Print Advertising for Real Estate - Does It Sell The House?

There is no question that technology has had a dramatic impact on the real estate industry, agents, buyers and sellers. Gone are the days of agents carrying around a book updated weekly with current inventory. The magic and coveted book is now all over the web and available to anyone that can turn on a computer. The consumer often has seen all the houses they are ready to tour before they ever talk to an agent.

The industry and the agents must keep up with the consumer and their changing needs and expectations. Yet have we? Is the industry responding fasting enough to this change? In some ways yes, but in other ways, no.

Agents continue to sell print advertising to potential sellers during listing appointments even though study after study points to its ineffectiveness. Why? I think there are a few reasons.

  1. Agent's Ego. They pay to have those little square photos by their listing because they love the face time. They are seen as someone doing business by those that casually peruse the papers out of sheer curiosity. Friends, colleagues and neighbors see them, and it validates them as a Realtor. But does it sell a house?

  2. Seller's Ego. There is something impressive about seeing your home in a print publication that has thousands of subscribers. The home seller's equivalent of "your name in lights".

  3. Sellers Feel Validated. Print advertising is tangible evidence that the agent is spending money to promote your listing and earning that hefty commission.

  4. Lead Generation Tool for Brokers. Some agents spent a tremendous amount of time talking about all of the Broker dollars spent on advertising in so many different publications. Yet as yourself WHO DOES THAT ADVERTISING SERVE? This is a critical question to ask yourself while interviewing agents and listening to their marketing plan. Where do those calls go? Who answers that line? Are they motivated to sell my house or just capture a buyer lead? Often these calls go to the "updesk" at an office where agents sit to they can capture buyer leads generated from this Broker advertising. That agent likely doesn't know your home and their primary goal is to get buyers, not necessarily to sell your home.

  5. Agents Haven't Kept Up With Technology. Sometimes an agent (even some great ones) have not kept pace with the changes in the industry and the change in consumer demands. They've always done print advertising and still are so used to selling that it is a critical piece of their marketing plan. Clearly this is out of touch. A recent Canadian Real Estate Asssociation (CREA) study has shown that 84% of buyers used the internet to search for a home.

Marketing a home powerfully online is the best way to drive buyer traffic to your home. A good agent knows how to do this thoroughly and effectively so that they generate buyer calls or, at least, inspire those buyers to call their own agent and request to see your home.