The accidental landlord: video tours of your property

Victoria Whitlock is excited by the idea of making a walk-through video of her rental flat
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Here's my idea: in a bid to make my rental ad stand out from the trillions of others online, I'm thinking of becoming one of the very few landlords to include a walk-through video tour of my property maybe with scripted footage from my current tenants talking about what an awesome place it is to live, and what a fantastic landlord I am.

The idea of a video ad was suggested to me by former BBC producer Anna Shelmerdine who has set up London Property Video Tours to provide professionally shot and edited footage of properties in and around the capital.

Fees start at £120 for a video of a flat with up to two bedrooms, but having watched some of the sample films mostly of properties for sale, not to let on, I don't see why landlords couldn't shoot their own footage on a smartphone.

Anna's videos, complete with classical music, are excellent and I'm absolutely certain I wouldn't be able to make anything nearly as slick. But I'm not sure that a video tour set to a violin concerto tells potential viewers that much more than they could glean from a decent set of photos and a link to Google Earth, whereas one that includes personal commentary from the landlord and tenants could be really useful.

It could also be a lot more fun. I might ask my tenants to dress up in sumo suits (a small bribe might be required) and get them to jump out of the wardrobes to show how spacious they are. I could ask one of them to swing a cat in the living room to demonstrate that although it's small, it's not that small.

Alternatively, I could film them cooking supper in the superequipped kitchen, sipping sundowners on the west-facing balcony, and singing in the power shower. Okay, maybe not the last bit, but you get my drift.

Both Zoopla and Rightmove, the largest property websites, support video ads but Upad, the biggest online letting agent, doesn't enable landlords to upload them because, says marketing director Alan Duncan, the ones they've seen so far have tended to make a property look more like a crime scene than a desirable let.

I know what he means and there's a danger that if you don't know what you're doing you could end up with wobbly, gloomy footage that will only put off prospective tenants.

However, rival online letting agent OpenRent does enable you to upload your own videos to Zoopla and Rightmove. I watched one of a three-bedroom, recently renovated property in Chelsea, apparently made by the landlord, which was really good. Admittedly there was far more footage of the blank white walls and bare floorboards than strictly necessary, but aside from that, I liked it.

As the landlord walked through the house you got a real sense of the size of the place, and you could tell from his running commentary and his occasional whistling that he was the sort of chap who cared about his property. OpenRent says that even though it has offered landlords the option to upload videos since its launch last May, less than one per cent bother, so I reckon those who do take the trouble have more chance of making their ad stand out.

However, if your homemade video makes your property look like a crime scene, it might be better to take the professional option. After all, as Anna says, you'll be able to re-use the film for several years and it could create a great first impression of your rental.

Follow our accidental landlord on Twitter at @VicWhitlock

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