By DARRELL HALEN
Special to the Union Leader
August 3, 2008

When Stonyfield Farm founder Samuel Kaymen wanted to show his house in Lyndeborough to potential buyers, he went in front of the camera to do it.

Kaymen appeared in a video, talking about the soapstone wood stove, refrigerated wine and root cellar, solar panels and other features of his "green" home.

Robert DeLong Jr., a builder of ultra luxury waterfront estates on Lake Winnipesaukee, has appeared on camera, too, to provide tours of lakefront homes that he's built.

These two sellers, and many others doing business in the real estate market, are using the services of Nashua Video Tours, a company that has created hundreds of home video tours to market properties online.

In today's competitive market, said owner Fred Light, putting a "For Sale" sign on the front lawn and entering a listing into the Multiple Listing Service isn't enough.

"The web presentation of today is the curb appeal of yesterday," Light said. "That online presentation is hugely important, now more so than ever. Having a presentation on the web really does make a big difference."

The high-quality full-motion video tours that Light creates can be used to promote and showcase homes, inns, hotels, guest houses, bed and breakfast establishments, and other properties.

Light films the entire house, including major features such as swimming pools and high-end appliances. He films the neighborhood, too.

Light estimates that more than 80 percent of real estate buyers start their search on the Internet. With gas prices so high, he said, "People aren't going to spend an afternoon driving around, looking at stuff they're not really wanting. So they're sitting at home . . . touring lots of houses. They're making their short list. They eliminate properties based on what they see on the Internet."

Fred Light's company, Nashua Video Tours, has created hundreds of home video tours for marketing property online. (DARRELL HALEN)

By providing a video tour, sellers weed out property-lookers who aren't serious about buying. The folks who visit a home after taking a video tour are the serious would-be buyers, said Light.

"Every time there's a showing for that house, (the owner) has to clean it up. Pets, dogs, toys -- all that stuff's got to be out of there," he said. "You've got to make it look picture perfect. Which is fine once, twice. But three, four months down the road, it gets really tedious. This is the perfect way to reduce that because (watching a video) is the closest thing to really being there."

It typically takes Light 30 to 90 minutes to film a property, and he strives to have the tour online within 24 hours if possible.

DVDs can be made for a nominal charge.

Video tours are marketed and distributed by Light through several Web sites, including Realtor.com and those of the Northern New England Real Estate Network and the Property Information Network.

Light offers several pricing options. A two- to three-minute-long tour of a small property, such as a condominium or small house, which requires limited editing and is set to background music, cost $139. An in-depth four- to seven-minute-long tour featuring music and a full-scripted standard narration cost $300.

Light started his company about 3 1/2 years ago. He was featured on CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, and spoke recently on real estate video at the RealEstateConnect '08 convention in San Francisco, the largest real estate technology conference in the country.

"It's the new thing, the hot thing, but not a lot of people are doing it," said Light, adding that buyers and sellers love the service, and that using videos can help set a Realtor apart from the competition.

"If you do it right, it's a great tool," said Light, who also shoots photos of property using high dynamic range photography. "It's an interesting concept and people like it. It's not wasting their time. What buyers want today in this market is transparency. They want to see everything."

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