The Pitfalls of Real Estate Advertising

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In this edition, I want to share with you the very unfortunate ‘profit focus policies’ of advertising companies that do no more than extract exorbitant amounts of dollars out of property sellers. You need to be aware of this when selling your property.

For those of you who know me, you know I am not the most technologically savvy person and, thank heaven, we have members of our team who are experts with it. Technology and the way we use it, however, is very important and has certainly been a wonderful tool for buyers, sellers and real estate agents. Yes it comes at a cost, however, when used correctly, it is worthwhile but when the cost blows out, who ultimately foots the bill? Who is accountable and responsible for the flood of money going into the pockets of advertising companies?

Here’s what I mean – there are many, many websites now that an agent can list a seller’s property on. Nearly all these websites have one thing in common; they start out free and then build in an administrative cost, then a subscription fee, then an increase and it goes on. The example here is realestate.com.au which is the ‘major player’ in property marketing in South Australia.

Now, I understand the need to make a profit in business. Businesses are operated to not just survive but to prosper. I get it! But at what cost and to whom? Go to realestate.com.au and do any property search and you will notice that some properties have big photos, corporate logos, some smaller with corporate logos and then some with no corporate header at all. With the swing away from expensive print media, agencies rely heavily on this website to promote their client’s properties and ‘themselves’.

The sheer number of properties going on these types of websites means you could list your property one week and by the next week, you end up on page 2 or 3 and, not long after, page 6 or 7. Agents therefore prime their sellers to buy ‘feature’ or ‘premium’ web positioning which boosts their property to the top of the pile. (This comes with a cost of course, to the seller). Naturally sellers want to feel important and yes, they should be treated that way, but it’s easy to make a seller feel special by suggesting their special property needs to be No. 1 on the website. So, rather than come onto the market and be on page 2 or 3, better to pay a higher price and get a more prominent position on the website (at least until the next day when other agents and sellers buy the same position).

Now even more recently however, sellers have realised that the high cost and added expense of going to the top of the list for a short time wasn’t really worth it; therefore, realestate.com.au discovered a way to generate more profit. From July 2017 they changed their policy so that unless a ‘feature’ or ‘premium’ position was purchased by the agent (seller’s cost), the agent would not be allowed to have their corporate banner or name with the main photo on the website. You see, for the agency, it’s all about brand recognition. Yes, like all companies, I need brand recognition for CE Property Group but should you, the property seller, be paying for the agent’s profile building? Realestate.com.au know agents would now push harder than ever for the higher cost of ‘feature’ or ‘premium’ web positioning. Agents are buying profile with your money thanks to realestate.com.au’s policy change.

If you look closely, many of these ‘page 1, big web listings’ are the ones that have been the longest on the market, throwing more money at promoting an agent and an overpriced listing in the hope it will sell. How special are those sellers feeling right now? Check out some of these with no logos at all. If they are presented nicely and priced appropriately, they will sell without the unnecessary vendor paid expenses. I recently listened to an interview with the principal of a very large successful agency which stated the difference on time on the market for their listings with the big logos, compared to others – If you are interested to know, just give me a ring.
There should be no short cuts in marketing your valuable asset. We must get it right.

Here’s a tip! How do you know if the agent truly believes in the marketing program they are selling you? Easy, they don’t sell it to you, they give it to you! Which is one of our many points of difference.
Agencies should earn their income by selling client’s properties, not from marketing them or, worse, charging sellers to buy profile on websites. We would prefer to promote our company through fine service and your recommendations, rather than your wallet. We believe selling a client’s property for the highest price and not charging marketing costs is what makes sellers feel special.

If there are any topics you would like to raise please let me know.

Kind Regards
Mark Watkins
Director / Sales Manager

2017 knowledge winter
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The Pitfalls of Real Estate Advertising