Zillow Walkthroughs – Worth the Hype?

11 August 2016 / By Rachel Shubin

What Are Zillow Walkthroughs?

Ahhh, Zillow. You have to appreciate those guys. Not content with merely being the largest real estate network on the web, last fall they launched a new site feature: Zillow Walkthroughs, which are short, mobile-phone captured videos taken and uploaded directly from Zillow’s app. They are not fancy: no music or editing capability, maximum of two minutes long, and generally pretty low-quality due to the requirement that they be taken through Zillow’s app (which means only shot by cell phone).

While video is rapidly becoming standard fare for high-end listings, it has yet to consistently trickle through the lower-end market, and this is the gap Zillow is hoping to bridge. Zillow Walkthroughs are not intended to replace high-end video; they are intended as entry-level video for listings that would otherwise have no video. Here is a listing we shot and did a Walkthrough for two weeks ago: 23798 SW Heron Lakes Dr. It’s pending already, but you can take a look at the Walkthrough. Here’s how to find it:

Follow the red arrow…

PROS

  1. Zillow gives priority in their search results to listings that use Video Walkthroughs, which makes this an easy way to get your listing that much closer to potential buyers.
  1. As with any type of real estate video, your potential buyers can get a much better feel for the flow of the house with video than they can with photos only.
  1. They cost nothing on Zillow’s end to add to a listing (and we only charge $25 for our shoot and upload service).
  1. They are very simple to manage.

CONS

Zillow’s restrictions virtually guarantee low quality, and-held video can be very difficult to keep steady when you are walking. The natural tendency is to walk at your normal speed and swivel the camera back and forth quickly, which is fine for people eyeballs but way too fast on camera. The resultant video often tends to have a jerky, chased feel to it that makes you wonder if it will end with a knife-wielding maniac jumping out at you from behind the shower curtain (or just makes you sick to your stomach).

how we counteract the cons

    1. From twenty-five years working in video and video/photography-related field, we have plenty of hand-held experience, which means we know what speed to walk and turn, and how to hold the camera level to avoid the whiplash effect.
    1. We have a specialized gimble to further smooth out the camera motion (a gimble functions like shocks on a car).
  1. BONUS: We are Zillow Certified Photographers, which means that we have our own Zillow rep. If there are any upload issues, we can take care of that with Zillow instead of it becoming one more thing for you to take care of.

DO they REally MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

We’ve offered Zillow Walkthroughs since they became available, and the feedback we’ve gotten has been very good. While the Walkthroughs themselves are frustratingly unattractive due to Zillow’s constraints, they do seem to provide a measurable bump in the search rankings, and several of our realtors find them beneficial enough to use them on every shoot. Our Zillow rep sent this chart over comparing a listing that we shot a Zillow Walkthrough for to similar listings that didn’t have one (and he sends similar data over every few months):

 

RECAP & RECOMMENDATION

1. Main benefit – bump in search rankings
2. Main detractor – low quality video

Our recommendation: The low cost and marketing bump make Zillow Walkthroughs a worthwhile addon to most residential listings.

 

Original publication 8/11/16

Updated 7/3/17

Updated 1/28/18

About The Author

Rachel Shubin

Head Bosser. (Also, customer care, booking, billing, marketing, everything else that doesn't involve an actual camera). Need something? Just holler... Email: rachel@picturethatproperty.com Phone/text: 503-975-3776

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