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Now THIS is How You Do Social Media Video



1 client. 1 home. 1 flip cam.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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  1. Jennifer in Louisville

    July 22, 2008 at 6:50 am

    Fun clip. Only a couple areas of improvement IMO:
    1. A longer view of the front of the house that was in the middle of the clip. (yes, I realize there is an ability to pause/rewind, but a lot of people won’t do it.)

    2. Move the beat up green Neon car thats missing 1 hubcap outside the window at 1:05.

    Enjoyable and fun overall though.

  2. Matt Stigliano

    July 22, 2008 at 6:56 am

    I watched and I got to thinking about the music and wondering what agentgenius readers would have to say…

    Do you think the music could potentially turn off a buyer who saw this? Is this the digital age’s version of having a Slayer (google it if you don’t know it and you’ll see why someone might be turned off) poster on your walls when showing it?

    Me personally, I see past things like that, but I find that buyers can be turned off by the tiniest of things. Some people don’t see past the seller’s personal effects throughout the house, so will this cause the same result for some people?

    Awaiting your opinions…

  3. Norm Fisher

    July 22, 2008 at 7:34 am

    Nice Benn! I thought the production was well done and I love the idea of having the client conduct the tour. If he is your typical buyer for this home, I think you’re definitely appealing to him. My wife recently bought be me a Flip so I’m looking forward to trying something similar.

  4. Todd

    July 22, 2008 at 8:27 am

    As a Consumer, first time buyer, if that video came up on the first page of results in my Google search for “homes for sale” + “city name”, I would TOTALLY go see that house in person first! Video is a home run, music is just icing on the cake.

  5. Hunter Jackson

    July 22, 2008 at 9:07 am

    while I like the video, and the music, this would have to be specifically demographic targeted. This would not be for everyone.

    this video would be perfect for attracting the ‘single guy’ who leads a bachelor lifestyle. ie: the focus on the deodorant.

  6. Susie Blackmon

    July 22, 2008 at 9:26 am

    While I love the FLIP and videos, starting out this show in a pile of dirt and an unprofessional appearing ‘person’ wandering doesn’t seem like the best way to present this home. It does get better though!

  7. Matt Thomson

    July 22, 2008 at 9:51 am

    Really? I guess I don’t get it. All I got from that video was that the back yard is dead, the counters need replacing, and they should have cleaned up the bathroom before the video.
    There was nothing about that that made me want to see that house any more than any other without a video. I’d rather look at still photos that I can control the pace or a virtual tour that I can skip around on. No price, no information, didn’t do it for me.
    Am I missing something that I should be getting?

  8. Benn Rosales

    July 22, 2008 at 11:37 am

    He is aware of what needs to be repaired, which is why the home isn’t on the market- I’m positive he will appreciate the feedback, but his goal is a home sold using social media, and he is well on his way.

    The reason I’m showing the video, and not so much the home is because it has an enthusiasm to it that I think is really neat. He did it on his own, in his flavor, as a homeowner, and I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of this personal style and flare in homeowner video from our clients in the future.

    I find it refreshing, and overwhelmingly appealing and I’m excited to advise and help him ready his home- This is the before… I’ll soon be showing you the after- my clients way – hgtv style 😉

  9. Benn Rosales

    July 22, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Hey Matt S., at first, that thought came to me, but lets also consider where this video will be featured, it won’t be in the mls, it will more than likely reside on youtube, and other venues that might expect the unexpected. I think that that this video serves up, the unexpected.

    Susie, so we should hide our gen y homeowner? 😉 He is actually a very successful public speaker on the subject of social media, and non-profit organizations, namely the american cancer society- social media isn’t stuffy, web2.0 is loose and natural- what you see as unprofessional ‘person’, his peers and probable buyers will relate to him and his down to earth style in many many ways.

    How many homeowners in a 1.0 world complain about having to stage their bathroom before they leave for work every single day of the week, not to mention clean up before every show… do you really think a homebuyer or other home sellers wouldn’t give his human touch and human pass? I would guess that most would laugh and relate.

    just some thoughts…

    I’d rather this music than some midi

    boarding a plane, will catch up later… nice day guys

  10. Glenn fm Naples

    July 22, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Benn – glad to see other agents thinking of video to advertise and promote homes. The video was well done (really didn’t care for the music – but I am 60 yo). But as someone pointed out it – it is demographically appropriate for the targetted market – excellent on your part.

  11. Matt Stigliano

    July 22, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    Benn – Good point. I guess I was trying to get some responses out of the various agents floating around to see what a general consensus would look like. Me, I’m all for something new and different. I’d buy a house with a Slayer poster in it any day.

    Glenn – You may not like the music, but would you say, “hey, this house might be something Client X would like to see.”? Would the music “scare” you away? I think I know your answer, but I’m trying to dig deeper to get a better picture of what today’s agent is thinking. What if you had seen it back in 1995? Just curious.

  12. Susie Blackmon

    July 22, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Hi Benn, just giving you feedback on what came to my mind immediately. I am sure the video is appealing to many.. as well as the homeowner!

  13. Jean-Paul Pangalos Bastarrica

    July 22, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    I have been looking for a useful guide on how to create high quality video presentations of homes. Is there any available that will teach me how to create a video like this?

    Thank you in advance.

  14. Ken Smith

    July 22, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Matt S – I would debate sending that video to some clients. IMO the music would be a turn off to some buyers. At the same time the herky jerky nature of the video would be a turn off to many people. IMO this video didn’t provide anything that 9 quality photos couldn’t do better.

  15. Jennifer in Louisville

    July 22, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    You all are a bunch of ole sticks in the mud! 😛

    Is the vid appropriate for everyone? No, of course not. Its niche marketing. Young music-heads live in homes too, y’know?

    Side note – Perhaps he should do a whole series of videos that way he can appeal to all buyer genres:
    Put him in a tuxedo with opera/classical.
    Big ole straw hat with country music.
    Bunch of gold chains, sunglasses with Rap music.


  16. Danilo Bogdanovic

    July 22, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    The video is a great start and I think will work very well once the next and better version is taken. It was missing views of the front of the house, a view out of the kitchen into the family room, etc. It was also a little rushed (imho).

    As for the music, it all depends on the location and demographic of potential buyers. If you were selling a condo in downtown South Beach, you’d have house music in your video. If you were selling a luxury mansion in Northern Virginia, you’d probably want classical music in your video. It just depends…

  17. Glenn fm Naples

    July 22, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Matt – If I had a client looking this particular home – I might consider it for the client. The music is irritating to me – but remember I am probably older than a lot of people commenting on this video. If it was back in 1995 – I would have avoided the video at all costs – of course back then I was in a 3 piece suit and highly conservative. Today, I can let down my hair – if I had any. 🙂

  18. Broker Bryant

    July 22, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Matt, The video didn’t do it for me at all. I felt it was way to jerky. The motion distracted from being able to really see the house. As a sales tool I would have much preferred a RealEstateShows.

    I liked the music though:)

  19. Brad Nix

    July 22, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    This video and subsequent discussion brings up a very interesting concept of target marketing using video/music/social media….will agents begin to market properties with multiple styles?

    What if this video were shot using classical music, slow fade transitions, and steady pans and zooms? Would it then appeal to a more sophisticated buyer, or not? What if it were shot in black and white and blair witch style music played? Would the thrill seeker then be intrigued to go see it? What if the video featured girls in bikinis and the monday night football theme music? Would jocks knock the door down to see inside? What if the backyard scene showed a bar-b-que party with Dr. Dre music playing? Would everyone be turned off because they thought it was ragged out as a party house or be excited to throw their own party next weekend?

    I think you could shoot 2 videos and edit them 10 different ways to create a ‘mini-series’ on the house. In the end, I think anything you can do that is different gives you a better chance of succeeding in this industry.

    – I’ll buy the Slayer poster, you can keep the house.

  20. Dick Carlson

    July 22, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    As someone who also does a lot of public speaking (and media development) in the area of social media, I can assure you that this piece is done exactly right to light a fire under the 25-40 demographic. We’ve been in and out of the real estate market for a while, and if I have to look at one more of those still-photo pan/zoom atrocities with the elevator music I may strangle someone.

    (BTW — I’m 53, my wife is 61. Not everyone fits in neat demo slots.)

    Of course you’ll have a nice safe little MLS site with pictures and the specs for the plumbing, distance to the end of the driveway, and a list of where all the end tables go. But your audience is looking for an experience and a vision of what living in this home might be, that would differentiate it from the hundreds of others with little cardboard signs out front.

    Challenge: show this video to 10 of your friends in the target demo, and ask for reactions. (Don’t telegraph what you think.)

  21. Jeremy Hart

    July 22, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    i don’t think the music is so much the issue as the volume. You have a purposefully jerky, quick-moving video, and the music matches that. Turn the volume down on the music, then let it ride.

    I like the idea, Benn, but not the presentation. The home just didn’t seem to have the wow factor to go with the organic-nature of the video. I’m glad to see you’re working on an after-version though, because I DO think that this kind of targeted advertising can be a huge hit.

    Brad gets the Slayer poster, and I’m glad to send an extra hubcap for Green Lantern parked out front.

  22. Will

    July 23, 2008 at 12:32 am

    1 Guy Running Randomly. 1 Home Not Really Shown in the Best Light. 1 Cheap A$$ Camera with Poor Resolution and a lot of Shake.

    Come on… you’re going to make how much off the sale of the house and you bought a flip cam? I hate those things. Why didn’t you just use a cell phone? I mean, the quality is barely better than what you must get from your blackberry (and no, that’s not acceptable either).

    About the music: Thank goodness it’s not another jazz piece but I really do not think Phantom has given you rights to use their song Justice pt.II in a commercial endeavor. Link to original video:

    Anyway, just wanted to chime in that I didn’t this production deserved the attention you gave it. Sorry.

    How to fix it: Keep the cute humour at the beginning going (it seemed to stop after unlocking the door). Get a better camera (maybe a Canon HV30?). Make your own steady cam (really easy to do) to ease up on the shake. Find some royalty free music that’s decent or just cut the music/audio out entirely since most of us will mute the audio anyways).

  23. Frank Jewett

    July 23, 2008 at 12:39 am

    It has been amazing to watch the availability of the internet destroy old standards. The first time I saw one of the old Kinescope shorts, I marvelled that anyone bothered with them. I often feel the same way when watching real estate web videos, but this internet video technology is just so darned sexy!!!

  24. Holly White

    July 23, 2008 at 6:47 am

    Love the idea of making it a Gen X/Y kind of social media video, they are buying NOW, and it seems that this is the sort of first time home that a Gen X/Y’er would likely be in the market for. But here’s something to think about…

    On a side note, I’m all about using social media to sell homes, but these days those aren’t the only generations on line not to mention all of the different races we represent regularly, so I think we have to be careful about who is portrayed in the video. I have to ask also that in some odd way could this type of a video be considered some form of steering? The idea Brad Nix had about doing a mini series was great but brought to mind that if someone didn’t do some sort of mini-series and featured a specific demographic in a video could it be considered steering? Maybe not, but put yourself in the shoes of the person watching the video that features a particular demographic that is NOT that demographic. Would you be more or less likely to view the home even if it fit all other criteria in your home search? Just my knee jerk thoughts after watching and reading…

  25. Ken Smith

    July 23, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Fair warning this is long, but I did some research to the ideal demographic that might help those interested in video.

    “Challenge: show this video to 10 of your friends in the target demo, and ask for reactions. (Don’t telegraph what you think.)”

    Took you up on that challenge. I will not post most of the comments as many are not exactly professional as it was an exchange between friends.

    Some important points; all people I sent the video to are between the ages of 25 and 38, all use technology on a regular basis, and most if not all use social networking. The only text sent to my friends with the link was:
    “Tell me what you think of this video. (and linked directly to the video, not this post)”
    To make sure that my opinions didn’t influence their comments.

    At this point I now have feedback from 16 people.

    All agreed the video sucked (much nicer then many of the comments), but they all agreed that the concept was cool. I got responses ranging from did a 6 year old shoot this to why are they so cheap they are using their 1990 camcorder to shoot the video.

    Just about all thought the music was incorrect for this home, for example “I understand it may be a licensing thing, but the music didn’t fit my idea of a house I’d like to purchase. A song like “Our House” or something more classic would have made me enjoy it more.” That came from someone who is really into current music and it shocked me that he suggested something more “classic” because it would make it “fit my idea of a house I’d like to purchase”. That was very interesting to me.

    Some liked the idea of music (just not that music), others thought there shouldn’t be any.

    Across the board people didn’t understand why the homeowner was in the video. The comments here varied, but all thought he should be in there as it was. Some suggested having people actually doing different things in the home, like cooking, watching TV, stepping out of the shower (to follow with the humor of the door entry) (sorry I have some messed up friends, but they are very good at marketing). Others suggested not having anyone in the video as they are buying the house, not the homeowner.

    Now I also did a follow up with a really bad tour of one of our properties. This I only have feedback from 9 people on. Across the board they felt the tour was more useful then the video. They also did make a point of saying if the video was better done it could be better then a tour. One thing I hadn’t thought of “One other thing I forgot to mention about the video I really liked is that it helped show the layout of the house. That’s something that is missing from “virtual tours” and I’m too lazy to look at floor plans.”

    Hope that helps everyone a little. Figured it was worth sharing as not everyone has 20 people with the correct demographics to send this video off to.

  26. Benn Rosales

    July 24, 2008 at 8:53 am

    Ken, I can’t comment on your poll because I’m not able to see what controls you had or have, more specifically their demograpics. Ages just aren’t enough to paint a total picture as my mother in the midwest, would absolutely not get a Seattle 23 yo, much less her own son 😉 – but you do go on to prove my larger point.

    “but they all agreed that the concept was cool.”

    We can all absolutely agree that we can’t agree on subjective issues like, quality, music, etc… my taste isn’t yours, or anyone elses, always… but these folks that even Ken just polled, when they go to create their video to sell their home may look at that crappy midi based video and wish they had something a little less like everyone elses because as of today, their perception of possibilities have been changed- I bet they will want to do something even more clever, and the cycle of disruption continues… just 3 years ago, a vt was fine, today we’re begging the question, rock or country and holy crap- the SELLER HAS OPTIONS! THAT is a novel concept. 😉

  27. Frank Jewett

    July 24, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Agents should always be looking for new ways to stand out from their competition and video might be the next way to do so.

    Production quality will be an important way of standing out as more amateurs dive in. The suggestions made earlier were very helpful. The video above is an example of a kewl concept executed in amateurish fashion. YouTube availablity lowered standards, but standards are rising again now that broadcast quality programming is being distributed directly to the internet. That was the point of my kinescope reference. Novelty forgives content. The novelty of watching people wander through houses, yards, and neighborhoods with flip cams is quickly wearing off. It would be far more helpful to find professional examples instead of amateurish ones.

  28. Ken Smith

    July 24, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Frank (or anyone else) do you have any quality examples of video tours? From what I have found the quality across the board is fairly low quality not something I would want my name associated with.

  29. Glenn fm Naples

    July 25, 2008 at 5:47 am

    I bounced this off of 4 people aged 22 to 35. The thoughts were spread across the board from liking the music, but not wanting to see the house to very cool and wanting to see the house.

    Each of the 4 individuals had very different educational and economic backgrounds.

    This led me to believe, matching the video to the buyer profile is extremely important. The balancing act is how to match the buyer profile with the image we as a real estate agent want to project to the public.

  30. Beth

    July 28, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    While I personally didn’t like the layout of the house if I happened to be looking for a home and I did like the layout I would definitely make the effort to go and view it, probably in large part because of the video. I loved the backyard though, despite the fact it looks like it needs some TLC.

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Disputing a property’s value in a short sale: turn a no into a go

During a short sale, there may be various obstacles, with misaligned property values ranking near the top, but it doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker!



magic eight ball

magic eight ball

It’s about getting your way

Were you on the debate team in high school? Were you really effective at convincing your parent or guardian to let you do things that you shouldn’t have been doing? How are your objection-handling skills? Can you flip a no into a go?

When working on short sales, there is one aspect of the process that may require those excellent negotiation or debate skills: disputing the property value. In a short sale, the short sale lender sends an appraiser or broker to the property and this individual conducts a Broker Price Opinion or an appraisal, using special forms provided by the short sale lender.

After this individual completes the Broker Price Opinion or the appraisal, he or she will return it to the short sale lender. Shortly thereafter, the short sale lender will be ready to talk about the purchase price. Will the lender accept the offer on the table or is the lender looking for more? If the lender is seeking an offer for a lot more than the one on the table, mentally prepare for the fact that you will need to conduct a value dispute.

Value Dispute Process

While each of the different short sale lenders (including Fannie Mae) has their own policies and procedures for value dispute, all these procedures have some things in common. Follow the steps below in order to conduct an effective value dispute.

  1. Inquire about forms. Ask your short sale lender if there are specific forms that you need to complete in order to conduct a value dispute. Obtain those forms if necessary.
  2. Gather information. Your goal is to convince the lender to accept the buyer’s offer, so you need to demonstrate that your offer is in line with the value of the property. Collect data that proves this point, such as reports from the MLS, Trulia, Zillow, or your local title company.
  3. Take photos. If there are parts of the property that are substandard and possibly were not revealed to the lender by the individual conducting the BPO, take photos of those items. Perhaps the kitchen has no flooring, or there is a 40-year old roof. Take photos to demonstrate these defects.
  4. Obtain bids. For any defects on the property, obtain a minimum of two bids from licensed contractors. For example, obtain two bids from roofers or structural engineers if necessary
  5. Write a report. Think back to high school English class if necessary. Write a short essay that references your information, photos, and bids, and explains how these items support your buyer’s value. This is not something that you whip up in five minutes. Spend time preparing a compelling appeal.

It is entirely possible that some lenders will not be particularly open-minded when it comes to valuation dispute. However, more times than not, an effective value dispute leads to short sale approval.

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Short sale standoffs: how to avoid getting hit

The short sale process can feel a lot like a wild west standoff, but there are ways to come out victorious, so let’s talk about those methods:



short sales standoff

short sales standoff

What is a short sale standoff?

If you are a short sale listing agent, a short sale processor, or a short sale negotiator then you probably already know about the short sale standoff. That’s when you are processing a short sale with more than one lien holder and neither will agree to the terms offered by the other. Or… better yet, each one will not move any further in the short sale process until they see the short sale approval letter from the other lien holder.

Scenario #1 – You are processing a short sale with two different mortgage-servicing companies. Bank 1 employees tell you that they will proceed with the short sale, and they will offer Bank 2 a certain amount to release their lien. You call Bank 2 and tell them the good news. Unfortunately, the folks at Bank 2 want more money. If Bank 1 and Bank 2 do not agree, then you are in a standoff.

Scenario #2 – You are processing a short sale with two different mortgage-servicing companies. Bank 1 employees tell you that they cannot generate your approval letter until you present them with the approval letter from Bank 2. Bank 2 employees tell you the exact same thing. Clearly, in this situation, you are in a standoff.

How to Avoid the Standoff

If you are in the middle of a standoff, then you are likely very frustrated. You’ve gotten pretty far in the short sale process and you are likely receiving lots of pressure from all of the parties to the transaction. And, the lenders are not helping much by creating the standoff.

Here are some ideas for how to get out of the situation:

  • Go back to the first lien holder and ask them if they are willing to give the second lien holder more money.
  • Go to the second lien holder and tell them that the first lien holder has insisted on a maximum amount and see if they will budge.
  • If no one will budge, find out why. Is this a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan? If so, they have a maximum that they allow the second. And, if you alert the second of that information, they may become more compliant.
  • Worst case: someone will have to pay the difference. Depending on the laws in your state, it could be the buyer, the seller, or the agents (yuck). No matter what, make sure that this contribution is disclosed to all parties and appears on the short sale settlement statement at closing.
  • In Scenario #2, someone’s got to give in. Try explaining to both sides where you are and see if one will agree to generate their approval letter. If not, follow the tips provided in this Agent Genius article and take your complaint to the streets.

One thing about short sales is that the problems that arise can be difficult to resolve merely because of the number of parties involved—and all from remote locations. Imagine how much easier this would be if all parties sat at the same table and broke bread? If we all sat at the same table, then we wouldn’t need armor in order to avoid the flying bullets from the short sale standoff.

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Short sale approval letters don’t arrive in the blink of an eye

Short sale approval letters may look like they’ve been obtained simply by experts, but it takes time and doesn’t just happen with luck.



short sales

short sale approval

Short sale approval: getting prepared, making it happen

People always ask me how it is that I obtain short sale approval letters with such ease. The truth is, that while I have more short sale processing and negotiating experience than most agents and brokers, I don’t just blink my eyes like Jeannie and make those short sale approval letters appear. I often sweat it, just like everyone else.

Despite the fact that I do not have magical powers, I do have something else on my side—education. One of the most important things than can lead to short sale success for any and all agents is education.

Experience dictates that agents that learn about the short sale process
have increased short sale closings.

Short sale education opportunities abound

There are many ways to become educated about the short sale process and make getting short sale approval letters look easy to obtain. These include:

  • Classes at your local board of Realtors®
  • Free short sale webinars and workshops
  • The short sale or foreclosure specialist designations

As the distressed property arena grows and changes, it is important to always stay abreast of policy changes that may impact how you do your job and how you process any short sale that lands on your plate.

The most important thing to do is to read, read, read. Follow short sale specialists and those who blog about short sales on AGBeat, Google+, facebook, and twitter. Set up a Google Alert for the term ‘short sale’ and you will receive Google’s top short sale picks daily in your email inbox. Visit mortgagor websites to read up on their specific policies and procedures.

Don’t take on too much

And, when you get a call from a prospective short sale seller, make sure that you don’t bit off more than you can chew. Agents in most of America right now are clamoring for listings since we are in the midst of a listing shortage. But, if you are going to take on a short sale, be sure that it is a deal that you can close. And, if you have your doubts, why not partner up with a local agent that can mentor your and assist you in getting the job done? After all, half a commission check is better than none!

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