The internet has just about killed off newspapers world wide. With it has gone the rivers of gold – the classifieds. Classified advertising for cars, real estate and jobs all underpinned newspaper’s profits.
The rivers of gold for newspapers also created rivers of gold for estate agents. Agents packaged up expensive and largely needless print campaigns that home sellers were convinced to pay for upfront.
Agents benefited from the rivers of gold in many ways. Whether it be a brand building exercise, a sales tactic to increase ‘vendor motivation’ or rebates of some kind, many agents survived on the rivers of gold.
Many within the real estate industry still refuse to believe that print is dead.
For the consumer, the debate as to whether the internet has trumped print is over. Yet many agents still persist with trying to sell expensive print campaigns. These campaigns range from newspaper advertising, leaflet drops to real estate agents magazines. It would be unfair to suggest that these forms of advertising bring zero benefit to a campaign. It is also fair to say that the benefit they bring to a campaign is not cost effective in comparison to signboards, internet marketing and database marketing.
To ensure that you get cost effective marketing from your preferred agent, allow them to run as much print advertising as they deem necessary. Just ensure that it is at their cost and not yours as the seller. You will quickly realise what the agent truly believes in versus what is a dispensible brand building product.
If you are wrestling with the merit of the print debate, consider the following – real estate agents have two primary roles when employed by a home seller.
The first is to find interested buyers. Different agents use different strategies to achieve this objective. They will focus on newspaper ads, internet ads, For Sale signs, databases etc.
The second objective of the agent is to negotiate the highest possible price with the best terms for the home seller. Some agents can achieve this objective, some can’t. However, some home sellers could also achieve this outcome and some couldn’t. For the home sellers that could competently negotiate for themselves, the only real value a real estate agent can offer is one of saving time and effort.
Most agents spend excessive amounts of money finding buyers and then use selling strategies such as auction that undersell properties. The excessive amounts of money being spent looking for buyers is the home sellers money, not the agents though. So, if the home seller is paying upfront for advertising and carrying the risk to find a buyer, what is the home seller really paying for?
Answer – the agent’s negotiation skills or in some cases, lack thereof.
If you feel that the agent does not possess a high level of negotiation skills to sell your home, do it yourself. To pay an agent $5,000 in advance to find a buyer in the digital age is absurd.
If print is the true cause of selling real estate, why not print a few brochures and place an ad in the newspaper yourself? You will save large on the commission as many private sellers have pleasantly discovered.
Going further, you could erect a For Sale sign and list your property on the internet at a fair price. You will quickly find plenty of interested buyers. It will then be up to your negotiation ability to close out the sale at the best possible price.
When a home seller commits to spending between $5,000 and $10,000 on a print campaign, they do so in the absolute belief that their home is going to sell. There also tends to be a correlation between market conditions and the amount of advertising a home seller commits to. The stronger the market, the more sellers spend on print advertising. This phenomenon has rung out again in the boom of the past two years.