Advertising...Internet vs. Print

Real Estate Agent with Chris Balmes Properties

The statistics these days say that 80% of purchasers are spending an average of 40 hours looking at listings online before they ever call a realtor.  With the number of pictures increasing that we can post on MLS systems (16 in our RMLS), as well as virtual tours it only makes sense.  (On another note-this is why Broker's tours aren't as successful as in the past.  When I can see every corner of the house online I don't really need to preview it!)  Recently, I heard that 75% of realtors are spending 80% of their advertising dollars on print.  Something is definitely wrong there!  I'm definitely not saying don't do print advertising, but we should be spending 80% of our advertising dollars online and 20% on print advertising.  You can at least allocate some of those print dollars to advertise on your newspaper's website. 

Just my $.02 to help you getting a better return on your advertising investments....

Lisa Balmes PC

Chris Balmes Properties


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Bret & Meredith Amon
LIV| Sotheby's I R - Breckenridge, CO
Real Estate Breckenridge,Keystone,Silverthorne CO

I would prefer to do ALL my advertising on the net...b/c yes.  Most buyers come from the web.  However, we have sellers INSIST that we advertise on print.  Has it ever brought us a buyer?  No!  Times are changing indeed.  I wish the sellers would just trust our professional opinion and experience. 

-Meredith Amon

Nov 15, 2007 10:45 AM #1
Steve Glose
Keller Williams Classic Group - Orlando, FL
TRC, CIPS, 407-616-7286, Orlando Real Estate, Orla
The majority of my budget is spent on the Internet. I think more Realtors will go this route as they see less results doing print.
Nov 15, 2007 10:45 AM #2
Keller Williams Realty Partners SW - Cooper City, FL
Selling Broward County Homes with Passion!
I agree.  Last year, I advertised in print media & got nothing for my trouble & money.  I decided that, for 2007, I would no longer do print advertising. Instead, I'd optimize my internet exposure.  I also tell my sellers that I no longer do print advertising because buyers aren't reading classifieds--they're surfing the net. Sellers understand.
Nov 15, 2007 10:47 AM #3
Kathleen West
Trademark Realty Group of Palm Coast - Palm Coast, FL
Flagler County & Palm Coast Realtor

Great post.  The numbers are definitely indicating (and interactions with consumers personally) that the internet is playing a major role.  From cost perspective, it can be much cheaper as well.  The difficult part is that other 20% and the recognition that they can not be forgotten about (especially when listing a property).  I feel that it is important to find a balance between the 2, and that entails measuring the effectiveness over time.  I do both, and have focused more on the internet piece becuase that has provn more effective for me.  As for print (as strange as this sounds to many), newspapers have been more successful than magazines.  I attribute that to the area and not as a general thing for others areas of the country.

Nov 15, 2007 10:51 AM #4
Konnie Mac McCarthy
McLean, VA
Associate Broker - VA & MD
I dunno...I still don't get any return on my money when I run print advertising....
Nov 15, 2007 11:03 AM #5
Donna Harris
Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - - Austin, TX
Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator

In Texas, a resent survey showed 94% of buyers were online looking at houses.  What's the point in spending 6% of my budget on print when I rather put that money into the rest of the internet marketing?  I do one print thing and that's the Just Listed/Just Sold cards as they're sent out automatically through a program I have set up.  Everything else is online.

Nov 15, 2007 11:09 AM #6
Keisha Hosea-
KASI Homes - Chino Hills, CA
Real Estate Solutions For Real People
I think print ads are a complete waste of money, especially if you pay any attention to the statistics.
Nov 15, 2007 11:43 AM #7
KC Coonc
Windermere Real Estate/Whatcom, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Commercial Real Estate

Lisa, I agree with most of what you have said other than agents previewing houses on tour day. If it were that simple buyers would purchase homes without physically looking at them and just show up with a moving truck. How many time did you see a home on line only to see that once you pulled in to the driveway you discover junk cars in the neighbors yard, the peeling paint on the back side of the house, or the sun is shaded most of the day by a huge tree? Is that LP siding or is that Hardie Board? The list can go on and on.

Brokers tours are still important and all that about seeing it on-line is enough preview is Bull. As Realtors we sell the details, and those details come from first hand knowledge of our market area. The Internet will grow to huge dimensions and replace most print ads in the near future. You just can't replace the first hand knowledge of having actually physically seen a home or property. Besides Broker tours can be relationship building and help get a property sold faster or the price adjusted.

Nov 15, 2007 12:58 PM #8
Lisa Balmes
Chris Balmes Properties - Tualatin, OR
PC, e-Pro

Thank you for everyone's comments.

KC-I wish I had your success with Broker's Tours.  Over the last few months I have marketed and held about 20 Broker's Tours in all different price levels, at the request of my sellers, and have had not ONE broker attend.  Not one.  I pay to send out the postcards and emails and buy the food, drink and "prize" for attending.  Maybe you should write a blog of how you are so successful with them.  I would like to know what is working for you.  Thanx

Nov 15, 2007 01:11 PM #9
Mary Ann Daniell Licensed Texas Realtor
Coldwell Banker United, Realtors - Subsidiary of NRT LLC - Killeen, TX
Our company just informed the agents that they will no longer do the printed buyers guide that has been the old standby for years in addition to the company website.  They will be investing more dollars into internet advertising.   Check out Coldwell Banker on
Nov 15, 2007 02:10 PM #10
Jeff Vandermate
The Real Estate Book - Pasadena, CA

Good post. I am in the Real Estate advertising field and I agree with a lot of what your saying however in my own defense I have to disagree with some of your points. Statistics show that 87% of homebuyers are doing their search online, however there are reports showing that print media does in fact fuel the internet. Look at ebay, started out internet only now they have their own magazine as well, that is only one example of many.

Print media and the internet should be complimented much like a marraige, there are print medias that have relationships with the big names in the internet arena. The Real Estate Book for example is the largest publisher of Real Estate Magazines in the Country, however they also have created unique partnership with roughly 35 websites in which the Realtor can feed their listings to. Its all part of the entire package that they offer, so if you are into the net and putting a lot of money into it then you owe it to yourself to check out The Real Estate Book because you will target your internet audience and take care of your sellers request to be in print for a fraction of what you might think.

If you should have any questions at all please do not hesitate to call me. 760-567-4331



May 16, 2008 11:16 AM #11
Pat Kirby

We have a couple of very reasonably priced niche websites....

One is for waterfront and the other is for "second homes", and that one is called

In addition, we have 6 very targeted niche magazines....Great Western Ranch Properties, Texas Ranch Properties, Houston Great Properties, Dallas/Fort Worth Great Properties, Austin Great Properties and San Antonio Great Properties.  These are all full-color, glossy magazines with beautiful photography and they are distributed via direct-mail to a select group of individuals that can afford to buy these types of luxury properties.

Oct 14, 2008 04:31 AM #12
Elizabeth Nicosia

Jeff, your advice about The Real Estate Book couldn't be more off the money, and FLAT OUT WRONG! Network Communications Inc. who owns The Real Estate Book, has terminated or layed off hundreds of employees during this Real Estate downturn, while telling their advertisers to "stay the Course" and not cut back. Wow, what Hypocrisy! They even eliminated their National Online Manager! The Real Estate Book has been run into the ground by poor leadership, and the company is now paying a heavy price. The advice not to advertise in The Real Estate book and go with credible Online companies that do not have any affiliations with print is sound, and readers should take that advice!

Oct 26, 2008 10:56 AM #13
Jeff Martinez

I have a win win proposal... I have been providing virtual tour services in the Sussex county NJ area for sometime now. In addition to providing the virtual tours, we have now expanded or services to provide Internet advertising where Realtors can list an unlimited amount of properties with up to 20 photo uploads that get automatically compiled into a slide show and has many more features such as (Realtors listings page, Map to property, add your photo and company logo, view statistics for each property, and much more.

Since this is a new site that will be launching in October of this year, we are offering this service to all Realtors at no charge for everyone who creates an account and posts listings by December of this year. Once you create the listing, they will remain active for one full year.

You get the free service and we get traffic to our site. We also ask that you link our website to your site (if you have one) or help spread the word about our website. By the way, we will also invest in advertising to get additional traffic to our site.

For more information on all the features and services we offer, create an account (it's free) and I will e-mail you our brochure.

Sep 19, 2009 07:33 AM #14
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Lisa Balmes

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