Luxury Real Estate Brokers Use Internet Video Stories to Sell Nation's Most Expensive HomesInnovative real estate agents selling some of the most expensive properties across the country have begun using custom-made online video stories to market their properties. They say the videos have been crucial in the pitching and sale of properties worth millions of dollars and in several cases, tens of millions of dollars each. How to take advantage of this technology will be one of the big topics in the "Luxury Home Marketing" session at the upcoming Real Estate Connect NYC conference (http://inman.com/connectny/ny.aspx) in New York City, January 11-13, 2006.
Since August, independent news provider Inman News (www.inmanstories.com) has been creating three-minute property movies for agents in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Miami, Dallas, Seattle, Lake Tahoe, Vail and Sarasota.
Because the movies are digital, the agents can easily post them on the Web, email them and distribute them on DVDs. Agents or their companies pay only $2,500 for each video, and make them widely available at no cost to viewers.
"When you factor in the amount of time and expense it takes to produce print collateral that you then have to mail out to potential clients, putting together a video story that can be emailed at the click of a button makes absolute sense," explains John McWeeny, Vice President, Business Development for Inman Stories. "Plus, video stories bring to life the character of a property like no other tool on the market, from unique architectural elements to the neighborhood feel and history of a home."
Here are four recent video story success stories:
NEW YORK CITYRichard Ferrari, Broker, Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate, used an Inman video story to market a $23 million, 5-bedroom,5.5-bath condominium at 515 Park Avenue, which is now in contract. "It definitely helped," states Ferrari. "Over 12 months of marketing, we sent close to 50 copies of the DVD worldwide, and also posted it to my Web page. That led to Fox and Discovery Channel doing stories on the apartment." DALLASRobbie Briggs, Chairman, Briggs Freeman, a brokerage for multimillion-dollar properties and an affiliate of Christie's Great Estates, explains, "Our ambition is to always have some of our most outstanding properties featured on videos. Real estate brokers are marketers and anytime there is a good marketing opportunity, I take it." LAKE TAHOE"Sellers love them and perspective purchasers are intrigued," says Shari Chase, President and CEO, Chase International Distinctive Properties of Lake Tahoe. Chase notes that the promise of a video helped her secure a $14.5 million listing. SAN FRANCISCOGinny Cain-McMurtrie, Vice President and Director of Marketing, Alain Pinel Realtors, which has more than 150 listings priced over $2 million, says, "Video is the next wave. Virtual tours were the original multimedia but don't give a real sense of a property. Our agents really like the movies and see them as a differentiator." NEED FOR VIDEO "The affluent buyer is typically the most adept at using the Web. But until now, a $27 million property was marketed online using the same method as a $270,000 home -- through a flat Web page," notes McWeeny. "There is a real need for video to effectively market the most expensive properties."
McWeeny points out that the video stories should not be confused with video tours: "Our movies tell stories, conveying the experience of the finest properties and enabling people to make an emotional attachment to them," he says.
SURGE OF ONLINE VIDEO The trend also rides a wave of interest in viewing video on the Internet. Fifty-one percent of Internet users watch video online at least once a month, according to the Online Publishers Association. Approximately one in five web users say they would probably purchase online on-demand programming to watch on their computer (Burst Media). And Apple announced on October 31 that it sold more than 1 million videos from its iTunes music store in just three weeks.
VIDEO AT CONNECT The biggest innovators in technology and online media will be addressing the digital video opportunity at the Real Estate Connect NYC conference, including Chris Glowacki, Founder and President, Plum TV; Tony Lee, Publisher, WallStreetJournal Online's RealEstateJournal.com; Paul Boomsma, EVP, Luxury Portfolio, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World; and Richard Ferrari, Broker, Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate.
Real Estate Connect NYC 2006 is supported by premier sponsors including: Bank of America, MapQuest Business Solutions, Fidelity National Financial, HomeGain, Real Living, Stewart Realty Solutions, the National Association of Realtor's Center for Realtor Technology, Technology Concepts, RealtyTrac, WolfNet Technologies, the New York State Association of Realtors, Pennsylvania Association of Realtors, Connecticut Association of Realtors, New Jersey Association of Realtors and the Real Estate Board of New York.
For more information on Real Estate Connect, view the online program at: http://inman.com/connectny/ny.aspx.
Inman Stories is the most recent company to be founded by Internet entrepreneur Bradley Inman, famous for highly successful Internet content businesses including Inman News and Homegain.com. Through TurnHere.com, Mr. Inman has harnessed the rampant consumer acceptance of Internet video technology and is tapping a rich vein of new and creative filmmakers who operate in a new, low-cost, technology-rich environment.