New Report. What (really) Sold Houses in 2008-2009.

Services for Real Estate Pros with Virtual Pictures Corp. (VPiX)

Every once in a while, you pick up a report published by the National Association of REALTORS and then you read another report published by Borrell and Associates, Jupiter or Yankee Communications. They are national experts and you pay big bucks to get their reports. But you have to wonder who's right and who's wrong with respect to getting an insiders edge on just where the Future of Real Estate is headed.

Trusting your entire business to just one source, whether it be NAR, Jupiter or the smart agent in town who still works for Amazing Realty isn't a good idea if you want a well rounded education on this topic. 

Did you know that economists are WRONG 90% of the time -- yet they still manage to pull down a six digit salary. Amazing, isn't it? But it's true. 

Nevertheless, it's never too early to starting to think how you are going to retool your business in 2010. Maybe it's a good idea to go independent. Why not? You already know how to SELL and market real estate. Why continue to flog yourself by paying the national franchise boys 7% of your income so they make their boat payments? If you know how to sell real estate, what's the point in staying part of the real estate franchise? 

They don't give you a virtual tour camera. They won't build you an SEO friendly website. They don't care where you rank on Google. They only care about you so long as you can make your 7% royalty payments to them every month. Which means, you have to get these services from other companies.

FACT: The Typical Coldwell Banker, ERA, C21 and many other franchises were working with five to ten different outside companies. The average monthly ad spend on outside marketing services (excluding RE Guide Ads, Newspaper and radio) ranged from $1,290 to $4,700 a month (depending on the size of the brokerage) 

In August 2009, we're publishing a provocative new report that can help you make some tough decisions with cold, hard facts straight from the REALTOR foxholes who make battlefield decisions every day. 

In March, 2008, 10,000 surveys were sent out to brokers and REALTORS all over the United States. It asked brokers to track their sales (procuring causes) for 10 months. 

The questionnaire was very simple. Just 10 questions. But they are quite revealing when you analyze the answers we received. Some of the respondents were 60 or older. Some were as young as 24. 

We're publishing the full report in August, but a sneak peek preview of what brokers and REALTORS reported is below: 


1.) How many homes did you sell as a direct result from the home buyer first finding about the listing on

6,417 brokers reported that only 4.2% of their homes sold as a direct result of them being found on


This is very interesting, because would have you believe that biggie sizing your listings to Showcase listings, and paying up to $2,000 or more is the great way to help you sell your home inventory.  More than 60% of those surveyed said is a big loser for them and they will not be spending any $$$ on Showcase listings in 2010. 


2.) How did the next home buyer find out about your brokerage?

7,016 agents and brokers said: Google.


Not Not Yahoo. Not MSN.  A few blogging sites were mentioned such as ActiveRain. But Google was reported as the largest source of leads for more than 70% of those who returned the survey. This included leads from both Google Pay Per Click (PPC) and the sites naturally found on Google through an organic, natural search results. 



3.) Of the last ten transactions, what did your buyers report was the single reason why they contacted you about the home they were interested in seeing first?

a.) Word of Mouth.  (783)  b.) Real Estate Guide ad (907)   c.) IDX MLS link (1,532)     d.) 360 virtual tour   (5,019)**


In 2004, PEW Internet Research reported that Americans watch 5 million virtual tours a day. That number today is conservatively up to 6.2 million. Out of 5,019 respondents, 22% of them reported that the additional use of VIDEO, (YouTube) or other hosting sources for video were the sole reason why the next time home buyer contacted the agent or broker citing the reason for the procuring cause for the sale. 

64% of respondents that already use a virtual tour service such as Real Tour Vision, Obeo ( or CirclePix, reported they will STOP using the service in 2010 and start taking their own 360 tours.  18% reported they will be adding video clips to their listings in 2010.  



4.) To help improve your leads in 2010, what is the most important marketing action you plan to take?

a.) build new website  (4,033)     b.)   Get first page ranking on Google (3,271)   c.) Buy lead management system (1,079)     d.) Go independent  (874)



This was a multi-part, multi-answer question, but asked the broker/REALTOR what current website company they had. More than 71% of them reported they will be changing from their current provider citing the website failed to perform, or that the firm simply over promised results. These included; Advanced Access, Point2Agent, eProspecting,, A la Mode, Number #1 Expert, Re-Data LLC and Real Estate Webmasters. 


If anyone wants the link to the report when it becomes published, please post your request HERE, or email me at


- Bart


Posted by

Bart Wilson | CIO
Virtual Pictures Corp (VPiX®)  
iPhone: (719) 645-9940  |  Skype:  vpix360 


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Norma Brandsberg
Marks Realty Co. Inc., Lynchburg, VA, 540-586-9496 - Forest, VA

Interesting stats. I am not surprised. With the small video cameras out there there is no reason not to video your listings.

Jul 26, 2009 08:49 AM #1
Bartley Wilson
Virtual Pictures Corp. (VPiX) - Monument, CO
VR Software and 360° Solutions

Thanks Norma.  The big shocker for many people is going to be 4% of all listings being sold was an eye opener for me.  I never once spent any money on Showcase listings and with $2,000 a year for that, the agent should be taking that $$$ and investing that into their website and SEO or PPC marketing. 

- Bart


Jul 26, 2009 09:19 AM #2
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Bart,  Very interesting data - some of it not so surprising !  Count me in on the report.

Jul 26, 2009 09:26 AM #3
Ashley Sharum
972.978.3109 - Dallas, TX
Ebby Halliday Realtors

Same here, I'd love to have the link when it's published. Question #2 was pretty surprising (the percentage).

Jul 26, 2009 11:40 AM #4
Tim Rogers
Coaches Corner Radio...The Real Estate Guy - State College, PA


Great stuff--please send me the link.  I have argued the point with others for years simply on anecdotal evidence.  Now something to back it up.



Jul 26, 2009 12:45 PM #5
Nicholas Bush
Keller Williams Realty - Knoxville, TN


  Love to see your posts, refreshing to have such honesty around here.  The truth on how to get ahead in this career with no political interests attached.  I would love to see the full report when it is available.  Anything that I can do right now to help me get started the right way.  I still havn't figured how to lure those first few clients in once I get started.  Thanks for the post, looking forward to the next one.

Nicholas S. Bush

Jul 30, 2009 01:27 AM #6
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VR Software and 360° Solutions
IDX Websites + Virtual Tour Camera Kits
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