The advent of the internet, e-mail, text and social media has totally transformed the way the real estate market advertises. In times not so long past, the first bastion of real estate information was to be found in the monthly Realtor Magazine (the on-line version is www.realestate.com), the weekend real estate supplement in the Saturday Courier Mail newspaper and the window of the local real estate office, not forgetting all those lovely flyers that real estate agents stuff in your mailbox every day. With any number of real estate listing sites available, traditional media types have declined in popularity. Even sites like Gumtree.com.au and the Trading Post support real estate listings by private sellers and more recently Facebook and other social media sites have been opened up to listings posted on business pages. Newspapers still have their place in marketing your property, but are less popular and in comparison, are considered as an expensive option.
So what’s the best strategy? Without trying to be deliberately vague, the right combination of media will depend largely on the property, the procedures and protocols employed by your agent and their office, and your budget.
We all advertise on the same websites; some agencies use standard listings and others prefer featured listings (like me). As more properties are listed on the website, each entry is superseded by the next. Featured listings take priority over standard listings and moved down the page more slowly.
I still like to run an ad in the local news publication; they generally have a good distribution and readership and you never know where your buyer will come from, he could just as well be your next door neighbour or the guy up the street!
I also like to take advantage of my sister offices nationwide and overseas. The best part of this is that all of the e-mails I send to our associated offices are free!
OK, so back to the original question, ‘How much is enough’?
Internet. Most real estate websites are free to list (they don’t charge the agency, so you don’t pay either) with some exceptions. The larger and most known sites do charge for advertising on their sites and traditionally, the charge is passed on to the seller. For example, my office uses feature listings for all of our properties and because of the volume of properties listed, we receive a ‘bulk discount’ on the fees charged, which we pass on to our sellers.
Newspaper advertising is charged at the going rate for the publication. It varies from area to area, depending on distribution and readership of the publication. Once again, my office receives a ‘bulk discount’ on advertising which we pass on to our sellers.
Photographs – there are 2 schools of thought here.
1. An agent with a good camera and some imagination can produce some great shots of your property and they’re free.
2. Packages are available from professional photographers starting from around $125 for 15 daytime shots (night or twilight shots are more expensive).
Video – the latest addition to the real estate agent’s tool kit is video. There are heaps of options emerging as the media takes hold in the market, starting with videos generated from your photographs (starting from around $165), with or without voice overs right up to professionally produced videos with one or more cameras (starting from around $350 for a basic video). Some agents take a starring role in their videos going to great lengths to produce almost Hollywood style film clips to promote their properties. It’s been proven statistically that video attracts more view to any internet listing and is fast becoming a ‘must have’ in the killer marketing campaign.
Picture signboards (starting at around $99) can be a great advantage if you are in a high traffic area. I think they are wasted in the back streets of suburbia and standard agency signboards are free.
Hopefully, your agent loves desktop publishing as much as I do. I love writing original ads and getting all creative (you probably get that from the length of my posts!). So all the copy for the internet ads, brochures and flyers (proofed by you before publishing, and distribution) are free, (and fun for me!)
So that’s the basics. You can do the math. The object of the exercise is to get your property noticed and sold. Keep in mind that “Unseen = Unsold”, and every agency has different policies and procedures when it comes to your marketing campaign. Your agent should be able to advise you of the best options for your sale. Remember, it’s not a “one-size-fits-all” deal. Properties are all different and the campaign to sell them should be designed to suit.