By Lynn Minnick
It wasn’t that long ago that my partner and I were kicking around ideas for a spring marketing plan on our big listing on the Connecticut River. After all that snow and a wet early spring we were looking for fresh ideas and an approach we hadn’t tried yet.
Enter the live webcam: A fun way to share, not just the view of the deep-water dock, but for potential buyers to check out the boats gliding by, or the peace and tranquility of the river! It’s one thing to show photos, but this is “real-time, live, unedited, what it’s like at Knowles Landing right now.” Our first weekend of promoting it via the website and social media yielded a big jump in web activity.
Here’s the skinny on what you need to make it happen. In our case, my partner is the tech genius who figured it all out.
We’re using a Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910 which priced out at under $100 and will be used again for other projects: http://www.logitech.com/en-us/webcam-communications/webcams/devices/6816. It is being encoded using Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder and streamed via www.Stickam.com. We have a Gateway laptop (we switched out the netbook because was too slow) situated in the boathouse using a wifi connection to the main house. My partner can also control the laptop remotely using www.logmein.com which is a remote access program from any laptop (and his iPhone) for when the cam goes down (Stickam times out after 24 hours) – Stickam is normally used to broadcast short live shows, not 24/7 streaming but it had the quality we were looking for at the price that was right for us. It sometimes runs ads first before going to the live view, but the quality really is excellent. You can check ours out here http://www.knowleslanding.com/live.html. (I don’t have the flash to play it on my iPhone, but to check it on my iPhone I downloaded the free Stickam app and searched Knowles and can view it that way.)
We ran some beta testing of equipment first, and it took some tweaking and several trips back to the boat house to get things up and running. At first we really wanted to get the broader view from the main house up on the hill, which also showed the tennis court as well as the dock area, but we found it infringed on our seller’s privacy because it showed where the cars were parked and it was easy to see if anyone was home.
Of course we made sure to add a prominent live stream icon to our website to make it easy for buyers to find it.
Will running a live stream webcam of the view sell the property? I don’t know yet, but it’s one more layer of our marketing plan that…
a.) our seller is impressed with, and
b.) no one else is doing in our market.
It has a generated a buzz factor and gives our fellow REALTORS® another reason or another link to send to their potential buyers for riverfront properties.