Is "FREE" a good thing?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Vision Real Estate

A potential customer responded to one of our websites the other day and raised an interesting point when he said. 

"If it's "FREE" I do not have much interest!"

So of course I asked why?  "I believe anything worth having is not FREE".

Hmmm... I quickly thought about all the "FREE" or "DISCOUNTED" services I have offered over the years and than I quickly tried to analyze if any of my "FREE" or "DISCOUNTED" offers had resuted in ANY actual BUSINESS!

As I completed the call with the customer, whom never became a client, I began to understand.  Nothing worth having is "FREE".

So fittingly on Mother's Day I remember something my mom used to always say when I was a child and even a young adult.

Son... "You get what you pay for". 

So on this very special day for Mother's across the planet and especially my Mom.  Thank you for all the things you taught us... or at least tried, even if it may take almost 40 years or a life time to for us to understand!

Mom... I LOVE YOU!        

Comments (36)

Harrison Painter
GoGladiator Media - Carmel, IN
New Media Consultant

Powerful words brings people in the door, then it is our job to show our value from there.

If marketing has taught me anything, it is that our perception of how marketing works, and what people are thinking, is usually wrong. 

Many Realtors often give up on a good marketing idea because it did not pay off quickly enough. There are no short cuts, and marketing is a long term investment in time, creativity, and money.

Have a Profitable Day Everyone!

- Harrison Painter

May 10, 2009 01:28 PM
Melissa Zavala
Broadpoint Properties - Escondido, CA
Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County

Russel's response to your blog post is pretty interesting. It's funny how people's perceptions of very little things can impact your business, huh?

May 10, 2009 01:41 PM
Jaret Ghent
Vision Real Estate - Roseville, CA
Expert Real Estate Advice

These are all great points and of course we love and use FREE stuff ie: Google Apps, Google Chrome etc.  I believe Kathi is right about the FREE for all, and that agents are always having to explain and/or establish value with their customers and clients.  

Over my 15 years in real estate I have tinkered with all sorts of FREE offers, which I'm sure we all have.

But do FREE things establish your worth as an agent.  YES!!!

As it pertains to real estate we have to be careful of FREE services we offer... at least I believe and here is why!

You will have a more successful business if your clients refer you do to your quality service and market knowledge.  Rather than hiring you because of a FREE offer, that immediately provides the customer and potential client with an impression that your services are less valuable or FREE!

As professionals we are always arguing our worth.  In fact, it is probably the largest debated topic in our industry.

WORTH:  "Most customers and clients think we are over paid!  And even other licensed professionls openly advertise this to get business. 

WHEN agents are confronted with the statement "We are over paid" or "We should discount our services" 

WE typically respond... "YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR"

The question is and has been for years... What are we worth?  It may not be 6% but it sure as hell isn't "FREE"!

If you want to be successful and continue to get paid well, many have said to well!  STOP GIVING YOUR SERVICES AWAY!



Jaret, the other half

May 10, 2009 01:43 PM
Jaret Ghent
Vision Real Estate - Roseville, CA
Expert Real Estate Advice



I'm with you... Others are always wondering how we do so well and yet charge so much!

In this market we should be charging our sellers a 4% commission!




I hear you... and they probably never even said thanks!




Interesting marketing technique, its been around for years.  Get them to talk to ya... and sell them, even if its something else or maybe they did not even come to buy!  Hats off to ya.




I agree... I especially like the three word story, and it sounds GREAT!


Oh by the way my advise is the only thing that will always remain "FREE"!





May 10, 2009 01:57 PM
Aaron Poling
Long & Foster - Martinsburg, WV
Working to get YOU the BEST Deal!

I have gotten some great things for free, especially advice. You really do get what you pay for though.

May 10, 2009 03:06 PM
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Nothing is free...  TANSTAAFL.  It might not be money, it might be time. 

May 10, 2009 03:17 PM
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

Hi Jaret & Kristi -- Well said -- or Mom well said! Very true. Most people can sniff out false advertisements a mile away.

May 10, 2009 03:34 PM
Mark MacKenzie
Phoenix, AZ

Fernando made this best comment in this blog:

"I will give you a free advice . . .from my years of marketing. 

The word FREE is the  strongest word used  to attract people. . nothing beats FREE

The key word is to attract. .then is up to you to give value to what you are offering for FREE"

I agree with this 100%.

May 10, 2009 03:54 PM
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

 ["If it's "FREE" I do not have much interest!"]

On so many occasions, 'Free' costs. That's why some won't go for free. :)


May 10, 2009 04:35 PM
Roland Woodworth
eXp Realty - Clarksville, TN
eXp Realty

Everyone loves FREE... Now what you get for FREE may not be worth much..

May 10, 2009 06:14 PM
Yvette Gardner
Keller Williams Realty, Spartanburg, SC - Spartanburg, SC

You do get what you pay for but some things in life are FREE.  Still, great advice from your Mom and a very fitting post for Mother's Day.  Thanks.

May 11, 2009 12:40 AM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

There are FREE things in life, but perception of those reading our ads is very important.  I used to say I did a FREE CMA, now I say "no obligation" CMA and that seems to work much better (for me)

May 11, 2009 12:51 AM
Sasha Miletic - Windsor Real Estate
RE/MAX Preferred Realty Ltd. - Windsor, ON

Hi Jaret & Kristi, Good post. Thanks for sharing.

Best - Sash

May 11, 2009 01:01 AM
Mary Strang
Viroqua, WI

IMO If it is Free for the taking, most likely it is not worth anything or there is a hook somewhere.

May 11, 2009 01:17 AM
Paul McFadden
Responsive Pest Control - Seattle, WA
Pest Control, Seattle, WA.

Thanks for the post! If we give anything free it should be our time for others we love, honor and respect. It's as simple as that.

May 11, 2009 01:55 AM
Herb Hamilton
RE/MAX Preferred Inc. Realtors - Portland, OR
Real Estate Broker ,CDPE, Downtown Portland

Internet marketers have known this for some time. You probably stumbled across there stategy and didn't even notice it!

The Ploy works like this. An advertisement peaks your curiosity offering a free program. The build up sounds almost to good to be true.

You click on the download button and low and behold you are presented with a buying option. Now most of us know that if you keep on clicking then sooner or later you will get to the free download.

And for those who feel that free things are not as good as the paid version, they will make the purchase.

May 11, 2009 01:59 AM
Lisa Udy
Platinum Real Estate Group - Logan, UT
Logan Utah Realtor

Hi Jaret!

If it's worth the money, I will poney up the dough. I don't like free either, I believe nothing in this world is free, and if you want something, you get what you pay for. 


May 11, 2009 04:16 AM
Jenny Kotulak
RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage - Oakville, ON
Broker - Oakville Ontario Real Estate

What great comments by all.  I drove past a bill board the other day in a neighbouring community and there was a picture of an agent with the words - Free Market Evaluation -

Something I'm sure everyone of us offers.  Some say free, some say complimentary but we all mean the same thing.

I have gotten away from advertising this "boldly" in ads or my website.  After seeing the billboard I am wondering if this is something I should display more prominently.

Are sellers searching websites and ads for this info or are they all astute enough now to know that all agents provide this service for free.

Do you get much response to this offering?


Oh boy, I think I've just had an idea for a blog post lol.  Thanks Jaret & Kristi.  I will be sure to thank you in my post.

Have a great week and congratulations on your feature.

May 11, 2009 05:10 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

I offer a "free" one-hour consultation to customers . . . and that one hour is the best "free" consult they're probably ever going to receive from a real estate agent.

At one point, I was thinking of charging a fee for my time, because it really is a good overview of all things a buyer will expect.

I like the adage "the best things in life are free" and found that to have truth.

I'd rather have FREE then have someone's 2 Cents!


May 11, 2009 06:59 AM
Vanna Siackhasone
Real Estate Brokers of Alaska 907-720-4663 - Anchorage, AK
Anchorage Real Estate 907-720-4663

so True.

May 11, 2009 07:34 AM