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    With buyers social distancing — and many sellers hesitant to let strangers into their homes — listing videos have become more important than ever.

    In fact, real estate brokerage Redfin reported an almost 500% increase in video tour requests in late March alone (just after many COVID-19 stay-at-home orders were issued). In April, they surged another 350%.

    Though many shelter-in-place policies have been lifted, many buyers and sellers are still feeling hesitant — and they’re craving a more hands-off way of transacting real estate. 

    Want to meet those needs? Make sure you follow these dos and don’ts when creating your listing videos:

    Do: Show the entire house.

    In today’s day and age, your listing videos shouldn’t just be another marketing piece. Instead, it should act as a stand-in for a traditional in-person tour. Use the video to walk the entire house — from the front stoop all the way through home and yard. Make sure you cover the entirety of the floor plan and all bedrooms, bathrooms, and living areas.

    Don’t: Narrate and give your opinion as you do it.

    Avoid adding unnecessary dialogue or narration to your video. This only distracts buyers and keeps them from forming an opinion of their own. It can also come off as a little sales-y, so try to keep any narration to the bare minimum (“Here’s the master bedroom,” “This is the dining room,” etc.)

    Do: Talk it through with your sellers first.

    Always discuss the idea of a listing video with the property’s sellers before pulling the trigger. For one, they’ll need to spend some time decluttering and staging the home prior to shooting the video, and they also may have some questions/concerns about the process, too. 

    Don’t: Record a video without the seller’s permission.

    Never film and post a video tour without your sellers’ stamp of approval. There may be areas of the home they don’t want filmed or stored on listing sites (places like their baby’s nursery, their personal closet, etc.) 

    Do: Include close-ups of amenities and features.

    Make sure your video pays special attention to any notable features or amenities in the home. Is there a beautiful pool in the backyard? Spend an extra 20 to 30 seconds showing it in action (waterfalls running, lights on, hot tub bubbling). Is there an extra-large closet in the master suite? Linger a bit longer there to really show off the shelf and storage space. 

    Basically, think like the buyer. If they would look a little closer at a feature in-person, they’ll probably want to see it more in-depth on video, too.

    Don’t: Let the video go too long.

    With all that said, don’t spend too much time on the details and nitty gritty. Most people aren’t going to sit through a 20-minute video, so keep yours snappy and concise whenever possible. You should ideally shoot for 5 minutes or less. You can also offer on-demand video tours (via FaceTime, for example) if buyers want to see the home a little more.

    Do: Use a pro.

    Always use a professional videographer to film your listing videos. If there’s a videographer with real estate experience in your area, then that’s even better. Due to social distancing efforts, you may need to brainstorm for the video via phone or Skype, and then let the videographer onto the property using a smart lock or lockbox. It may seem like a hassle, but the quality product will be well worth the time investment in the long run — especially in the post-COVID world.

    Don’t: Cut corners and use your phone.

    We all have video phones, but that doesn’t mean you should use yours for your listing videos. Sure, it may be the more economical option (and maybe faster, too), but you can bet buyers will notice the less-than-ideal camerawork and the low-quality imagery. 

    Do: Add it to YouTube and social media.

    Your video should, of course, be linked to on your listings, but you shouldn’t stop there. If you really want to make sure your home makes the rounds, then post it to YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Facebook, and your personal site, too. The more accessible it is on social media, the more traffic it will pick up.

    Don’t: Forget to check your video across devices and browsers.

    Never assume that just because a video plays fine on your phone or device that it will for everyone else. Make an effort to view it on different browsers (Chrome, Safari, Firefox), as well as on different devices and screen sizes. If you spot any errors, troubleshoot those before going live. Technical difficulties will only push buyers away. 

    The Bottom Line

    Listing videos are critical in today’s world. But just slapping together a phone video and calling it a day? That’s probably not your best bet. Make sure you invest some time and resources into your video efforts, and buyer interest will follow.

    Need more help upping the ante on your listings? Try these description-writing tips on for size.

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