Category Archives: Inspiration

The Clues to a Great Real Estate Story

People love stories. Whether you’re a young child cuddled up in a blanket by Mom’s bedside, sitting around a smoky campfire with friends, or one of the millions of people who flock to the movies each year, we all enjoy being entertained by a good story. As the writer and filmmaker best known for his work on “Toy Story” and “WALL-E”, Andrew Stanton (@andrewstanton) knows a thing or two about storytelling. The following TED Talk – which I highly recommend watching if only for the opening monologue – got me thinking about the presence of story in real estate search (or lack thereof).

When it comes to property search,  is our search for a specific criteria (size, price, type) OR are there less tangible variables we seek in a home? Are we (the real estate industry at large) helping customers find a piece of artwork in its complete form or an empty canvas to create future memories? What is the role of story in search??

“Storytelling without dialogue. It’s the purest form of cinematic storytelling. It’s the most inclusive approach you can take. It confirmed something I really had a hunch on, is that the audience actually wants to work for their meal. They just don’t want to know that they’re doing that. That’s your job as a storyteller, is to hide the fact that you’re making them work for their meal.” - Andrew Stanton


Deciding where to live is both a left and right brained decision making process. Fortunately for the left brain (logic), the entire online search experience has become far more robust and easier. Simply determine the qualities  (i.e. # of bedrooms/baths, price, etc.) you’re looking for in a home > apply those criteria to specific search on Move, Trulia, Zillow or brokerage site > wade though hundreds of listings until you find a few you want to visit for closer inspection.

However a ‘home’ extends far beyond the wood, drywall, brick and/or stone that surround and protects it. Your home becomes a backdrop for your life, a ‘setting’ for the thousands of stories waiting to unfold into your future. In this sense the final decision (largely visceral) rests with the right brain. Photos, demographics, home values  and other static information are quite useful for the logic based portion of your decision, but do little to help us visualize what it might feel like to actually live somewhere.

We’re born problem solvers. We’re compelled to deduce and to deduct, because that’s what we do in real life. It’s this well-organized absence of information that draws us in. There’s a reason that we’re all attracted to an infant or a puppy. It’s not just that they’re damn cute; it’s because they can’t completely express what they’re thinking and what their intentions are. And it’s like a magnet. We can’t stop ourselves from wanting to complete the sentence and fill it in.” - Andrew Stanton

This is where video shines. Filmmakers are natural storytellers. Through video they can not only help you (agent/seller) show what’s present, but help us (buyer/renter) imagine what’s possible. And when it comes to real estate search, isn’t helping the viewer picture their story the greatest story of them all?


Leading Real Estate Videos of the World

Our view from the front row at the Leading Companies of the World event in Orlando, FL.

As I walked into the main ballroom of the Hilton in Orlando with Rudy Bachraty, the butterflies became me.  Paul Boomsma and Pam O’Connor, two people I have an immense amount of respect for, were about to announce WellcomeMat’s partnership with the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World (Leading RE).

I believe I floated to my seat as I pondered 550 of the worlds strongest independent brokerages, 140,000 agents and a network responsible for transacting $225 Billion in 2011 having full reign on the WellcomeMat platform and filmmaker network…

Not only was I humbled by the fact that, after our highly positive outcome with Luxury Portfolio (a special thanks to Stephanie Pfeffer), we were expanding our partnership to the entire Leading RE network: I literally felt-like a gentle breeze, created by the universe and hitting me in the face right there in the ballroom-a quantum shift occurring in the future of real estate marketing.

Video is, in fact, becoming a quintessential (perhaps the most important part) of real estate marketing.

For those of us that have been in disbelief that video was not yet the mainstay of real estate marketing, every year has been “the year of video.” This win is for all of you and we make no exceptions. Whether you are a part of our filmmaker network, a competitor, WellcomeMat member and/or fan: if you are or have been a part of the real estate video revolution, it’s ON!

We are humbled by the opportunity to serve Leading RE brokerages. We are devoted to driving the quality of real estate video to the highest possible peaks. And, we are committed to the best possible outcome for the Leading RE team, whom has given us yet another thing to believe in. Thank you Stephanie, Paul, Pam and the rest of the Leading RE team for believing in us…