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Online Videos For Your Real Estate Website or Blog

Just when you think you’re catching up with technology with a website or blog, you find that there is now a requirement for video on your site. It’s not a legal requirement, but one of demand from the consumer and your site visitors. Video on the Web has mushroomed, with YouTube alone hosting almost 100 million videos from 3.75 million user channels. Then there is Google Video, Yahoo Video, Vimeo, and a dozen others in the mainstream.

Not just the Internet, but also mobile technology is moving rapidly. Videos are becoming very popular on cell phones as well. The iPhone is changing the way that the cell phone is utilized. And, what percentage of your real estate customers come from out of your area? They need information about the area, attractions, natural beauty, parks, schools and more. But, they also want to SEE what all of this looks like. Photos are great, but video rocks!

Don’t fret, though. The same rapidly advancing technology that makes video a demand item on your site also makes it easy and inexpensive to do. We aren’t just talking about listing videos for virtual tours. We also should have video of all of the area’s features that make it unique and a great place to live and work. What you need is a camcorder and some video editing software, neither of which must be very expensive.

One of the easiest to use video editing software solutions is absolutely free, and it is probably already on your PC if it’s operating with Windows XP. Windows Movie Maker will take your still photos or motion video right from your camera or camcorder, or off your hard drive. You can add voice-over and music, titles and credits, and even fancy transitions between photos or video clips. Other solutions with more capability are all over the Web, and at prices from $39 to hundreds. It’s all up to you and your requirements.

A higher end software product is Camtasia Studio. Many of the training videos you see or purchase are done in this software. The latest version produces videos in all of the common formats, but the default is MPEG 4, which gives you high definition video with smaller file sizes than the other formats. The smaller file size lets the video play through with fewer of those annoying pauses while the download catches up to the playing. This software will also produce an iPod video format directly.

What about a camcorder? You can spend a lot of money, or you can do a very credible job with less than $150 for the high end “The Flip” video camcorder. It’s really easy to use, produces 640 x 480 video, and has one really great feature. It is called the “flip” because a button flips out a USB connector to plug directly into a computer. Even better, the on-board software will send the video up to YouTube directly, bypassing your hard drive if you want. It will even let you add music in the process.

OK, we have a camcorder, and we have editing software. Where do we put our videos?

YouTube – This is the gorilla in the video world. And, it’s free, so very popular. Your videos will get a lot of exposure on YouTube, and you’ll begin to get followers who will subscribe to your “channel” to see your new ones. Once the video is up, you can get “embed” code to place it right into your website or blog.

Google and Yahoo Video – Both of these major players have free video sites as well. Together, they don’t even come close to the plays that YouTube boasts, but they get traffic, so you want to upload your videos there as well.

Vimeo – This is a newer and free service. Vimeo has a nice presentation, and it offers HD quality. They don’t take commercial videos though, so don’t put listing presentations up. They will pull them down. However, if you don’t put promo stuff in your area videos, they should be fine. (prior Geek Estate coverage) – This is a really fun video production site. It offers free videos of less than 30 seconds in length, with a nominal annual fee for longer videos, with no limit on the number you can produce. The difference with this site is that you will be uploading only still photos. The site, designed by Hollywood producers and directors, allows you to match music to your video, and the service produces a really amazing video with multiple transition effects and paces to the music. It is a little too fast for a listing video, but is great for action shots or local color.

Tubemogul – This isn’t a video production service, but a great tool to get your videos uploaded to multiple services at one time and track the views. You start a free Tubemogul account, and give it your logins to services like YouTube, Google, Yahoo and other video sites. Then you upload your video, title and describe it just once, and TubeMogul uploads it to all of the sites at once. It gives you graphs of daily views, and you can even give your listing client a link to keep up with the views of their home videos.

Have fun, don’t spend a lot of money, and make your site visitors happy with video.

About Peyman Aleagha

Peyman Aleagha is the founder and CEO of WebsiteBox. The $99 Do-It-All Website.

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  • Great info for the newbie –
    One item of correction…

    Google Video just stopped accepting new videos.

  • Thanks Mike,

    Are you sure about Google Video? I still see the UPLOAD VIDEO link on Google Video!?

    Peyman Aleagha

  • Sorry, should have been shutting down. Per the G Video Blog itself.

  • Very interesting, thanks for the link!

  • Molly

    Just what we all want – VIDEOS that have the quality and professionalism as most of the MLS pictures that we find online today!

    Bouncy, blurry, hack job video tours with a Flip camera? Yup. That’s just what I would use to market a property worth hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars.

    The real estate industry needs to get PROFESSIONAL about the way they market properties. That means QUALITY photos – not the JUNK that literally permeates every MLS in America. And QUALITY video, which, contrary to popular opinion is VERY difficult to do RIGHT. A Flip camera is great for an interview, testimonial, etc. But NOTHING ELSE.

    Nobody wants to watch Uncle Bob’s vacation videos. That’s what most real estate videos look like. It’s really sad.

  • Google video is terminating the ability to UPLOAD new videos, but will retain existing videos. They are focusing all of their effort to YouTube, which very recently upgraded to high definition, widescreen videos as well as other features they are rolling out, such as the ability to download the video directly to your computer (now in use for political videos, but it will be rolled out soon).

  • As for the non-professional videos: If some of these offices or companies would invest in a package, and not just invite so many peddlers to sell the “Next Great Thing” to their agents, and make it more cost effective for the non-techie agents and perhaps bring some uniformity to the techie agents.

    With that being said, with all these video sites viddler, tumblr, tube this and that, and dozens of others — one has to really take into consideration before building their base there, and conforming that the service is still there a year or 2 from now. Seeing a lot of new ones popping up, similar to Y2K bubble with the web.

  • Seems like the adoption for video on the residential side starting taking place years ago and the commercial real estate industry is now starting to take notice. we are starting to see demand for video at our site.

    here is a good example of the value it can add to the end user:

    Thanks for the post,

  • We have received positive comments re our website video. Until now, we have emphasized community videos and real estate market videos. We need now to pursue videos on our listings which should prove very beneficial. Thank you for your insights on this important feature.

  • Jay — Great post 😉 See you on AR…

    Molly — I thought it was just me, but I’m glad to hear you feel the same way about the jittery, out-of-synch and blurry videos that are permeating the blogs and RE websites.

    Peyman – nary a mention about the Mac platform? They are the king of desktop video editing! C’mon…

    Video is the ultimate in transparency, and it can either make or break your credibility in a heartbeat. I just watched a video of a 20+ year agent that I know in my area who is EXTREMELY competent and professional…but she looked like a deer in the headlights in her video. How is someone going to perceive her if that’s their first exposure? Not well.

    Video has definite value, but it’s like a jagged piece of glass…so proceed with caution. Credibility is like getting into shape…takes a long time to get there, and no time to lose it.

    Final note: I think WordPress has widgets available where you can take your completed MPEG4 video and port it right to your blog. There’s no reason to go through You Tube unless you want to.

  • Ahhh Chuck ya just can’t shake me.

    I agree, vid should and can be hosted within your own domain, especially with WP. BUT, I know a lot of time the SEO junkies like to host elsewhere, because of the almighty backlink, or incoming link source fpr rank and same goes for pics being hosted on flickr, and picassa, and all those others. Plus, with some of the shared hosting out there, such as I have at GoPappy, with hundreds of sites on 1 server and if there are a lot of SQL database hits for other things it can make even self-hosted video really stink.

    Again, I am no expert I just play one on web.

  • It seems that Tubemogul is the best one stop shopping tool for uploading video to multiple sites, thanks for the tip. In the past, we made our own home tour videos with our camera and they were terrible – looked like a ghost floating through the house. And unless you have a well thought out description for the voice portion, there are a lot of pauses and uhs. Unless you are a natural at camera work and voice, hire a professional!

  • The timing of this post is perfect for me. I’ve got a Flip due to be delivered any day now.

    I really disagree that you need to have a professional quality video for home listings. Buyers want to see homes as they are, and a video that shows the flow of the home can make a big difference. A few years ago I had a relocating couple that bought a house sight unseen with just a recommendation from a relative and thorough camcorder video that was overnighted to them.

    One thing I will do in my videos will be to make the house the focus rather than me. This isn’t about me being the ‘host’ of my own TV show. I’ll be behind the camera showing off the home, talking in my own true voice. Transparency is what people want, not polished videographers.

    Just look at how popular the Gary Vanderchuk videos are. Most of his videos have a home video feel, and he has created an empire for himself due to his videos.

  • Karen: I think that’s the problem. It DOES have to be professional quality! This is a home you’re marketing for a customer that sells for a LOT of money! Why do realtors want to market homes with dark, muddy, crooked photos, cell phone photos, homemade flyers and home made videos? You can’t do Mickey Mouse marketing of a $500,000++++ home! I don’t get it! Buyers ELIMINATE homes based on the presentation they see online. ELIMINATE. If your presentation is subpar, it hurts your seller and ultimately… you! A flip camera is perfect for certain applications, like video testimonials. But it creates a TRAIN WRECK of a video tour of a house! If I was a seller and my agent did something like that, I would fire them. You owe your seller a lot more than a shaky, homemade video tour. Just because you CAN do something doesn’t always mean you should.

    Video tours of homes made with a Flip Camera is the moving picture equivalent of cell phone photos!

  • and are two other good video services. Consider getting a wide angle lens if you are going to do interior videos. Personally, I don’t need a lot of narration about the property. Good pictures tell the whole story -and it is really about getting people to call you anyway. This isn’t a National Geographic special!

  • I have to agree with Fred. I have seen quite a few home tours that were take with a Flip, and they’re horrid. It’s convenient that you can port it right onto your blog, but the video quality is so poor that it’s annoying. And that defeats the purpose of the video in the first place.

    If absolutely want to do it yourself, AT LEAST use a decent camcorder and have a slow, steady hand. Nothing more annoying than a virtual roller coaster ride through a house.

    It’s ok to be informal, or even humorous with your commentary. Whatever style you’re comfortable with. But don’t cut corners on video quality. Your clients deserve better.

  • Thanks for the post, I didn`t know about Vimeo.-

  • Great post! I am seeing more and more agents using video for not only their listings but also for community videos and agent resumes. As Chuck and Fred have mentioned, I fear a poorly shot video could leave a more negative than positive impression… it doesn’t take much of an investment for a decent camcorder and editing software.

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  • Anybody else find it ironic that a blog article about putting Video on your blog, doesn’t actually have a video!?!!?!!

    I do think I am going to start putting “vlog” entries every week or two on mine, but I’m not sure what will work best.

    Maybe some tutorials on how to write an offer, or maybe read a listing sheet on the MLS.

  • What a great resource of video site information! Thanks for the compilation and explanation.

  • Thanks for the list. I am hoping that the increase in outlets leads to an increase in real estate video being used by agents.

  • For starters audio is just as big as the video. When you talk one on one, not read a script over dub you rob from the video natural ambience, sense of being there both visually and with the “sound on”. Touring the property with live sound and providing an open house tour or land walk or business over view can save the buyer time, brand you the broker, and help sell the community by weaving in bits and pieces on what a great area the property is in. Local community videos supports the real estate video and helps make your area distinctive. Shoot them, edit, post them…lots of them.

  • onestopview

    Would also like to suggest which is a real estate dedicated video hosting website and just like YouTube it is totally Free to use. Already 500 agents globally using the website along with 2,000 listings.

  • my mls fines us if we use a site with branding like, can you recomend a site for mpeg-4 video hosting that doesn't have branding?
    Bill Smith
    Keller Williams realty

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  • Great suggestions. Videos are a great way for potential buyers to get a 'preview' of the property, since photos and words are sometimes not enough.

  • Great suggestions. Videos are a great way for potential buyers to get a 'preview' of the property, since photos and words are sometimes not enough.

  • I was been searching the WWW for this info and i wanted to say thanks to you for the post. BTW, just off topic, how can i get a copy of this theme? – 10x

  • Anonymous

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