A good voice over is vital for a real estate video. If you’ve launched a video marketing campaign on Facebook, the voice is what will keep viewers engaged. A poor voice will bore people and turn them away.
Many realtors do the voice over themselves. However, voice over is an acquired skill. Talking into a microphone to read sales copy, without the benefit of your body language to convey tone, is very different from giving a speech, or having a normal conversation. To sound professional, a voice over should also be done in a soundproofed studio—an asset many realtors won’t have immediately at hand.
For these reasons, realtors should hire a professional to voice a marketing campaign video (simple YouTube video marketing is another matter—viewer expectations are different). You don’t have to go through a union or voice over agent, however. Here are some websites where you can get high quality, professional-grade voice overs quickly and relatively cheaply.
Voices.com advertises itself as “The #1 Marketplace for Voice Overs.” Its website boasts an impressive client list, including the New York Times and Forbes. It’s also the voice over website we’ve used most often, so it gets our vote, too.
You can search voice actors directly on this website, but that’s a waste of time—generic demos won’t tell you how they’ll sound reading your content. Instead, post a job, such as for a “Real estate conversational-style marketing video script read.” You’ll be contacted by voice actors wanting to audition for the job.
Prepare to pay several hundred dollars to attract professional talent. Limiting your budget to less than $100 will only attract lower quality voice actors, and the lower quality will ultimately make a bad impression on leads watching your video. Turning off just one good lead with a poor voice over will cost far more than hiring the better voice in the first place.
Voices123 is the the direct competitor to Voices.com and has been around since 2003. Like Voices.com, the quality of voice talent can vary, but expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars for professional voice over work.
Voices123 has less bells and whistles than Voices.com, but for our purposes the two websites are virtually indistinguishable. You post a job, people audition, and you can expect to pay around the same thing.
However, there’s no guarantee that you’ll find different voice talent on different websites. To pay the bills, many voice artists are active on multiple websites. If you’re regularly shopping for voice overs you’d probably develop a preference between websites, but for one-off video marketing projects there’s little real difference.
If you balk at the prospect of paying several hundred for a voice over, there are a multitude of cheaper websites, such as VoiceBunny.com, which advertises voice overs starting at the low, low price of $10. VoiceBunny is actually run by the same company who runs Voice123—they’re just targeting at different ends of the market.
Of course, the old “You get what you pay for” admonition applies. You might get lucky and find the next Hollywood star who hasn’t been discovered yet. You might also get an actor who couldn’t get an audition at Bollywood. When you’re going cheap, expect to have to kiss a few toads, and you won’t get the luxury of holding custom auditions, either. You can save some money, but you likely won’t get satisfactory work the first time.
For this reason we are hesitant to recommend these cheaper websites unless you truly are strapped for cash, as you’re not guaranteed of good results. If poor voice quality turns off just one lead, you will have wasted more money than you saved.
On the other hand, cheaper voice overs are still passable for mass-produced YouTube videos when you can’t justify $500 per video. Lunch at McDonald’s has its place, but you wouldn’t go there to impress the parents of the girl you’re marrying.
P.S. For the whole picture, make sure you also read our real estate video scriptwriting advice. A voice is only as good as the underlying script.