Real Estate “Lifestyle Videos”

I’ve noticed that an increasing amount of real estate “lifestyle videos” are accompanying property listings, and I’m wondering just how effective they are.

Personally, I think by doing a “lifestyle video” for a listing, rather than a typical video tour, you risk pushing away anybody who isn’t part of the target market.

But perhaps if you connect with that one buyer you’re targeting, then alienating the rest of the buyer pool doesn’t matter.  Let’s take a look at a lifestyle video for a house in West Hollywood…

What do you think?

And who do you think the target market is?

I have to think the target market is the late-40’s, early 50’s male, mid-life-crisis male, who long to have a “kept woman” at home, walking around in a teddy, and having pillow fights with her hot friends.

What man wouldn’t want to buy this house?

But perhaps the market is a bit too refined?

Maybe they’re chasing only a handful of guys in Los Angeles?

It all depends on how you view this video, and every viewer will have his or her own spin on it.  That spin might depend on if you’re male or female, young or old, active buyer or casual viewer, and of course – your overall level of cynicism.

My take is as follows…

The “movie” starts with the slimy dude screeching his Corvette out of the driveway and possibly running over a kid’s skateboard in the process, as his wife/girlfriend, who is likely less than half his age, wishes him a good day while she appears to have a 2-hour makeup/hair job even though she just rolled out of bed.

As soon as “daddy” is gone, the girl immediately invites her four hot friends over, two of whom have their butt-cheeks hanging out their shorts, which is simply the norm in 2015.

Before long, the wine makes its first appearance.  Who says drinking at 1pm is only for alcoholics?  What else are five smoking-hot 22-year-olds supposed to do in a $15 Million house when left alone?

After an entire day of drinking in the sun, when most people would be tired and/or puking, these five ladies are in tip-top shape, and go upstairs to put on red-carpet-style dresses, do their makeup, and take selfies, while continuing to drink a ’92 Chateau Margaux.

Then suddenly, they’re out of their evening-wear, which never really got worn, and they’re in the wine cellar wearing short-shorts, and men’s dress shirts with no pants.  Because all women, when men leave the house, feel the urge to wear just the dress-shirt…….and maybe socks.

The sun sets, and they decide to practice their dance moves in the home theatre, while wearing even less clothing, although one of the girls has mysteriously disappeared.  Maybe it was past her curfew.

But the finale comes when three of them climb into bed together, and every man watching the video suddenly forgets it’s a real estate video and hopes it suddenly turns into porn…

I was fully expecting the man from the start of the video to come home and hug the woman, in a sexist and masochistic ending that surmises a man works hard all day long and comes home after the sun sets to his home-body wife.  But the movie ends with the girl looking out over the city, and now I’m confused…

Was this video targeted at the douchey 40-something man?

Or was the window open here to appeal to the young/hot/unemployed women who accompany these dudes in their daily Corvette-inspired struggles?

That’s an honest question, as part of me thinks that the ladies portrayed in this video, if they have any say in the relationship, might identify with the video and ask their rich man-friends to buy the property.

Don’t shoot the messenger here, by the way.  If I have this wrong, then let me know.

And while the video does do a good job of showing the home – the gym, massage room, pool, tanning area, view, family room with fireplace, patio, theatre, et al, I think the house could have been portrayed just as good a light, without risking alienating a huge portion of the buyer pool.

Take a shot like this for example:


That has to be one of the most impressive shots of the video, and it has nothing to do with the slightly above-average looking female.  I mean the infinity pool that feels as though it’s right in the city.

How many houses have a view and a pool like that?

How much land is this house on?  What do the grounds look like?  Perhaps another twenty seconds could have been spent panning down from that infinity pool, or showing the land that surrounds it, instead of four girls dancing to Beyonce.

My cynicism is off-the-charts on a daily basis, but I have to think other people would be watching the video like it’s a story of five girls with nothing better to do, rather than looking at it from a real estate perspective.

The first “lifestyle video” I saw in Toronto was back in 2012.

I’ve posted this on the blog before, but it’s worth seeing again.

As great as this video was, and as novel as the “lifestyle video” concept was, I still felt at the time that the target market was far too refined:



What if it wasn’t a single guy, but a young couple that were looking at this house?

Or what about two retirees?

Doesn’t this video have the potential to push away a large part of the buyer pool?

I’m not saying that every 65-year-old couple is going to watch this video and say, “Well, it looks like this is a young-person house, let’s move on to the next property!”

But I just don’t know if there’s as much to be gained by these super-specific “lifestyle videos” than there is to lose.

Of course, I’m assuming that every potential buyer sees the video, which is clearly not always the case.  This video for the house in West Hollywood could have been released through any number of mediums.

But for properties listed for sale in Toronto, we get only one link on MLS for “Virtual Tour,” which is where we put our videos, and you can guarantee than anybody viewing the property on MLS is going to click that link.

I think a real estate video should be aimed partly at people who have yet to see the property, that you want to lure in, and partly at people who have already seen the property, who you want to watch the video again and again.

And I also think that the video should really focus on the features of the home, rather than tell a story which may or may not appeal to the buyer.

How many storeys is the house?  How many bedrooms?  How many bathrooms?  What is the lot size?  How many square feet?  Is the basement finished?  How is the house heated and cooled? What does the backyard look like?  Is there parking and/or garage?  What are the finishes like?  What are the special features of the home?

These lifestyle videos seem to be created by people who want to sell a vision, an image, or a story, rather than an actual piece of property.

Maybe that’s how real estate is sold in West Hollywood, but that video didn’t have a price, or any real quantifiable data about the house, such as square footage, beds, baths, etc.

Maybe the buyer doesn’t care?  Maybe the buyer is a loser-dude who just dreams about having five women drink his fine wine while he’s gone for the day?

Call me old-fashioned, but I think the trend toward these videos in our Toronto market is an insult to buyers.  Today’s buyers are savvy, and want hard data; they don’t want to be “sold” on an image or lifestyle…



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  1. Jonathan says:

    Considering that the house was listed for $38MM (now reduced to $32MMI think it’s safe to safe that this video is just one piece of the marketing strategy. The target is likely an entertainment mogul, movie star, or someone similar who might appreciate the lifestyle depicted in the video.

  2. jeff316 says:

    I keep expecting a woman to walk in the door, and for the video to take a more “adult’ turn…

  3. Joe Q. says:

    Whenever I hear the term “lifestyle videos” I automatically think back to those Tom Vu infomercials from the 1980s.

  4. Marie says:

    I agree with FrankyB that videos like this are annoying. When I am looking at real estate, I want to know the location, price and size of a place, as well as the features. It’s a waste of my time to have to sit through somebody else’s idea of luxury.

  5. Paully says:

    In reality, in the second video, the guy comes home and ignores his dog completely for so long that fluffy goes and leaves a dump in the middle of the living-room while Chad goes for a drink on the patio in Yorkville.

  6. Marina says:

    I don’t see the benefit.
    If you are in the market for a < $1 million house, it would seem to much like they are trying to put lipstick on a pig.
    If you are in the market for a mansion, do you really want to look at some crappy sales pitch?

    Either way, it feels like they are trying to hide something.

    Unless the target market is Justin Beiber… In which case I pity the neighbours.

  7. Ed says:

    I think the target market is for a skanky 20 something who marries for money.

  8. Clifford says:

    These “lifestyle” videos represent one demographic. young, white, single, heterosexual male/female.

  9. condodweller says:

    I’m lusting after those sliding glass walls in the living room and bedroom! My condo’s living/dining room has about 30′ of floor to ceiling wrap-around glass walls broken up by the frame every 2-3 feet typical of Toronto condos, unfortunately. I’d love to have just 6-8 feet of it slide open to expose my living room to the terrace. Alas, I have an old apartment style sliding door that is all of two feet wide. I find design is the big missing link from Toronto developers compared to the states.

    I wonder if the video was located somewhere else for the actual listing as I’m not sure I would watch an ad before the ad. Having the attractive ladies in the video was tastefully done and just might string along some potential buyers long enough to show off the full house and generate interest, which is the object of the exercise I would think. If one is not into young ladies I’m sure he/she can look past them if they are in the market. After all, the house doesn’t come with the ladies.

  10. Greg says:

    I assume the production of these polished videos doesn’t come cheap…? Does the $1M avg detached market in Toronto offer an agent enough commission at the end to justify the expense of actors, video teams, and professional video editing? This along with all the other marketing costs, brokerage fees, desk fees etc….? Just curious.

  11. FrankyB says:

    I actually find videos attached to listings to be quite annoying. If they are in addition to a comprehensive photo tour with floor plans and panoramic shots, fine, but otherwise, you are stuck waiting 3-4 minutes for someone’s idea of an “artistic shot” of pellegrino and fake lemons in a kitchen. Do some agents actually think this is preferable to being able to quickly seeing every picture of the house on one screen?