There’s no wonder why videos are an increasingly popular way to promote listings. They add a personal touch to the house hunting experience, allowing consumers to get a stronger impression of a property before stepping foot in it. They also expand listing agents’ reach, as real estate professionals often add videos to their websites and promote them on social media channels.
However, when creating videos, it’s important to keep in mind that both the Illinois Real Estate License Act and National Association of Realtors’ Code of Ethics set forth specific rules regarding what you need to include in your videos and what you can’t show. Before you press record, make sure you understand the dos and don’ts of using video to market homes.
Do: Include your name and brokerage.
A consumer needs to know that your video is an advertisement. That’s why it’s important to disclose your name as the licensee, what brokerage you’re part of and whether you’re a managing broker.
Don’t: Share videos that aren’t yours.
Today, Facebook feeds are filled with videos, and many real estate professionals share video on both their personal Facebook profiles as well as their brokerage’s Facebook page. It may not seem like a big deal to share someone else’s video, but if you or your brokerage isn’t listing the property, you need to get the listing brokerage’s permission before you share.
Do: Be honest.
The creative process of editing videos can be fun, but you need to be careful that the final product isn’t misleading to viewers. That means no editing the video to make the yard look bigger or erasing power lines that are next to the home. Even if you clarify yard size or mention the power lines in a text description elsewhere, the video must still present a clear, accurate picture of the property.
Don’t: Use discriminatory language.
Be mindful of the Fair Housing Act when you create your videos and always be sensitive to potential buyers with disabilities. For example, saying a property is ideal for an “active, healthy person” is a violation of the Fair Housing Act. If you’re speaking in your video, read over your script with a critical eye. Double check before you publish that you aren’t saying anything that could be construed as discriminatory.
Do: Be honest about inducements.
It’s common for brokerages to offer incentives like a raffle or a rebate to entice potential buyers to come to a showing. If you mention offers in a video, be sure to disclose all of the terms and conditions.
Don’t: Change the agreed-upon price.
Remember, your loyalty to the property seller comes first. If you’ve agreed to a price with them, don’t use language in a video that implies the price is up for negotiation more than it really is, or that it’s in a far lower range than what you’ve agreed upon with your clients.
Of course, the dos and don’ts of using video to market homes go far beyond these six best practices. To stay on top of rules regarding video, media and other advertising in real estate, refer to the NAR Code of Ethics, which is updated every year, and the Illinois Real Estate License Act, which is set to be reevaluated in 2020.