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Market Insights - BC Waterfront Real Estate

There are a lot of "how-to" articles online that regurgitate the same advice about real estate related topics such as getting a good mortgage or prepping your home for the market. While those things are obviously very important, we want to write articles that are enlightening and valuable for visitors to our site. Rather than write about the same-old, same-old, we endeavour to create interesting and compelling articles specifically for people interested in (BC) waterfront real estate.

Thanks for reading.
Sharleen Kneeland
Publisher, Waterfront West

Do Buyers Really Want Online Real Estate Video?

A few months ago, I started looking into how we could enhance the viewing of properties on our site for our buyers. Being an avid real estate listings viewer myself, I had my own preferences and preconceived ideas of what buyers wanted but before initiating any major changes on thesite I decided to poll our buyers to get the real story.

Here were my initial feelings on what people would like:

1. Still photos (lots) or flash slide show

2. Virtual Tours

As for video, I had no idea of whether or not it was popular with buyers except for that a couple of the major real estate marketing blogs were touting it (www.futureofrealestatemarketing.com) and a few big companies were racing to get the best real estate video format/distribution out there (www.wellcomemat.com , www.onlinewalkthru.com ).

My thoughts on adding video were that if I was going to go to the effort of putting virtual tours directly into the listings, I might as well take it the next step and skip to video-assuming our buyers wanted it.

So I went ahead and implemented the poll. Although the numbers of voters wasn't huge, I began to notice a trend immediately. As I suspected, still photos were high on the priority list, but virtual tours came out #1 and real estate video, the darling of the media of late, came in last with only 12% of the votes.

Here are the results:

Poll Results

This kind of "threw me for a loop" as I had already planned on implementing a flash slide show into the site. The slide show just looked nicer and a lot more "flashy" than the plain still photos and fit better with the upscale tone of the site.

Furthermore, now I was left with the question of whether or not it was the quality of video my buyers had viewed or lack of having seen many real estate videos that had left the poor impression on them. After all, isn't viral video supposed to be "the future of internet marketing."

So I started to look around at some different real estate video sites to find out what these videos were like. I must admit, and I hope I am not insulting too many people here, that many of the videos came across the same: cheesy background music (a pain when viewing properties from work), lots of panning and zooming in and out on still photos (boring), painful voiceovers and the lack of ability to jump quickly to the area of the home your are interested in.

I did, however, find a few videos that stood out from the rest. These were professionally planned out "shows" about the properties. One of them, in particular, really stands out in my mind as it interviewed the owner about the history of her home and why it was so special to her family (of course, I can't find the link to that one-sorry, but click here to see a similar idea). The other nice bonuses of these videos were that they showed some neighbourhood shots of activities available nearby -something that most photos can't portray as well.

My conclusion: there is a place for online real estate video and it will become a bigger part of the marketing mix for real estate agents/sellers in the future. The key to selling the home will be the creativity and professionalism with which the videos are made and the effective distribution of the final product. As for what we do on the site, maybe that will depend on your comments, but one thing I can say for sure is we are not getting rid of the still photos!

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Market Insights - Waterfront Real Estate

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