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The last few years have been all about pivoting. Working in the news industry is grueling, and many anchors, reporters, producers, photographers, and news directors face burnout after several years in the biz. They are looking for a new career path that enables them to utilize their skill set. Some turn to real estate because the course is inexpensive and only a few weeks long. They can quickly take the exam to get licensed and start working with clients.
The New York Times reported in March of this year that more than 156,000 people joined the National Association of Realtors in 2020 and 2021 combined, nearly a 60 percent increase from the previous two years. Furthermore, the top job-related search on Google from January 2021-January 2022 was “how to become a real estate agent.”
But, not everyone is turning to real estate as an agent. Much of the real estate business is marketing listings using multimedia — print, digital, still photography, video, and social media.
People with strong journalistic writing skills, on-camera hosting abilities, and an eye for photography, video production, and editing thrive in the real estate industry.
That is why ECHO Fine Properties created a media wing at the agency’s Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. office, becoming the first real estate brokerage firm in the area to create a fully functioning media studio. This mini studio is complete with a green screen, high-tech editing software, and reporters.
ECHO Fine Properties has assembled a staff of three from TV stations across the area, each person with a different news skill. One is a former CBS12 reporter and Miss South Florida, Page Weinstein.
She uses her reporting skills by creating packages for ECHO TV about local hotspots, nonprofits, and things to do in the area to educate buyers about what they can do close to their prospective new home. She also hosts property tours for ECHO’s listings and interviews interior designers of luxury properties, such as Fortezza in a gated community called Old Palm in Palm Beach Gardens.
ECHO’s lead photographer Chris Cutro previously worked as a photographer at The Miami Herald, which is where he first discovered and fell in love with real estate photography. His journalism background at the newspaper taught him the art of storytelling, which is essential in real estate.
To get a property sold, you need to tell its story through the listing description, photography, and videos. Cutro doesn’t only handle still photography but also video production and drone shots, which have become very important, especially for luxury listings. Consumers want to see an aerial, birds-eye-view of the home.
ECHO’s social media director Rob Moore spent a decade as a photojournalist in television news and five years in West Palm Beach at WPTV, the NBC affiliate. The TV industry can be grueling with long work hours, moving from place to place covering news stories, and turning out videos to air on short, strict deadlines. “If you can make it on TV, you can do just about anything,” he said.
At ECHO, Moore sets up interviews and shoots and edits videos. Real estate agents must use social media and video to reach this audience because that’s where the Buyers are. Through the use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Vimeo, TikTok, and an exclusive email database of over 200,000 subscribers and growing, Moore makes sure that the agency’s listings get the most exposure on these outlets.
This in-house media team model allows everyone at the agency to be in sync to tell stories. It is beneficial for the agents who work at the agency because ECHO pays for all the photos, videos, brochures, and other marketing materials that agents need to promote a property for sale. At most agencies, agents themselves have to assume responsibility for these expenses. Because of this, agents may seek to cut corners and not market a listing to its full potential.
Since launching the media department, clients are noticing the difference in production quality and hiring ECHO as their listing agency because of it. Agents are also applying to work for ECHO because they realize they need to up their game to a higher professional standard and that iPhone amateur photos and videos are no longer cutting it.
Remember, agents, work off a commission and do not make money off of a property until it is sold. They are forced to pay money upfront for a listing, in hopes that they earn it back, plus a profit, when it sells. If it doesn’t sell at all or it sells for below the asking price, they don’t make a profit or enough of a profit to recoup their investment, despite all the time and work they put into the listing.