New Real Estate Trend Uses Hollywood-Like Videos to Help Sell Your Home
ABC News' Mary Pflum and Eliza Murphy report:
A new trend in the real estate market is bringing a whole new meaning to "home movies."
In order to help sell homes, real estate agents and developers are commissioning mini-movies, replete with actors, scripts and musical scores, as a new tactic to entice buyers in a competitive real estate market.
Neo Property, one of the companies using this Hollywood-style pitch technique, made a mini-movie hoping to sell a luxury home in Queensland, Australia.
"It's a three-level home, contemporary design," the video's narrator describes while showing professional quality sweeping views of the home.
The video stars a young woman in her underwear tied to a chair inside the modern, sleek house, as helicopters hover around the property, ultimately ending with the woman being rescued by none other than the home's real estate agents.
The video seems to be targeting "a single bachelor lifestyle," Bravo's "Million Dollar Listing" real estate agent Josh Flagg told ABC News. "It's ridiculous."
The three-minute film, which cost $15,000, was the brainchild of Australia-based real-estate film company Platinum HD, the Wall Street Journal reports. Duncan Schieb, the film's producer, told the paper his goal is to make real-estate videos that "go viral" online.
And the movie-like trailers could be coming to a town near you, where the not-so-subliminal message is that if you buy these homes, you, too, could be living in the lap of luxury.
Film House CEO Curt Hahn also directed a mini-movie for a 4,000-square-foot condominium listed for $1.795 million in Nashville, Tenn.
"They get to the end of the movie and see what the payoff is," explained Hahn. "People got to the end of that movie and they had tears in their eyes."
The budgets for these types of films can range from several thousand dollars to $1 million, depending on the type of listing, according to the Wall Street Journal.
But if you want to sell your house and can't afford a big production, do not despair, say real estate experts.
Eric Lavey, a Los Angeles real estate agent for Teles Properties, said he started making home movies for clients in 2011 for as little as $500 by hiring student filmmakers and directing the films himself. A former talent agent, he came up with the idea for home movies when the real estate market went particularly soft and said the proof of the selling power of the movies is in the signed-contract pudding.
Homes, Lavey said, stand out when their listings include a movie.
Hahn noted that movies can also make people fall in love with a home they would not otherwise have even considered, had they looked only at virtual tours and traditional real estate websites.
"I'll give you a perfect example of why still photos don't sell houses," said the filmmaker, who now makes as many as three home movies a week for homeowners and real estate agents in Tennessee and Michigan. "You wind up with all these empty, cold, still photos that don't have any emotion. They don't sell. They just show. Our movies create an emotional connection with a buyer."
Rogan Allen, a Nashville resident who has hired Hahn to help him sell his home of seven years with a custom-made movie, believes films are the wave of real estate's future.
"I absolutely think this is going to trickle down. I absolutely think that people with iPhones are going to make short films and upload them to YouTube," said the Tennessee native. "Anyone with a camera and use of the English language will be able to pull this off and probably in extremely clever ways we haven't thought of."
But those who aren't so sure can still sell homes the old-fashioned way, Flagg said.
"If you put your house on the market for what it's worth, you'll sell it. Simple," the real estate agent explained.