YouTube Offers New Frontier for CRE Brokers

It turns out that the popular video-sharing Web site is not just for teenagers, amateur videos, celebrities and music. A group of commercial real estate brokers from Lee & Associates’ Inland Empire Group is trying to get real estate on the popular website’s viewer map as well.Scott Ostlund, a principal in the firm, discovered YouTube while looking at Razor motorcycles online with his young son. He then came across a YouTube video of a young boy riding the motorcycle. “It allowed me to see the product better than the sale brochure,” Ostlund said. “You can see different things people do with it and get a better shot of the product. … Video brings you one step closer.”Ostlund noted that YouTube is interest-based and people will search for what they are passionate about—whether skydiving or music videos. “I’m passionate about real estate and wanted to look at industrial buildings,” he said, but a specific search yielded nothing. “But I believed there were others who lived and breathed real estate as well.”And it was four months ago that he, along with fellow brokers Ken Jones and Barret Woods, started marketing properties on the website, starting with buildings at The Mountain Vineyards industrial park, at the corner of 6th St. and Charles Smith Ave. in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. The video includes drive-by shots and a tour of the interior, which gives a potential buyer a feel for the building.Market reaction to the video has been positive, Ostlund reported, noting that ancillary coverage has gotten him calls from both potential buyers and other brokers alike. “You know that when the phone rings, people are aware of the project,” Ostlund said. “I can’t say whether it’s helped sales yet, but in a slowing real estate market, every little bit helps. You need to use all avenues.”The firm is now in the process of listing all of its buildings for sale on YouTube. Ostlund knows of at least one other broker who has followed suit, but thinks even more are coming. “It’s where the world is going to go, he said. “People will demand that.”