Is Realtor.com's pricing getting out of hand?

By
Real Estate Agent with Leo Lawrence Real Estate

Earlier today, I got an email stating that my 'Premium' Realtor.com subscription was about to expire. I called to renew and much to my surprise, was told that it would cost over twice as much as last year, although I only have a few more listings this year than last. Apparently, I got pushed into a higher 'bracket'.

 I'm ok with that, but does it seem unreasonable that the next bracket up should cost over 100% more? It feels a little like a bait and switch.

 I decided NOT to renew. There are so many other sites where you can post for free, and my premium listings haven't brought me any buyers in the years I have been subscribing. Since the basic listing is free, I don't see the point in spending my marketing dollars this way.

I'm curious what others think of this. Is Realtor.com worth it? My personal feeling is that a site that depends on Realtors and our industry should treat us a little better....

?

 

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Rainer
9,074
Jennifer Wilton
Leo Lawrence Real Estate - Saint Louis, MO

Diane, I'm curious, WHY is it critical to have multiple photos?

My personal experience is that in the last year I have received two emails regarding a listing on Realtor.com, neither of which panned out to anything. I always ask where people coming to open houses saw it, and they never say Realtor.com. I've even asked interested buyers if they saw my listing on Realtor. com, and have never gotten a yes.

I guess it really depends on what market you're in. I could see in a really busy market that you might need it to compete to get sellers. Here in St. Louis, it doesn't seem to make much difference in terms of impressing sellers, advertising their listings, or getting buyers.

The more I think about it, the more discouraged I am that the NAR cooperates with Realtor.com, which rides our coattails, while charging us for a service that others (Zillow, for example) provide for free. I am absolutely sure I get a much better return on my own website.

Thanks to everyone for helping me decide! The responses have been thought-provoking and insightful.

 

Jul 24, 2007 02:42 AM #62
Rainer
80,164
Russ Perlowski
People's Choice Realty Services LLC - Tampa, FL
Tampa Real Estate
It's all about profits for the corporation...oh I mean...the association.  Gee, I get confused over the difference!!!  :)
Jul 24, 2007 12:38 PM #63
Rainmaker
1,049,106
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate
Realtor.com is expensive but I must say that at least in my area (Massachusetts) it does bring quite a few buyer clients to my properties. If you do a good job enhancing your properties with extra photos and some well written text, it will certainly help. There is no doubt that realtor.com has a massive reach.
Jul 24, 2007 01:43 PM #64
Anonymous
Claudia Nesbit
I have enhanced my listings on R.com for the last 3 or 4 years and never even gotten a call.  And frankly, I think I did a good job.  Even when my listings showed several viewings, I never got a call.  I have no idea why I renewed this year.  And for another thing, the zips that I am interested in using for my featured listings are never available or cost a fortune.  It looks good to show a seller a graph with their home showings on it but if it doesn't bring anything, forget it.  Frankly, in our market, if the price isn't right, forget about it.
Jul 24, 2007 04:07 PM #65
Anonymous
Claudia Nesibt
Oh, some of you mentioned getting calls from Craig's list, I must be doing everything terribly wrong.  Craig's list hasn't helped me either!
Jul 24, 2007 04:09 PM #66
Ambassador
2,681,571
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services
I agree with Jennifer here, none of our buyers find their houses on Realtor.com. In fact , they all complain about how hard it is to look for what they want on Realtor.com. The polls we have taken say that they may start there but get frustrated and move to a simpler way, they get into the regions mls via a website of a different kind, lots do it with AOL and Yahoo.Our website has our MLS on it for the entire State and people love it because it is easy so with SEO a simpler version can be found by your potential buyers.  Katerina
Jul 25, 2007 01:14 AM #67
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1,541,659
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hello Jennifer, You obviously raised a question that got a lot of people expressing their disappointments with REALTOR.com and a lot of opinion was generated. I found the comments to your post very telling. I worked for a lot of years volunteering at the local,state and national level and learning that most in the industry now have moderate to strong resentments with their experience. At a time when the whole of organized real estate is under attack, not based on the model of its aspirations but in the daily practice and the current business models.

The directors in place have no real way venue in place to reach out to the individual members and this aspect alone may be its undoing. For many years now, it has been about the money. The 70+ billion a year generated in earning just in the residential section alone. With that kind of money, it has never been difficult to understand why new business models are in place and the DOJ feels that the information once believed to be the unique domain of the listing brokerage should be within the public domain. The question has not been decided but it is expected by many that when it is, the bond will be broken and a multitude of cottage industries will appear that could in effect un organize organized real estate.

A number of years ago, NAR lobbied strongly for a change in the tax code to afford the $250/$500K exemption for capital gain. It grew the home ownership industry by such proportions making it possible for the gigantic and dynamic increase in home ownership and earned equities. That was then but what have have you done for me lately. Who would or could replace those kinds of efforts?

Jul 25, 2007 04:36 AM #68
Rainer
3,740
Mike Dammann
506 Properties Costa Rica, S.A. - La Jolla, CA
Craigslist works great for me, but then again there is no MLS in that specific area which I service (Costa Rica).
Jul 25, 2007 06:47 AM #69
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David M. Childress
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Akron, OH
I would love to be your RealtorĀ® in Akron Ohio!
I am really glad I came across this blog today. I have been fuming privately about realtor.com for 4 months. I paid about $345 the first year for enhanced listings, $600 the second year and this year they wanted $ 2400 BUCKS!!! I reasoned with them and they were very nice, but stopped negotiating at $ 1800. Now, I probaly wold have paid, but I had a terrible year and could not afford it! I had 20 listings and no buyers. They should scale it towards sales and not listings. The more successful I am at listings (no money) the more my fee goes up. And I have never had a sale with my realtor.com listings. Calls, but no money. So my sellers like it, even though I advertise on about 6 other websites, so what....my sellers are not paying me yet in this lousy market in Ohio. So, I am done with them for now and thank god I found Active Rain! Regards, DavidC
Jul 25, 2007 11:54 AM #70
Anonymous
Jonathan Valdez
What exactly is Realtor.com's pricing schedule, anyway? It seems like they say everyone is "just over the limit" into the next tier, but I wouldn't be surprised if they're telling everyone a different rate. Has anyone compared their charges?
Jul 25, 2007 03:39 PM #71
Anonymous
Sandi Bauman
I haven't read all the comments... but I can't be the only one who has received Realtor referrals off of Realtor.com?  My first year resulted in 3 referrals that I took all the way to the close. 
Jul 26, 2007 11:01 AM #72
Rainer
26,820
Donna Lueder
Integrity Group Inc. - Boise, ID
Meridian Idaho Real Estate
As primarily a listing agent... I NEED IT... My clients demand it, and it just may give your the edge you need over the other Realtor competing for the listing. You might want to look into how they are looking at the amount of listings. When you re-list a property that has been expired it counts as a whole new listing. If you have one that falls within two categories on your MLS (like town-home, and investment property) and you have them listed in both places it counts as two seperate listings. I guess the easiest way to explain it is they don't count listings by address. Have them go  through and see how many duplicates you may have and that might get you back down to the previous bracket.
Jul 26, 2007 12:09 PM #73
Rainer
26,820
Donna Lueder
Integrity Group Inc. - Boise, ID
Meridian Idaho Real Estate

P.S. Remember your target audience!!! If you are representing the seller it brings huge value to them.

Buyers looking for properties... It is still one of the number one searches they go to! I have had several leads from this site. It only takes one transaction to close to pay for itself for the whole year. Not a bad deal.

Jul 26, 2007 12:13 PM #74
Rainer
-7,292
Sally Smith Smith
Lost AR member - Amboy, MN
I decided NOT to renew because I had the same experience as you.  When my renewal came up they upped the cost tremendously and during the time I was with them I never had a customer or client sign on with me. 
Jul 30, 2007 01:45 AM #75
Rainer
10,393
Gayle Rogers
Solid Source Realty - Canton, GA
ABR

I first signed up with realtor.com during my second year into real estate. I enjoyed it because it wasn't that expensive. Once the next year rolled around my cost doubled too so I let it go.  I would tell other people that it wasn't worth it and I still do go business without it.

Lately though I have been going on listing presentations with higher end homes and they ask me if I feature their home so I of course called Realtor.com to check out pricing. It is outrageous but they now offer monthly payments which helps.

Yes, to me it is worth it because of the statistics of how many people really search online through them. I do get leads and requests quite frequently from consumers.

Sep 24, 2007 04:51 AM #76
Ambassador
296,725
David M. Childress
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Akron, OH
I would love to be your RealtorĀ® in Akron Ohio!
I was really happy with realtor.com for a couple of years, but the more successful I became, the more money they wanted....I went from $600 a year to $2500!! I could not justify this with the return I was getting. Also, when I show sellers all the websites I market their home on (free to me) they are just as happy. RealBird, Craigslist, Trulia, etc....David
Sep 24, 2007 12:28 PM #77
Anonymous
Fernando

Realtor.com showcase listings are a trap. We need to stand up and write letters to Realtor.com, letting them know that thier pricing policy is unfair. I rather pay a per listing fee for the listings i wish to showcase , than to be subject to this bracket sytem that is just wrong...

 

 

Oct 04, 2007 06:39 PM #78
Rainer
9,074
Jennifer Wilton
Leo Lawrence Real Estate - Saint Louis, MO

Thanks to everyone for all the great responses!

Here's my follow up... it's been quite a while now- close to a year, that I haven't had Realtor.com. I have found that if I talk up what I DO provide to sellers in terms of advertising, I don't get questions about Realtor.com. My company has an in-depth marketing plan and I provide this to sellers upfront. Only one has asked me about Realtor.com, and once I explained why I don't use it, they were fine with it. Their listing will still appear there (thru our local MLS), so they were happy. They said they would rather pay my lower listing commission than dues to Realtor.com! I find that most sellers are reasonable if you take the time to explain things to them. I haven't had anyone INSIST that I use it, nor would I give in to that kind of pressure. I don't advertise in newspaper classifieds either, because after years of doing it there was no result. I tell sellers they are welcome to do it themselves if they want to, but PRICE IS KING, and that's what makes the big difference anyway- not WHERE you advertise.

I'd love to hear from some others who have said 'No Thanks' to Realtor.com's price gauging, positive or negative. I think it's important for everyone to make an  informed decision, and I love having ActiveRain to rely on for good info from others who have walked the same mile as me!

 

Apr 07, 2008 04:18 AM #79
Rainmaker
307,523
Ryan Hukill - Edmond
ShowMeOKC Real Estate Pros of KW Elite - Edmond, OK
Realtor, Team Lead
Jennifer, I agree with you 110%!  I've rarely had anyone asked specifically about R.com, and when they do and I explain all the other places I expose their home, and that they'll still be on R.com, they're completely happy with it.  It's all about educating and communicating with our clients and showing them proof that what we DO do gets the results they want.  Thanks for the followup info.
Apr 07, 2008 06:27 AM #80
Ambassador
296,725
David M. Childress
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Akron, OH
I would love to be your RealtorĀ® in Akron Ohio!

I have not been a member of Realtor.com for over a year and I have not missed it at all. My annual fee doubled also and I could not afford it if I wanted too. With all the free ways to post our listings on line why would I pay that much money with no proof of increased business. (I was on enhanced for two years with no sales calls from that site)

With RealBird alone, my listings are automatically transmitted to over a dozen highly trafficked websites for free!!!! I think Realtor.com has been blown away and left in the dust. My clients do not even ask me about it.

Apr 07, 2008 08:31 AM #81
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