Real estate video's next step

Long time readers of this blog and my previous website, the Future of Real Estate Marketing (RIP), will know that I have been a passionate advocate for video in real estate for many, many years.

To me — admittedly, a wannabe film student — it always felt like the stories in real estate were underserved by previous media on the Web. Text and photos can only capture so much of the richness in this category.

It’s why when, in 2010, New York-based luxury brokerage Houlihan Lawrence called 1000WATT to produce a series of short films about the cities and towns they served, we leapt at the opportunity. It was, at the time, a truly ambitious endeavor. We shot over 100 individuals and 400 hours of interviews over the course of several days to create 20 separate community videos. It was a massively challenging production.

But the end results still hold up, nearly five years on. I am, to this day, really proud of the work we did on those videos.

In 2014, however, community videos seem to be the norm. That was the aha moment I had this week. While reviewing a set of websites for a client, I noticed that nearly all of them had neighborhood videos in place.

I’m finding property videos are now ubiquitous as well. While some may take their home tour videos to new heights using drones, or sex things up using outrageous production values (hey Aussies, I’m looking at you), it definitely feels like 2014 was the year video went mainstream.

That’s why I’m feeling it’s time to think bigger.

Brand marketing is one area in which most brokers and real estate tech firms have yet to hit their stride with video. Many of the videos I see these days are well produced: slickly shot in high-definition, replete with slider shots, focus pulls and beautiful depth of field. But the content is usually very self-promotional and ultimately, uninteresting.

Pause for a moment and go take a look at Apple’s new Holiday advertisement – it’s another heartwarming look at the reasons why people use its products. This is the opportunity I see today before us.

We used a similar look and feel for a video we produced for dotloop, which told the story of “Marie”, a woman living a very paperless life, which crashes hard into the reality of real estate.


There’s a real opportunity for real estate brands and brokers to follow this lead – to adopt a more cinéma vérite-like approach to telling their stories through the lens of their clients and the experiences they go through.

Video can tell stories that are meaningful and add weight and depth to a brand. I’m hoping more start to do this in 2015.