Lifestyle films help move houses

Professional quality real estate flicks the next big thing


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A screenshot from one of Karyn Filitraut’s lifestyle videos

Owners hoping to sell high-end properties are increasingly turning to glossy, professionally produced lifestyle videos to attract buyers and generate interest in listings. 

“This is a new way of doing real estate,” said Karyn Filitraut, a sales representative with PSR Brokerage in Toronto. She is a pioneer in the field, having created dozens of videos for clients. 

“My videos are included as part of my standard realtor fees, not on top of,” she says. “The clients do not pay for them. I usually drop $2,500 to $5,000 of my own money on each of them.” 

Today, the quality and complexity of these videos is blossoming, evolving to a new level of sophistication. It was only a couple of years ago that realtors would film a tour of a home on an iPhone. A “bed” of classical music would be thrown over top. 

Now a typical production utilizes elaborate footage captured by aerial drones. Professional actors and directors work from scripts and storyboards. Hollywood-quality crews handle lighting and editing. 

They are expensive. The trend is not likely to catch on for those buying and selling the vast middle mass of listings. These videos are usually only produced for high-end properties. Typical scenes might include a family cavorting around the pool over the course of a day. Ads for penthouse condos feature beautiful models hosting parties in moodily lit spaces. 

“Buyers usually hit the Internet before their search even begins, and with so much online to see, they’re favouring the well-done videos, the better photography the better presentation of home,” said Filitraut. 

One Toronto realtor wonders if the videos could alienate buyers. 

“Every viewer will have his or her own spin. What if a potential buyer sees a video but they are not part of the target market represented on the screen?” said David Fleming, a realtor with Bosley Real Estate. “Of course, at the end of the day a successful sale only ever involves one buyer. And so if this helps find that one person… the sale is a success.”

Fleming also wonders if some videos too narrowly focus on lifestyle and overlook the basic details that buyers will also want to know. But there is no denying that the trend is catching on for pricier properties. 

A lifestyle video is a great way for a seller to cut through the deluge of listings, media and advertising that bombards potential buyers. 

“They certainly get watched. I’ve had hundreds of thousands of hits on those that I’ve made to date,” said Filitraut. “They almost always help sell the properties. When they’re posted on social sites they are liked, loved, shared and commented on.”

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