The COVID-19 pandemic limited in-person property tours and open houses, forever shifting the homebuying experience and placing a larger emphasis on the need for video property tours. Founded in September 2020, at the height of the pandemic, the SERHANT. brokerage is a content-to-commerce real estate ecosystem that is mobile first, with the first-ever, full-service, in-house film studio for organic lead generation, creating customer acquisition for its two core businesses: brokerage and education.
The in-house film and production team, SERHANT. Studios, manages social media, photography, and video content for the firm, including property tours. The objective of SERHANT. property tours are to promote listings while offering high-quality, engaging, and entertaining content to increase awareness and generate inbound sales leads and, ideally, result in sales; videos are shared to YouTube as well as other social platforms, reaching potential clients on the platforms on which they are already active.
Create cinema from real estate: To bring the SERHANT. property tours to life, the firm created a first-of-its-kind in-house film studio and production team for a real estate brokerage.
Across the real estate industry, brokerages traditionally have left it to the individual real estate agent to determine whether to invest in video property tours; the work is then outsourced to external vendors. This results in video content that differs stylistically and varies in quality of production – from photo slideshows set to music to shaky iPhone videos.
Since its founding, SERHANT. demonstrated a deep understanding of the power brand and content yield in sales. As an innovative and forward-thinking company breaking the mold of a traditional real estate brokerage, it wanted to bring video production in-house and create a property tour aesthetic that was uniquely its own while building upon its brand identity and awareness in the process.
Create content that is authentic, accessible and also aspirational: SERHANT. tapped Cody D’Ambrosio, a pioneer in the digital video space – the first ever video hire at Buzzfeed, instrumental in launching its episodic content as well as its iconic video brands including Tasty and Bring Me – to lead its Studios division. Under Cody’s leadership, SERHANT. Studios has grown to be a team of 17 managing all video content and creation for the brokerage and its 120 real estate agents.
The in-house SERHANT. Studios team is available to all agents at the firm, offering each the opportunity to use property video tours to help sell while ensuring consistency in style and production quality across all video content. As part of the brand’s video aesthetic, they have chosen to feature the listing agent in the property tour video – something rarely seen in the real estate industry. SERHANT. understands that prospective buyers not only need to see the property, but also get a sense of who it is they might be working with. Putting the agents front and center in the video begins to create trust with the viewer.
SERHANT. Studios has also taken a different approach to video cuts not seen across the industry – all properties priced over $10 million are given a longer property tour edit, averaging 10 minutes or so, allowing the viewer to understand all the details and value of the home, while properties priced under $10 million typically receive a shorter cut, between 1-3 minutes. For new development projects, SERHANT. Studios writes and produces a more cinematic style video allowing the viewer to fully immerse themself in the experience of living in the building.
Add social strategy to the studio content: SERHANT. Studios then helps with the distribution of the video content, helping agents to maximize its reach potential to ultimately help generate the greatest number of qualified sales leads. The initial production is strategically designed for cross-platform optimization, allowing the distribution strategy to inlcude: the SERHANT. YouTube page, the property detail page on serhant.com, and cuts formatted specifically for social media. The team then leverages data and analytics to determine which video styles perform best, allowing them to duplicate success.
With the quality of video content being created by SERHANT. Studios, has grown the brokerage’s Instagram channel to 345,000 followers and the YouTube channel to over 27,100 subscribers in less than 18 months – that means YouTube is growing at an average of 1,500 new subscribers per month.
In the past year, SERHANT. Studios has produced 170 property tour videos featuring 50 different real estate agents with an average of 17,800 views per video on the SERHANT. YouTube channel – all organic traffic, with no paid spend.
Sales from studio films about real estate: SERHANT. Studios has grown the firm’s following organically, ultimately achieving the objective of increasing brand awareness. In addition, agents from across the firm have received quality sales leads from the video content. Examples include: The Library, a new development project represented by the firm, reached 50% sellout in its first two weeks of sales with all buyers citing the cinematic video as first sparking their interest in the property.