To create a great real estate virtual tour video follow these simple rules…
A real estate virtual tour video shall not look or sound like a TV commercial for your latest listing.
Nor shall a real estate virtual tour have a “voice-over” layered throughout the whole video.
And thou shall never use cheesey music in one.
If you follow these simple rules, plus do a bunch of other stuff (which we will outline in this article), then you’ll be able to create a real estate virtual tour video that….
…. your homeowners will absolutely love, and they will recognize your capability to use the latest technology for MARKETING their home online…
Do all of this and you will be doing what we call: BRANDING!
A little background
I got into real estate in 1997 and it was kind of different back then, some may say it was simpler and I liked it.
Those were the days when the REALTOR would FIND the property for a home buyer. It was not the other way around.
Also, a Home Seller would trust in the agents recommendations for pricing, marketing, negotiating, decluttering, and everything else that goes into selling a home.
Those were the days….
Since then, our industry has gone through a complete 180 degree shift where the REALTOR no longer has the same “leverage” they had over buyers and sellers.
This leverage agents once had was INFORMATION about market pricing, housing inventory, and new listings, sales, cancelled, closing data, etc…
In order to get this info you had to be working with an agent to get it.
Today, it’s a level playing field and your homebuyers and homeowners now have access to virtually all the same information as you, the Agent, has because of websites like Zillow.
But it’s not all bad. We are in a “Back to the Future” scenario today because the market (buyers and sellers) is demanding something that information, technology, or even a discount broker can’t deliver on: SERVICE!
Homeowners want their home marketed and seen by everyone online. This makes sense because they are already online looking at the competition and their neighbors homes.
They may not know how to sell a home, but they know it needs to be marketed online and your real estate virtual tour video will help prove that you can do this.
The purpose of a listing is not just to sell it, but to generate more future business from it…
If you want to be relevant online then you need to produce great content.
Content like videos, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, PDF’s, or even cute cat memes. Whatever best helps you deliver value and connect with consumers online.
A real estate virtual tour video is another piece of content for you to be able to share across multiple platforms online.
But most importantly people love to view real estate online, and if you have a great video they will watch it.
There is such a huge opportunity for any REALTOR in almost every market across the U.S.A, because most agents are not producing a lot of valuable video content. The market is wide open online and all you need is to just start producing videos.
Since you’re already doing to be investing in professional real estate photography and drones for the listing, consider adding a few more hundred dollars to add a virtual tour video.
Furthermore, your virtual tour videos can be used to help market your brand as a “tech savvy” agent on your next listing appointments.
Getting Started with Gear and Videographers
You need two things to create a great real estate virtual tour video…
If you’re an agent you need to hire a videographer to shoot the property, or, learn how to shoot videos and purchase all of the gear you need.
Deciding whether to hire a videographer or just do it yourself is a personal business decision that only you can make.
When I began shooting videos I was still a REALTOR and a Managing Broker for an office of 30 agents, but I really liked shooting videos and using the gear.
This was probably was not the best use of my time.
If you hire a videographer make sure to check out their portfolio, and if they don’t have one then this is not the videographer you want to be working with.
For the remainder of this article we are going to dive deep into shooting a real estate virtual tour video, but everything we talked about in this article so far is critically important to understand if you want to do this right.
Video Gear for Shooting a Real Estate Virtual Tour Video
Whether you purchase your own gear or hire a videographer who has thier own gear, you should know the basics of what is required.
Let’s start first with Aerial Shots.
We shoot all of our aerials with a DJI Mavic Pro 2, this is a pro-sumer drone which means it’s good enough to use for professional work while and affordable. But the drone is just part of it, because you also need to know how to fly it and set it up correctly to get great looking shots, and this takes experiance.
Now for the exterior and interior shots we shoot using a Panasonic GH5 with a DJI Ronin SC.
The Panasonic GH5 and GH5s has been our prefferred cameras of choice for the past 3 years because they are affordable, produce a high quality image, lightweight, and can shoot at 4K 60FPS.
The last bit is really important, shooting at 60FPS is going to make a huge difference in the “look” of your virtual tour and I believe you need it!
Along with the camera body you need a lens and we use the Panasonic 8-18mm Leica Lens, this is a wide angle lens. It’s sharp and looks great when shooting real estate.
Step 1: Prepping the Home & Basic Video Structure
Make sure your listings is prepared for a shoot.
Get the cars out of the driveway, clean the property, de-clutter it, close the toilet seats and clean up the showers, get the trash cans out of view, and overall make the property presentable as if you were going to host an open house.
Once you have the property ready it’s time to start shooting.
Every video needs a basic structure and a real estate video is no different.
This is the basic structure for any video…
Let’s see how this structure looks like in an actual video.
Below is a Non-Branded Virtual Tour video for the MLS that I shot in Fallbrook, California.
The Intro, Body, and Outro
The Intro is the opening of the video where you inform the viewer what the video will be all about. This should be short and and to the point.
Tell the viewer the location and what they are about to see. Don’t get too bogged down trying to talk about every feature in the home. Keep it simple to Location and the Basic Features of the home.
The Body of a virtual tour is the actual home. Your video should be at least 80% all house and no agent. People want to actually see the home and this is why I recommend to not do a voice over throughout the video.
Music used in the video should help drive the movement of the video throughout the home.
Finally, in the Outro of your video you want to give a clear Call to Action to the viewer. Tell them what they should do next and how to contact you for more information.
Having a basic structure for your videos will help you plan for shooting a list of shots that you will need when it comes to putting it all together in the edit.
Step 2: How to Shoot the Exterior of a Home for Video
There are two parts of the exterior for each home, the front exterior and the backyard.
Each virtual tour begins with an “Approaching Front Exterior Shot”, also called an “Establishing Shot”.
The establishing shot will consist of…
1. Front Exterior Shot from the ground or with a drone.
2. The Intro given by the REALTOR.
3. Highlight any establishing features.
Because every property is a little different, you’ll have to use creativity to determine what will be your best shots.
Let’s compare two different types of intros. In the first video we had a very small home on a small lot, and in the second video we had a very large home on top of a mountain.
VIDEO 1: Small Home on a Small Lot
VIDEO 2: Big Home on top of a Mountain
Shooting the backyard of a home is typically the easiest shots to create. We want to show the depth and area that the outdoor spaces have to offer a prospective buyer.
In this next video you’re going to see how we shot a very atypical backyard with multiple levels, putting green, and a variety of outdoor seating areas.
Finally, stay creative and be flexible. With the more homes you shoot, the better you will become at shooting them.
Step 3: How to Shoot the Interior of a Home for Video
Keep it Simple.
Keep it Simple.
And Keep it Simple.
There is a natural progression that takes place when a prospective buyers sees a home for the first time. They begin in the living room, then move on to the kitchen, move on to the master bedroom, and then other bedrooms/bonus room, the basement, and finally off to the back yard.
For about 90% of our real estate videos we shoot and edit the interior of a home following this progression of rooms.
1. Front Entry of home to the Living Room.
2. Living Room to the Kitchen.
3. Kitchen to any other Living Rooms on the first floor and dining room.
4. Master Bedroom and Bath.
5. Additional bedrooms, bathrooms, and bonus rooms.
Just like shooting the exterior of a home, you need to stay creative and be flexible.
Finally, show the homes spaces and depth of a room. Home buyers want to see how they will use and live in the spaces.
In this next video I’m going to show you how we slightly deviated from this list to show off one of the best features in this home, The Backyard.
But then we went back into the interior and shot it using this progression.
Step 4: How to Edit a Virtual Tour Video
Editing videos takes 2 to 4 times as long as it does to actually shoot it, and the real magic comes together in the editing stage.
The general rule you want to follow is: Keep the momentum driving forward.
Your video cannot be too slow or stagnant.
The video also needs good music to accompany it. Music will help you drive the momentum of your video.
I recently wrote an article covering my top 5 websites that I use for downloading royalty free music and you can check it out by CLICKING HERE.
At the beginning of this article I mentioned that Experience was what you needed to create a great virtual tour video.
Video editing takes time to learn. You’ll need to edit at least 20 to 30 property videos to really begin to master editing them.
For video editing software I use Final Cut Pro from Apple.
Using Real Estate Videos to Leverage and Build your Business
Video works if you do it right.
If you focus on delivering value and being authentic in all of your marketing, then you will build brand and genuine awareness among buyers and sellers in your market.
Most important don’t make a TV commercial, because this is not a marketing video.
If your videos sound like a TV commercial, look like a TV commercial, and have the same messaging as a TV commercial, then whoever watches it will do the same thing everyone else does when they encounter a TV commercial, which is, TURN TO ANOTHER CHANNEL AND STOP PAYING ATTENTION TO IT.
And keep making marketing videos.