Newspaper Advertising for Real Estate, Does it Work?

In the ever changing environment of today’s real estate and buying climate, there are a lot of questions to ask.  One most asked is if advertising in print media like newspapers is still worth it.  It used to be that you would pick up the newspaper, and look for “houses for sale” in the allocated section.  The descriptions in print were best written to draw the buyer in, with a broker’s or salesperson’s phone number in the ad.  For a while after the dreaded 2006 hit, real estate ads held up comparably to things like autos but one hard hit fact ruled them all.

That fact is that the one statistic from the National Association of Realtors was fairly damning:  87 percent of homes are now looked at, gleaned over and toured before contacting an agent over the web.  There are many reasons for this trend.  In smaller markets, say under 80,000 population or especially under 40,000, you may have success with the newspaper.  The reason being is that people drive around town and see the for sale signs in the yard but there are always those who on Sundays pick through the ads and see what they want to look at.  Then, they may get around to calling for a showing, moving slow…. Like molasses.  Other issues like if they are qualified or what happens then is all another part of the random deck of cards being dealt to us in today’s climate.

With use of the internet, the virtual tour is the first main advantage.  The savvy buyers who are moving in from another city are going to scope out every property as best as they can before calling for a showing.  Some pictures are actually very good representing the homes and what it would feel like to live in them.  And with those that aren’t, the price will eventually sell the home after a few vultures swoop down on it.  There is also the kind of buyer that has simply heard from word of mouth and techie-geared zines that looking on the internet is the way to go.  Just as consumers used to follow the newspaper, they are going to follow these commands as the law and just search on the web.  It’s the way it goes, and the way our now driven culture gears them to think.  Newspaper ads may argue that since the paper itself is on the web, they are current, and that this is in effect a “web advertisement”.  Well, not true.  It has to be listed and placed in the MLS and priced right.  Once these things happen, the property will sell with a shelf life of three months in winter or bad economic times.  If in summer season, a priced right property with good photos and remodeling and new to subpar appliances should get a full priced offer within two months.

And this is also necessary info to the buyers; you really have to act when wondering if now is the time to write the full priced offer or nearly full priced offer.  The economy may not be fully recovered, but sometimes these properties go fast.  There will always be hemming and hawing and folks that are just testing the market with lowball offers.  And that is fine, but the seller will preside over the final decision and you have to be ready to deal with that.  Newspaper ads are not dead yet and we will fully attest to that.  There are offers written with old money where someone saw a property in the paper that was too good to be true, called the realtor, and made an offer.

The presiding factor in today’s market is that the print media is seen as analog, like a VHS tape or 8 track.  It still has its prowess but on the web, you can click other links, hear audio, and pause and go back to streaming videos that show you the “life blood” of the property.  Users can tab right over to their bank account, their lender, their realtor, their email, and other properties.  The fact about the newspaper is that you are listed right there with other properties.  In the MLS or on the web, you are too, but once you click into something, you can pause, scroll around, take notes.  It’s not the future, it’s the present.  If you are in a market where looking in a print newspaper is going to yield you something and give you some sort of advantage, we encourage you to do so.  There’s nothing wrong with getting a good deal.

Newspapers can be considered like being a big bird sitting on an egg waiting for someone really special to help them hatch it, but the web is an icon of versatility.  And with smart phone apps to be able to check properties on the go, having a folded piece of paper on your lap is probably not going to cut it.  We’re sorry.  We love the way our old comic books and New York Times copies smell and feel, the toil of print.  We just have no choice but to not steer you, rather keep you, in the present.  Besides, that thingy vibrates when you have new messages, it doesn’t sit there waiting for you to turn that page.

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