How Many Marketing Dollars Should You Spend on a Listing?

Real Estate Agent with Las Cruces Homes and Land

Mike Cooper brings up some EXCELLENT points when it comes to marketing a home. How much do we (or can we) invest monetarily is based on quite a few things.  As Mike states, yes, we want to sell your home for top dollar but, when it comes to realistic marketing, we need to take a look at a few things.

Original content by Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD 0225086119

Lower priced properties present a conundrum for real estate agents.  How much time and money do you invest in marketing a property that will bring you little profit?  Of course, we all want every property to sell for top dollar, and I'm sure we will all do our best to see that the property sells as quickly as possible, but this can be a challenge.

I had a client a year ago that expected me to spend a fair amount of money each month advertising her property.  She was looking at somewhere in the $200 range per month.  Depending on where I spent that money, it could have been a lot of the money, or very little.  The problem with this scenario is that the house was not a great house.  It had issues along with a seller who wanted to overprice it from the beginning.  It was not in a highly desirable location, and it was going to be tough to sell.

So, how much was too much?  Actually, in this case, $1 was too much.  There were too many conflicting issues with this house to make it profitable at $200 a month in advertising.  The total listing side commission on this property if it sold for full price would only bring about $4500 after everyone was paid.  So, if I spent $200 a month, and the house was difficult to sell, then at 22.5 months I would be at a break even place.  Can a house sit on the market for 22.5 months?  Absolutely.

I've had this situation with other properties, but here's how I determine what my level of marketing will be with an individual property:

  • Price - Is the property priced appropriately to warrant investing into paid advertising?
  • Location - Is the property in a desirable location that will attract a lot of buyer traffic?
  • Condition - Is the property in sell-able condition?  Are there issues?  Are there needed repairs?  Does the condition detract from the price?
  • Neighbors - Would the house sell for the price based on the neighbors?  Bad neighbors can drop the price of a house like a cider block.
  • Pricing plan - Do you have a plan to systematically drop the price over time if the house doesn't sell immediately
  • How much of my commission am I willing to sacrifice in marketing dollars based on the desirability of this house?  If you walk into a house and think, "Whew, I wouldn't live here," you might have just answered your question.  I've done that.  On the other hand, if I love the house, I will invest.  It rarely backfires.
  • Do I have an understanding with my client that adjustments might need to be made to get the house sold?  And, those adjustments don't include me throwing more money after a house this isn't going to sell based upon negatives in the list above. 
  • Do I have a "drop dead date" on pulling advertising?  If a property isn't moving, there is no reason to throw additional money at it.  Stop and figure out why it's still sitting. 
  • Will advertising even make a difference?  That is a very realistic question.  

You probably have your own list, but the reality is that if we don't have a plan to protect our commissions, sellers will expect us to spend it all on marketing their properties.  Sometimes that can leave you empty handed and mad.  Make a plan, and stick to it.


Give me a call for all your real estate needs, and let's make something amazing happen. 

Mike Cooper @ Cornerstone Business Group, Inc., 888-722-6029

Real Estate Sales and Property Management


(Disclaimer:  All grammatical mistakes, punctuation breakdowns and misspellings are purely for your amusement and entertainment.  Feel free to cackle.)

Comments (4)

Sussie Sutton
David Tracy Real Estate - Houston, TX
David Tracy Real Estate for Buyers & Sellers

Great point... I guess I had a list in my mind but nothing on paper...this is a great re-post. I will have to take a good look into what I have been doing mentally....

Sep 20, 2011 12:33 PM
Sharon Harris
Keller Williams Keystone Realty - Hanover, PA

Very nice. I know in my mind I had an idea what the property really deserved as far as advertising. But never wrote it out.

Sep 20, 2011 02:32 PM
Dave Halpern
Dave Halpern Real Estate Agent, Inc., Louisville, KY (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert

Price sells. A house that is priced right will sell faster than a poorly priced house with a $10,000+ marketing campaign.


Sep 20, 2011 03:05 PM
Emmary Simpson
Las Cruces Homes and Land - Las Cruces, NM
Serving Las Cruces, NM

Thanks Sussie, Sharon and Dave - that's why I wanted to repost this. We all have in our brain what we need to do but probably have NEVER written it down. It's just an 'automatic' thing - take a listing, get it into the system and start marketing.

And Dave - you are SO right. Nothing I do is going to sell a house priced too high. Pricing it right is the first thing on the list...everything else is secondary if even needed! :)

Sep 21, 2011 04:07 AM