two of short videos you want to shoot then put them on the calendar. It helps everyone to stay on track.

Sharon

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Seth March 12, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Definitely. What I’ve found is that the video editing usually takes the bulk of my time (that is, if I want the videos to actually have some worthwhile production quality). I think it’s worth the extra time to do this though – because a higher quality video tends to reinforce the notion that I actually know what I’m talking about (as opposed to someone who takes a 30 second video and throws it up on YouTube).

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Sharon Vornholt March 12, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Seth -

What do you use to edit your videos?

Sharon

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Seth March 20, 2013 at 6:45 am

I use Camtasia Studio 7 for all of my screen shot videos, and (while I haven’t jumped into the actual “talking head” videos much yet) I intend to use Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 – which is pretty good at taking the production quality to the next level.

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Sharon Vornholt March 20, 2013 at 6:55 am

That’s good to know Seth.

Sharon

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Adrian March 14, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Great article, since we live in the “realty tv” era, video is no longer just a nice or cool enhancement but its a most!!

I love the marketing aspect of RE investing especially video. Thats why wholesaling is a natural fit for me. I was considering offering marketing and video editing services for RE investors but not sure how much of demand it would be. Feed back?

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Sharon Vornholt March 14, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Adrian -

Most real estate investors I know are pretty comfortable with video. They all use their smart phones. I’m sure there are folks that aren’t though. Why don’t you test the idea at your local REIA? You could put out a flier and start telling folks it’s a service you offer and just see what happens. That’s a good question though, and I would love to hear what other people have to say.

Sharon

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Adrian March 14, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Thanks for the feedback Sharon. I think the ones that are not doing are not comfortable with the thought it should be edited nicely but really in most cases they can just use the master recording but of course the editing aspect should be there too to put overalls like the call to action, phone number, or website.

Your right also more and more investors are beginning to understand the importance of it and we should strive a bit to make sure the videos are good and getting better. I have seen videos made by investors and the audio is really bad and it becomes distracting.

So I guess you have both sides. :)

BUT still a great article and I hope it opens some ideas for people.

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Sharon Vornholt March 15, 2013 at 8:33 am

Adrian – I think there would be a definite need for video editing. There are always folks out there that we can help and teach. Go for it!

Sharon

Brian Burke March 14, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Hmmm…interesting point. I know how to shoot video with my phone or flip camera. I’m less adept at editing (I like your question to Seth-what does he use?) but I have one major obstacle to using video: time. As a high-volume operator (which would give me a lot of great footage, by the way) I just don’t have the time to edit and script what I’d say. Hired help would fill that gap.

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Mark Ferguson March 14, 2013 at 10:10 pm

I have heard from many real estate agents that they get the best results from raw footage just talking about houses. They don’t edit much if at all. They say people are attracting to someone they know is real just talking and not a a perfect script.

Sam Ferguson March 15, 2013 at 8:37 am

Hey Sharon,

Thanks for your post. My boss and I have been discussing our marketing tactics over the last few weeks, and we spent a lot of time talking about the positives/negatives of video. I have two thoughts I’d love your feedback on:

We’re only selling to end buyers and I’m apprehensive about using relatively poor quality video (from phones or flip cameras) as a real marketing tool. We typically put more time and effort into better quality photos (see http://newagainhouses.com/property/503-jonesboro-bluff-city-tn-sold/) instead of video. Are you ever nervous that individuals won’t take your videos seriously b/c of their quality? I’ve always thought pictures engage the buyer more b/c they get to “click” through at their own speed.

The other thought is that if the video is done well, it can almost be too good. It leaves little to the imagination b/c the buyer can see the whole property. I’m worried they’ll decide whether the house could work for them from their laptop instead of the living room. I’d rather the interested party contact me to see the home so we can talk with them.

Thanks for your time,

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Adrian March 15, 2013 at 10:08 am

Hi Sam

My personal input is if you see the value of video for marketing and you do sell to end-buyers, I would put the effort to make it great quality and you make do that with mid-level software.
Check out this video a realtor friend is doing in AZ, she rocks it.
http://youtu.be/jo5hCdzpYGc

I love the intro, she appears in the video (people want to see who you are) and the video movement is awesome, great audio sound so its clear and understandble (people should just sit back and watch through without stopping wondering what you just said)

I personally think video is two-fold benefit
First Video is where it is now and Sharon shares why in this great article.
But the 2 fold is
1. One for you, its so much easier to sell something by showing and explaning both visual and audible, its more personal, thats why reality is so big now. So the task is much easier than trying to write up a text or any other way than video.

2. Remember all buyers (most) are emotional especially in buying homes and its proven that video captures that emotion and I personally believe so by a better quality video presentation.

That video I shared is awesome because for me I understand the tactics of marketing so I am not one to be easly “sold” but I wanted to see that house, it captured me.

I hope this helps :)

BTW I like how you are doing the pictures on the link you gave, great quality and like the oversize to you see everything.

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Sharon Vornholt March 15, 2013 at 10:16 am

Adrian –

The editing in that video makes a huge difference for a property for a retail buyer. You wouldn’t have to do that for a “junker”, but it would be great for a home that had been rehabbed.

You should make a video on “video editing” and do a post for the rest of us “less savvy” folks that don’t know how to do editing.

Sharon

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Adrian March 15, 2013 at 10:28 am

Sharon

You made the important point also that should be considered. Who is the video for.
The video I shared should be only done for the retail buyer, because they are the emotional ones.. :)

But a junkers, I agree with you 100%, I would just shoot (practice and practice so you get better on handling so you dont have to edit), get to the point (because investors dont want a story) they just want points made.

I will have to do that! About editing.

Sharon Vornholt March 15, 2013 at 10:24 am

Sam –

I think a good video works for you rather than against you.

But I have seen some of the slide show videos (that use pictures and move from one to the other) that are integrated with music that work nicely too. In the end, I think it’s up to you. I do believe that the days of using just text and a picture or two are long gone. I like the video that Adrian has provided.

Sharon

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Adrian March 15, 2013 at 10:34 am

And other point WHICH IS A WHOLE DIFFERENT SUBJECT but includes why video is important is Google LOVES videos especially if you use Youtube and embed.

So another reason video is the way to go.

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Sharon Vornholt March 15, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Yes it does. One more reason.

Sharon

Adrian March 15, 2013 at 8:43 am

Thanks Sharon.

I think the main point bottom line is we should using videos, not caring if its “good” or not. I think if we just get started, youll begin to see where you will want to make adjustments and as you do, it will be easier to decide if you should upgrade equipment. I use Pinnacle Studio and Avid Studio for my editing. I like it because its not in the bottom nor is it top product, its perfect for everday videos.

If anyone ever has questions, I can help in any way I can.

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Sharon Vornholt March 15, 2013 at 8:51 am

I think you have just hit on the main point Adrian.

Just get started and figure out the details later on. How many times have we all waited to start something until we had every detail or we thought we had everything just perfect?The most important thing is just to begin so the opportunity isn’t lost. Being one of the “first” is always better than bringing up the rear after everyone else has “been there”.

Sharon

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Andrew Mooers April 19, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Video for the local area flavor and for the individual real estate property listings is so powerful. Real video with motion, natural sound takes the buyer in and out of property no matter what the weather, time of day or night, holiday and on their time frame. No matter where they are on the planet. Distance away is poof, gone as a stumbler for on demand open house video home tours.

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Sharon Vornholt April 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Andrew –

I agree. There is no replacement for video when it comes to that sort of thing. Thanks for leaving your comments.

Sharon

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Andrew Mooers July 14, 2013 at 7:36 am

Video editing does not have to be a time suck if you shoot with a mental story board in mind to keep the transitions simple, easy and fluid to make the flow of the show and tell fun, easy, simple. Don’t think Emmy, Cleo, Gold Globe Award. Think striving for information providing that saves times, gas and is more memorable using video.

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Sharon Vornholt July 14, 2013 at 10:09 am

I agree Andrew. Just tell the story or present you information.

Sharon

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