Kennewick agency uses video storytelling as marketing strategy to sell homes
By Robin Wojtanik
A local broker is using paid actors to showcase how a listed house can be a home.
Tri-Cities Life Real Estate of Kennewick has used this unusual approach for one of its higher-end home listings and has plans to shoot another video.
Broker Steve Lambert isn’t making videos for every listing, but considers the marketing tool perfect for some properties.
“I felt like there was an opportunity to really create and deliver something at a much higher level that our clients deserved,” Lambert said. “These are expensive homes. These really deserve to be put out there in a very elegant and professional way.”
Produced by Bryan McGlothin of River Road Media, the video created for Lambert was shot in a single day and later edited.
McGlothin called the product, “Your Home’s Story,” and his goal was to go beyond the typical drone flyover footage, or a walk-through with a 360-degree camera.
“A home purchase is an emotional one,” McGlothin said. “When we watch movies, we identify with a character. As potential clients view our home-tour stories with actors, they will become more emotionally-involved and moved toward a purchase.”
Lola Franklin, executive director of Tri-City Association of Realtors, wasn’t aware of any other Tri-City realtor using actors in videos to sell homes, but she said she thinks it’s a great idea.
“It’s an innovative way to advertise a property. The national association does it all the time,” she said, adding that when there’s a person in a photo, “it’s always more interesting. Same goes for video.”
The real estate videos Lambert uses average about $600, a price that may not be paid exclusively by the agent listing and marketing the property. Lambert said some sellers may be willing to split the cost.
In the video shot for a vineyard estate on North Clover Road in Kennewick, a male and female actor play married homeowners. As the video begins, the couple head through the home’s front door carrying grocery bags.
The video offers a fly-on-the-wall view of the rooms in the house as the couple goes about everyday tasks like unloading groceries, retrieving bedding from a linen cabinet and working in the house’s shop. A cameo of a cat walking by, a bubbling water feature and a crackling fireplace also add layers to the production.
The camera work offers artistic angles of the home and its features, suggesting a feeling of what it would be like to live inside and not just walk through it.
The actors shared a bottle of wine at sunset as the video concluded. The home is listed at $975,000 and has not yet sold.
Lambert said this price point doesn’t move as quickly as other listings in the Tri-City market, but he’s confident the right buyer will come along.
Before creating the video, Lambert had to go to the local Multiple Listings Service, or MLS, to ask for permission to put actors in the video.
Homes added to the MLS database are searchable by agents and brokers as a way to share information about a property listed for sale.
The MLS granted permission to use the actors as long as branded and non-branded versions of the videos were used.
Lambert said feedback on the video has been positive.
“As a home buyer, it helps me see the house, and lets me envision living there,” Lambert said. “The other side of it is that some people say, ‘It’s good for my business as an agent, but is it really helping to sell my house? You’re getting your name all over the place but is it really selling my house?’ That’s a double-edged sword. My name has to get out in order to help you sell your house.”
Lambert said he intends to use the video for other purposes, like training agents and to recruit potential clients. It’s an approach that falls in line with Lambert’s business philosophy to not just buy or sell homes in a traditional manner, but to create fun, enjoyable experiences for clients.
To watch the full video, go to https://vimeo.com/218972289.