Recently I presented a Minneapolis homeowner with a market plan to sell their home. It included Internet sites and also some local print advertising. Their home was probably worth $400,000. I had tailored the marketing plan to fit the type of home and its condition (which wasn’t the best).
I was surprised when the seller insisted on placing the home in a high-end magazine. Their opinion was that it would attract more attention as a prestigious home. The only problem was that the home was anything but high-end and it would look out of place in this magazine. Secondly, I explained to them that the cost to take out an ad was at least $500, and the full page ad they wanted would cost around $1000 (for only one month), and that it just would not be cost effective. Now they were surprised.
Most sellers do not realize how much print advertising costs now a days. If you are looking in an upper-tier magazine, then the cost is even more. The Internet has changed things. For the most part, you can put a listing on five different sites for free, and maybe two will cost you a small fee. When it comes to magazines, the lowest price I know is $250 for a quarter page. Since it is taking on average three to six months to sell a home here in the Twin Cities (sometimes up to a year), an agent could spend $1000-2000 just on print alone.If the home is expensive, then the costs can get into the $5000+ range. Taking into consideration the fee agents receive for successfully completing a transaction and the fact that agents pay this cost up front, a real estate agent could be spending 25% or more of their commission on advertising.
Another major difference between print and Internet promotion is the rate of return. The National Association of Realtors reports that 80% of buyers look for a home on-line first. Then they contact an agent. The Internet is national advertising and reach everyone. Printed publications are usually local and can only be found at random spots around town, or at your local grocery store. So the pool of buyers you are reaching is much less.
Sellers really need to think hard about the type of advertising their listing agent will be doing for their home and take into consideration the cost. I personally like to use both avenues…cover all your bases, so to speak. Some agents only do the Internet, and some still only embrace print magazines. Both have their pluses and minuses. The key is to develop an effective marketing campaign that will attract as much attention to your home as possible, and not cost an arm and a leg. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your agent. Also, make sure your agent sends you copy of the final magazine ad and any website addresses your home appears on. It’s good to be in the loop, just remember that the listing agent is trying to sell your home, so try not to step on their toes too much.