Saturday, April 20, 2013

What's a Video?

Yes, that may seem a silly question, but I keep seeing a lot of confusion about what a video actually is in reading real estate industry articles, as well as in our own MLS.

Still photos, set in motion with animation and sometimes with a music track, is not a video.  It is an animated slide show.  Our own MLS offers a "virtual tour" feature that costs a whole $2 for the listing agent.

I would not dare post an animated slide show as a video on YouTube.  YouTube users are sophisticated and want to experience real video of your subject, whether it's a hike, a scenic vista, or a home tour.

This is exactly why I provide real video for buyers and sellers on my YouTube channel, sarasotahomes.  Buyers can preview a home from long distance exactly as they would walk through it themselves.  I provide this service for my home listings as well as for buyers who are familiar with an area or a condo complex, and want to see an individual property.

Read more on my website:  www.davidbarrhomes.com/virtual_walkthrough

Business Cards

I read an interesting article on real estate marketing and the basic business card.

The premise of the article was "My Face is Not My Brand".  It went on to say there's a divide in the real estate community about putting faces of agents on everything from cards to yard signs to real estate websites.  I call this vanity marketing.

I am of the school that believes no one is going to select me or not select me because of how I look.  I have always said I prefer to work with people that select me as their agent because of my knowledge and local experience.   Here's something to think about:  Do doctors or employees of major corporations put their head shot on their business cards?

Vanity marketing might be great for politics, but it's not so great for real estate.

Do we even need business cards at all in the digital age?  Now there's a topic for a future blog.

Agent Matching Sites

Innovation and technology in real estate is always welcome.  I'm a bit of a tech geek and like to keep ahead of trends and incorporate new ideas whenever I can.

A burgeoning technology I've been reading about is agent matching.  Much like personal matching sites, a new group of websites is just beginning to roll out agent matching sites based on buyer and seller input about their needs and personal traits.  The idea is to match Realtors with potential clients based on more than just experience.

I think there's a lot of room for error with this new form of finding an agent.  Some of these sites match potential buyers with agents based only on their current listings.  An agent that handles foreclosures probably has a lot of listings, but may not work with buyers.  Many agents seek a lot of listings precisely so they don't have to work with buyers at all.  Besides, the information buyers and sellers put in their matching profile may not always be completely accurate, just like the personal match sites.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm totally in favor of working with potential clients who do make a good match for me on a personal and business level.

I'm really not that picky.  If you know the type of property you are looking for, have a well defined budget, and have actually visited Sarasota, Bradenton, the barrier islands, Venice, and Englewood before, we are probably a good match.  If you need to see 3 years worth of homeowner association meeting minutes before buying, or decide on your own that you know insurance limits better than the condo association management before buying, we are probably not a good match.

I still believe the best way to find an agent is to look at their website, read their blog, and look at their social media postings.  An agent with a cookie cutter website, who blogs re-posted articles they didn't write, and does the same on social media, probably isn't the best choice.