When Christophe Choo realized that none of his 800 YouTube videos led to a home sale, he nearly abandoned video as a marketing tool. But after speaking with real estate coach Tom Ferry, who cautioned that it may take time to see results, Choo, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker Global Luxury in Beverly Hills, Calif., decided to keep at it. Shortly thereafter—having already spent four years working on his video strategy—it finally paid off handsomely.
This kind of perseverance was the theme of a session called “Video Killed the Analog Star” at the Coldwell Banker Gen Blue conference in Las Vegas. Panelists at the session said using video across social media platforms can dramatically improve an agent’s business and urged attendees to draw inspiration from their competitors. Carla Hayes, director of industry and public relations for Coldwell Banker Real Estate, cited a study showing that video likely will account for 82 percent of consumer traffic online by 2021.
Choo recounted how, about a month after his conversation with Ferry, a buyer who had seen a couple of Choo’s videos called to seek help purchasing a new home. “Three weeks later, [the buyer] bought a $10 million home with me, and I sold her home for $4.8 million,” he said. Then, his videos prompted more prospective clients to reach out to him, and within 90 days, he closed $26 million in sales volume.
“Video is the golden ticket to brand yourself and sell properties, find sellers, attract buyers, and showcase your community, schools, and charities you are involved with,” Choo said. “It’s an amazing platform that is pretty much free. I see myself as a DJ for the content in the community. I’m spinning a disc to the world, showing the shopping, restaurants, parties, houses, and lifestyle that Beverly Hills and California offer. It’s important, no matter where you are, to share with the world that community. Sellers will find you from those videos, and if they like you, they will call you and work with you on the listing.”
Take a risk and do things you are afraid to do—but excited to do. Trust your gut.” —Tim Smith, founder and principal of The Smith Group at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Newport Beach, Calif.
Some high-quality videos with high production value may cost $1,000 to $50,000 to make, but Choo said most agents can shoot basic walking or driving tours of neighborhoods with their smartphones. He shoots 10 to 20 videos for each of his listings on his phone. “Consumers like it,” said Choo, whose YouTube videos have garnered millions of views in total. “You can do a virtual showing. It may be shaky, and the light may not be so great, but those videos are much more popular and interesting to consumers because they can see what the house is all about.”
He added that personal branding videos are important because they show potential clients who you are. Practice video through trial and error, be creative, and don’t worry about how you look on camera, Choo said. “Branding is simple: It’s my name, Beverly Hills, luxury, and real estate. That’s all [viewers] need to remember, and I can get that across in 20 to 30 seconds.”
Andrea Ochoa, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker Global Luxury in Ibiza, Spain, recommended that agents not hold off on video marketing until they have professional equipment or a tailored look. “Don’t wait for the money for production; just go and do it,” she said.
Choo, who also posts videos on Facebook, Instagram, and his website, said agents should promote their videos—whether they’re short or long—on multiple platforms because you never know where potential clients will see them. His strategy is that if he has a four-minute YouTube video, he’ll take the best parts and boil it down to one minute on Instagram.
“If you do an Instagram Live video with great content—and you’re the expert, and you’re authentic—people respond so well to that, and it costs you nothing,” said Tim Smith, founder and principal of The Smith Group at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Newport Beach, Calif. “Take a risk and do things you are afraid to do—but excited to do. Trust your gut.”Tiffany Holtz, GRI, an associate broker with Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Group in Appleton, Wis., said agents should find stories about their listings that they can highlight in video. Perhaps the story is about why the seller originally bought the property and what they loved most about it. “Find a story and passion behind the property, and deliver that message to the consumer so it’s appealing and emotional,” Holtz said.