Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Real estate agents are adapting to the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic by embracing technology like never before. Video walkthroughs are one of the most effective ways to showcase a property’s best features without endangering the health of homeowners and prospective buyers. Thankfully, it doesn’t take a hefty budget or film degree to create a virtual tour that wows.

The Livabl team has filmed and edited over 120 home tours for our YouTube channel and we recently published a useful guide on how to record compelling video walkthroughs without shelling out a lot of cash. In a follow-up to the piece, we’ve brainstormed five essential editing tips for real estate marketing videos. Keep scrolling to find out how you can splice and trim your way to editing greatness. 

1. Try out free versions of editing software 

There are loads of video editing software suites out there, many of them free, but you just need to find one that fits your needs and budget. Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro X are considered industry standards, but they don’t come cheap. Adobe Premiere Pro costs $20.99 USD per month, while Final Cut Pro X is a one-time purchase of $299.99 USD. Fortunately, both programs offer free trials so you can test them out before reaching for your credit card.

If you own a Mac or an iOS device, you can download iMovie for free and easily transfer projects between your iPhone, iPad or Mac computer. The free version of DaVinci Resolve also comes highly recommended and works on Mac, Windows and Linux. If you need to fine-tune your editing skills, the program comes with raw video footage that you can play around with.

Photo by Ivan Shunyakov on Unsplash

2. Use transitions when editing

Using transitions between your clips prevents your video from looking choppy. While it might be okay for a YouTuber vlogger to rely heavily on jump cuts, in a real estate marketing video it comes across as unprofessional. When filming, be sure to record a mix of wide shots, pans and close-ups. When you string them all together during the editing phase, your video will be more dynamic and attention-grabbing.

If you want to use two panning shots back-to-back, change up the direction of the second clip to allow the eye to rest. If you neglected to record pans in both directions, not to worry, you can typically reserve the clip using your editing software. Just make sure there’s nothing in the background of the shot that gives it away, like water flowing in the wrong direction or a bird flying backward.

3. Don’t overdo it on the effects

Video effects and flashy transitions are fun to experiment with, but if you pile on too many your video walkthrough will look cheesy as hell. When editing home tours for Livabl, I stick to cross-dissolve transitions (keeping them as short as possible) and lower thirds titles if a speaker is being introduced — that’s it! Unless you have a degree in animation or are a whiz at Adobe After Effects, steer clear of whacky transitions, effects or color adjustments.

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

4. Choose royalty-free music 

You can’t put Diana Ross’s “It’s My House” under your video walkthrough and not expect to be hit with a lawsuit. To avoid legal troubles, I use YouTube’s Audio Library, which offers royalty-free music and sound effects that you can download for free and use in your project. Some of my favorite artists are Wes Hutchinson, Topher Mohr and Alex Elena, Vibe Tracks, Chris Haugen, and The 126ers. There are thousands of songs to choose from, so I recommend sorting by genre or duration. Simply click on a track to find out if or how the artist would like to be credited for their music in your video. 

Some people prefer to choose the music before they begin editing, but personally, I like to do this towards the end when I have a feel for how long the video is going to be and the overall vibe. But if you want to sync the transitions with the timing of the music, then, by all means, select your track before getting started.

5. Keep it short and sweet

Here’s some startling news: the average adult attention span is only eight seconds long. If you want to sell houses and rack up views, you’ve got to keep your videos short and sweet, ideally under three minutes. Once you’ve exported your video, you’ll likely need to convert and compress the file so it can be used across multiple platforms. I use MPEG Streamclip, a free program that can be downloaded from the internet, to convert .M4V files into the .MP4 format, which is supported by YouTube.

Under normal circumstances, the goal of your video walkthrough would likely be to convince a potential buyer to attend an open house or in-person showing. That’s why they’re often referred to as “teasers.” In our current pandemic moment, however, I say to hell with rules — if you need more time to adequately showcase the entirety of the home, then go for it. Just don’t ramble on for 20-plus minutes like you’re a beauty blogger with sponsorship deals!

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