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Taking Care of Business
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Old March 15th, 2008, 02:37 PM   #16
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When looking on Realto.com you will want to visit picturepath.com that is who takes care of the tours.

As far as web hosting just pick a hosting company and they will generally give you a good amount of space for less then $10 per month.

Gabe makes a great point the actual percentage is 83%. 83% of all people start their search for a home on the internet.

Here is a testimonial I received from a seller just the other day, I think it speaks miles about our videos:

Todd:

We have viewed our home video several times and wanted you to know how much we like it. We have friends in New Zealand who have never been to our home, but have now seen it thanks to your video. We wonder if it is possible to purchase a copy of the video. If so, sends us instructions and we will mail you the necessary payment. Again, thanks for a wonderful video. You made the home and adjoining land look so inviting.

Cheryl O’Connor
3821 West Elm Street
Lima, Ohio 45807
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Old March 16th, 2008, 08:31 PM   #17
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I'm going to keep you guys on your toes...
I look at this market like this.I shoot, edit with background music etc. ,compress it for the web then upload it to the realtors web site and any other site they are linked to and done on to the next.
I'm looking at it as "why should I pay some other web hosting site (besides my own) to stream a video that I'm not selling. Aren't the Realtors' websites linked to other websites thru realtor.com, etc? I've checked out your site Todd, Great, nice videos and also Fred Light also great, a wealth of info. He was featured on the CBS evening news about the video tours with the glidecam and no video light just ambient, looks great.

I checked out realtor.com typed in major cities on east,west coast and middle america and I could not find one "video tour" I think the industry should differentiate between "virtual" tours which came first, which is pictures stitched together and warped on either side as they spin around and looks very unrealistic and even the slideshows don't do much for me maybe because I'm a "video guy" at heart, but I guess it's cheaper,faster and better than nothing.Maybe that's why some companys offer both, and then there's video which should be called what it is"video tours" so there's no mistaking the two when you click on the red spinning house that says featured tour and the more photos button, I don't understand.
Todd There was no link to picture path from realtor.com so i typed it in and they mention the formats for the pictures but no specifics about video. They are vague about what other sites they link to besides realtor.com,maybe I'm looking in the wrong place. I've read that some companys will put your tour to utube & iTunes but I was reading on realtor.org that you should be careful posting video to free sites like YouTube because you have no control over the comments that might show up with your tour. There are online forums for people to post comments about videos. If some kids post something negative about your tour, that can become a real problem for you and your seller. Hmmmm..Still more ????
I'll keep you guys posted of my progress from time to time.
I would like to see this forum grow into something bigger someday. I typed way too much. Thanks for reading.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 10:09 PM   #18
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There is some discussion going on here http://www.wellcomemat.com/

Click on "The Neighborhood" link. You can host your video on wellcomemat for free.

Realtor.com is actually differentiating between a video and a virtual tour now. There is a red spinning house for virtual and a TV like logo for a video.

I think you are going to find that most realtors want a link, that is the easiest way for them to link to their own website and the local mls.

Good luck and don't hesitate to ask any questions.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 07:42 AM   #19
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Thanks Todd et al. I will check out the discussion on welcome mat and similiar sites also. See ya for now.

Mike.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 03:47 PM   #20
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MLS problems

With MLS comes some odd rules about what must be made available to other agents. For example, the video might need to be publicaly posted if part of a MLS listed property. But Corey summed up the problem above. The split interests and split commission is why realtors are tight with paying more than $200 for anything visual to market a house. Video is still thought of for super high end homes.... the kind where you contact a listing realtor and they send you a 10 mintute DVD for that $3 million property that was professional produced with cranes, steadicams, etc.

At least that was my findings from interviewing / pitching to about 5 different firms in my market. I eventually gave up when the market turned into a buyers market and prices dropped.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 06:13 PM   #21
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It was great reading these posts. i am in Australia and it is the same thing here. We produce TV commercials for a good living and i too was thinking about getting into the real estate video market. That is, till I tried. I find it amazing that the Agents here don't want it. They don't want to pay. After all, most get around $5000 commission for the sale of a house. We talked to 56 agents and while a few were interested, didn't come up with the money. I must say there is no way in hell I would do a tour for less than $500. I always value my time at $100 an hour. I would not consider shooting without using lighting etc which takes a lot more time that a job you guys say is 30 minutes. I also believe a voiceover is paramount in putting the message across. Our idea was to shoot the attractions of the area as well as the house. e.g. if the house is close to beach, show the beach. It just shows that even though I am in another country the real estate people are still the same.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 04:44 PM   #22
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I hesitate to post on this topic because I did once before and you guys blew up my bandwidth, so if you do track down my site, please go easy on my bandwidth (no link to it because I'm already using 20gb a month, without you guys going there). I've done about 50 real estate videos over the last few months at 199.00 per. That includes 3-months of streaming (progressive download to be precise). Fortunately I do other things to, but the real estate biz has been growing progressively.

The real key to real estate videos and whether or not they will be successful is LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. It has worked for me, and I expect to get busier doing it, because I live on an Island. A large island, but an island. I did much research before starting and found some data on buyer profiles. Many (as much as 50%) of the buyers in my area are coming from off the island. This is a huge thing. If people can drive 20 minutes to view the property, then they might as well just do that.

You need to know who is buying homes in your area. If you're in Fla, or AZ, or Ca, then I think there probably are age 50+ year olds moving to those markets from the north.

So, assuming you have a location that people can't easily view, and want to move there...

It is tough to get your foot in the door. In fact just getting in to demo the product is tough. I started by doing a freebie or two to use as a demo. Almost all the realtors that actually sit down to hear me out really like the product. One of the best advancements I made was to be able to integrate the videos directly into the MLS.ca site, which is far and away the number one search tool for prospective buyers. Currently, I get over 1,000 hits a month to my site from there.

I sell this primarily as a LISTING tool. The listing realtor is guarantted 1/2 the commision regardless of who sells the house. The home sellers like having the realtor spend money. I've had three jobs from the homesellers who had heard about me.

The business rule; It's much cheaper to keep an existing customer than get a new one is hugely true in the real estate video market. I have been nurturing my first clients for the last 8 months, and I try to add a new one each month. Because I host the videos, I can give them viewing statistics, which they love because they then report back to the homeseller.

Interestingly, I don't do exclusively hi-end stuff. I did a commercially zoned residence last week that was located between a cheque cashing place and a xxx video store. My properties run from 200k to 2.6mil. If I get 2-5 videos per month per realtor, then I need to work with 10-20 realtors on a regular basis. The trick to it to is trying to minimize travel time. When I deliver my invoice, I give them a box of chocolates or flowers. My best customer got a nice bottle of single malt for Christmas.

I just presented my product/service at a real estate board AGM/tradeshow, and got some great exposure, and immediately added 3 new clients. I've been trying to add entire offices at a time but that is difficult. I e-mailed a demo to a managing broker, who loved it and said I could come to a sales meeting. I was stoked because he manages 30 realtors. Well, 6 showed up for the meeting. So far I've got one job from it... But hey, perservance, persistance...

I am constantly looking to offer more/better features. I originally offered a pro voiceover option for $40, and now I let the realtors do a voice-over themselves if they want. (USB mic to laptop).

WB and Exposure are the biggest shooting issues. I custom WB most shots with a white card, and use exposure lock to avoid the annoying auto change when panning in front of windows. I use the XLH1 on a tripod. I look for movement within the frame where I can find it (ceiling fan, leaves in the breeze, waves, birds etc.) While I pan most every shot, there is a slight jitter when viewing on the web. I also find the web dulls things, so I usually bump up the gain and the saturation a little in post. I used to used some custom color presets, but always seemed to lose too much light. I have always shot in ambient light.

I work quickly on most places. Initially I shot, like 20 minutes of tape per house. Ouch! Now, I've learned to shoot for the edit, usually no more the 8-10 minutes of tape tops. It rarely takes more than 45 minutes. I use Vegas, because it's real quick and good. I shoot and capture in HDV using Cineform. Major overkill, but... I often get requests for DVD's and have done some for the homesellers at no charge, for the PR value.

I have a new client that has a couple of hi-end places and we're going to upgrade the production value (and price) on those to distinguish them from the rest.

Bottom Line: It can be done, but not just anywhere.

Good Luck if you try it.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 05:03 PM   #23
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Know The Market

Great information. In my case, the housing market is selling itself and realtors simply did not need another marketing tool. Also, median home prices are still below $200K (but you get what you pay for) so realtors know they need to sell the higher end properties in order to make it back on commission.

Real estate requires a lot of knowledge of something other than video productions, which means it might not be fore everyone. I happen to have worked for a house rehab company and am very familiar, but the market won't bear the product so wrong place, wrong time.

Thanks for all the great info Ken.
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Old March 24th, 2008, 03:32 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Diewert View Post
I hesitate to post on this topic because I did once before and you guys blew up my bandwidth, snipped.
Forget the video business, I want to buy one of those houses! Nice place man!

How did you break into this niche? Cold call? direct mail? blackmail?
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Old March 25th, 2008, 12:42 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Luce View Post
Forget the video business, I want to buy one of those houses! Nice place man!

How did you break into this niche? Cold call? direct mail? blackmail?
Brian,

I did one free for a 'for sale by owner' that I knew. I demo'd it to a progressive realtor. She really liked the concept and jumped on it right away, but she is just one. But then one thing leads to another. It was (and still is) a grind to get new clients on board, but once they're on... they seem to stay. I have 2 larger clients, and 4-6 smaller ones. I'm trying to add at least one new client a month.

It was originally supposed to be filler work but it's actually developing into more than I expected, so I'm going with it.

The realtor's usually pass on the contact info and I contact the homeowner directly and set up the time, which works out well.
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Old March 25th, 2008, 07:31 AM   #26
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Hi Ken. Thanks for the info. I always wondered if the Realtor is standing over your shoulder while shooting. From what I've been reading on this forum and others is that getting the first client is the toughest part. Once I get some free time I'll start pursuing the realtors and maybe some homeowners as you said.
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Old March 26th, 2008, 08:19 PM   #27
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Interesting thread. We've been trying the same thing here in the UK and much of what has been said about the difficulties is true here too.

I'm not entirely sure how you guys get round in 20 mins though, I don't expect to be on location for less than a couple of hours.

Paul.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 12:58 AM   #28
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Paul,

I take about 45 mins per. That's actual shooting time. But that's after doing nearly 50 homes. So I work pretty quickly. I just set a quick WB for each shot, and (usually) lock the exposure somewhere (for each shot), and move on to the next. Initially I would shoot as much as 20 minutes of tape, covering each room from several angles. Now I shoot for the edit much better, and rarely shoot more than 10 mins of tape, for a ~4 minute product. I budget 2 hours to shoot including travel, and 2 hours to post.

Realtors are price sensitive. I used to be critical of this (especially after paying commisions a couple of times), but after working with them, I've seen them lay out over 1k for advertising and then lose a listing. Not to mention staff and office overhead.

So if your product really helps them make money, they will use it. If you can extract $500 per house, then by all means, go for it. My base price is 199.00. I've designed it that way to try to get more volume, and build long-term lasting relationships with realtors.

Good Luck!
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Old July 1st, 2008, 10:01 AM   #29
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Just wondering if there's a real estate "season" for video tours. I can see in spring and summer people would like the lively green exterior shots but come winter it's hard to show a pretty house with a dreary grey sky and dead trees out front. Also, how many houses are empty? I've always heard it's better to show a furnished house so how do you spruce up a house when the seller has already moved?
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