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Imagine watching TV, clicking to your favorite show. Due to programming changes, REALTORS have taken over the broadcast. Popcorn, muzack and a slideshow, anyone?

Um….. it’s called for a reason. That’s the message that needs to go out to REALTOR-land this week (and for some time to come, I suspect). While millions of lowly seventh-graders seem to have no problem filling up YouTube with high-definition video, too few adults in charge of the housing industry have figured out that movies require one critical feature:

Movement.

What’s with the slideshows, folks? A panning set of photos doesn’t cut it in the twenty-first century. Adding Pachelbel’s 17th century greatest hit as background music won’t send it viral, either. Maybe we should offer customers a vintage 1939 Viewmaster to see the latest stereographic images?

It’s simply not acceptable that real estate searches of YouTube return nothing more than low-resolution slide shows. Pan, zoom and transition effects can’t compensate for what must be the consumer’s first (and last) reaction to these non-videos: Click. Move on. That’s not what they expected; if the video turned out to be “not” correct, what else should the consumer worry about in the advertising content.

It’s not as if there are any major barriers to online video, either. Most new mobile phones can do halfway decent video; most digital cameras have featured good video recording features for half a decade. Mini video cameras like the Flip or Kodak Zi8 are high resolution, high-capacity point-and-shoot devices that use a simple USB connector to pull video onto your personal computer, ready to upload. In fact, YouTube users can upload video directly from their smartphones, no computer necessary. So what’s standing in the way?


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(The first person who writes MLS in the comments will be sent to Siberia…)

In all fairness, it’s not all bad. It’s just too few. There are some agents out there making some great videos. They talk us through the house and don’t overly edit the clips, to keep that natural, personal feeling to the message. Some use a tripod, others just work with a friend, but those who are creating real videos are doing so in under an hour, at most, per listing. That’s less time than printing, licking and stamping a typical mass-mailing to the neighborhood. And it’s certainly more effective, especially with next generation buyers and sellers.

Video alone isn’t going to turn the housing market around, but it might be one of the better tools for the industry to employ. Trying to reach the “sidelined buyers” with traditional media isn’t going to attract them; it certainly won’t engage them. And possibly, should a Gen Y buyer be subjected to yet another slideshow, it just might scare them off. For good.

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