The diminishing value of real estate advertising.

In 1989 a prospective homeowner started their home search by scanning their local newspaper’s real estate section. A large real estate firm with multiple hundreds of listings presented maybe 20% of all listings in their newspaper ad. Achieving name awareness and making the phone ring was the purpose of the Sunday ad. Firms monitored the results by keeping track of incoming calls generated by the advertisement, appointments made from those calls, homes showed, offers written, and listings procured.  

Advertise to Sell Any House

The Sunday real estate page had a ready audience of home sellers looking to find their home in the limited ad space. New listings had priority. After week one, a home fell into the rotation schedule. Selling a particular house was not the objective of the firm. Making the phone ring was. Real estate advertising was more likely to attract buyers who might buy any house or a seller who might have a similar home to sell. The homebuyer had a slim chance of finding the home they would own in the newspaper. Connecting with a real estate agent with access to the secret Multiple Listing Service inventory of homes was necessary to get into the actual pool of homes for sale. And then you still might be force-fed the firm’s listings before you got to look at properties listed by other firms. 

Zillow.com – Realtor.com. – Homes.com – etc.com

As the World Wide Web grew, REALTORS had the opportunity to solidify their place as the first or early point of contact in the home buying and selling process. Associations and committees don’t move as quickly or deliberately as private businesses. If changing long-held beliefs is required to take advantage of an opportunity, the opportunity will go to someone else. The dot-coms were someone else. Hellow Zillow

Online Is The Go-to Place To Find a House

The National Association of REALTORS released its 2019 study of home buying trends. Fortyfour percent of homebuyers told the association that they started their search online. (Some other statistics put the number at 88-90%.)  Zillow has a study that might contradict or support the NAR results. 

The Cost Of Advertising/Marketing and Real Estate Commissions

Associations, slow to change, are likely to apply old ideas to new methods. Mass marketing was and is the type of marketing real estate firms are most familiar with. Marketing to make the phone ring is now purchased to find leads. Revenue minus expenses = profit. When a firm spend money on internet marketing or newspaper advertising they have an expense. To make a profit revenue has to exceed expenses by a considerable margin. The cost or real estate service is in the commission charged by the firm. A more efficient way to connect buyers and sellers could result in lower selling fees for home sellers and lower acquisition costs for the buyer.

It’s possible to match specific homes to people who are the best candidates to be the next owner. Consider this: a dozen REALTORS will know a dozen people who might like a home new to the market. Those 12 will be alerted to see the house. Maybe 4 of those folks will arrange a showing. The technology exists for a computer to identify those 12 and more, and then cut the pool of prospects down to the one or two people most motivated to buy that house right now. Analytics uncovering the buyer before the person knows they are the buyer is creepy. But it’s possible. Now.

If it’s true that home owners want to sell homes in the least amount of time, for the most amount of money, and least inconvenience, analytics are the means to the end. I believe Zillow has all the information they need to identify from their pool of registered home buyers, the next owner of your home. Is that worth paying for?

Author: Tom Meyer, Owner-Broker, Essential Real Estate, LLC Madison, WI

The real estate transaction, disclosure, and confidentiality are the business of a Wisconsin licensee. It's in the transaction where the skill of the licensee, and their commitment to the law where the public is protected or placed at risk. What you see REALTORS do to brand themselves and their firms, promote their service, advertise, and process paper do not require a license. I believe negotiations to create and honor a real estate purchase agreement is where the agent has the greatest value in a transaction. Paying professional fee rates for the administrative services is a choice consumers deserve. Old business model driven commission rates are taxing the home equity of American home sellers. Essential Real Estate was created to put more money in the hands of the consumer by eliminating expenses for the firm and charging a fair price for the real real estate service.

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