From Nick at the wsj.com – an excerpt:
Minimovies and Hollywood-style trailers complete with scripts, musical scores and even action sequences are cropping up as a new way to pitch pricey homes and condominium buildings. According to the National Association of Realtors, 14% of sellers used video to help sell their homes in 2012, up from 9% five years ago. Mr. Hahn, the director and CEO of Film House, said he shot his first real-estate minimovie in September of last year. He has since shot nearly 10, doing about one a week since June.
Real-estate agents and developers who commission the films say that perfectly lighted rooms and aspirational story lines help grab buyers, and are the next extension of a home-buying experience that has increasingly gone online. Budgets for such films are often a percentage of the home’s listing price, and can range from a couple thousand dollars to $1 million or more for large-scale productions marketing condo buildings. The cost is paid either by the listing agents or sellers, and sometimes split between them.
“Particularly when buying high-end houses, people really don’t want to spend time looking,” said Tom Patterson, the 4,000-square-foot condo’s listing agent. “The video shows it in a much stronger light [than photos] and with a little story for it, it adds a little emotion.”
Movie making is particularly popular in slower-selling markets. Though sales are picking up, homes in Nashville priced over $1 million still typically take a year or more to sell, said Anne Nilsson, a Nashville-based agent. She and partner Keith Merrill commissioned Mr. Hahn to create his first real-estate minimovie last year, a three-minute film depicting an actor following a series of clues on Post-it Notes through a 6,000-square-foot Southern Colonial-style home, leading to an actress playing his daughter, grinning as she shows him a Harvard acceptance letter.
“I called my husband into my office in London and said, ‘take a look at this’,” said Judy Neal, a retired directors’ representative, who said she liked how the video emphasized the home’s estate-like feel and walkable, in-town location. She and her husband flew over to see the home and wound up paying $1.435 million for it.