Controlling The Reins of The Real Estate Marketing Budget

Real Estate Agent with Home Smart LifeStyles SA043219000

In a perfect world of Real Estate, $500 would go a long way towards generating a healthy supply of clients. In the real world, ActiveRain surveyed more than 2,000 real estate agents to see how their marketing and software budgets compared. Check the results in this enlightening Infographic, The Price is Right.

Cars are the largest expense of the budget, whether the agent is struggling, average, proficient, or a top producer and account for more than 39% of the annual budget. Marketing and technology pale in comparison. The average agent spends about $53 per month on technology software and about $89 per month on marketing. This is a drop in the bucket and perhaps we should revisit where our dollars are spent.

Currently, my largest single monthly expense includes the desk and office fees at ReMax of $600. Another $200 is for National and local advertising which is directed by corporate headquarters. Locally, I advertise with print and magazine(Visitor Guide) media for approximately $30 per month.

 The direct Marketing includes 2 websites, IDX(Diverse Solutions) included with the Zillow website plus Superlative hosted site, and several domain names not currently in use. My Rainmaker account with ActiveRain runs $49 per month. and the enhanced site are part of the ReMax office fee.

Fixed costs of doing busines include association fees, MLS fees, and annual dues at $100.00.Variable fees are for education and marketing assistance anywhere from $25.00 to $39.00.

 Technology expense for metro fax runs $14.95 a month. Not included are the costs for my laptop, Ipad, Iphone, printers, ink, paper, cameras, and stamps. Car expenses are minimal(thanks to my husband being in the car business). Monthly break down is as follows:

Office and Desk Fees...............................$ 600.00

National and Local Advertising.......... ........$ 200.00

Fountain Hills Times and Visitor Guide.........$ 30.00

Website hosting and IDX............................$ 49.00

Go Daddy Domain Names...........................$  20.00

ActiveRain Rainmaker Account.....................$ 49.00

Education and Coaching...............................$ 39.00

Marketing Assistant................................... $ 25.00

Realtor Dues Association & MLS...................$100.00

Metrofax...................................................$ 14.95

What the numbers mean:   Weak Marketing and Lead Capture Budget.   The preponderance of the budget is for fees, desk, and hardware with little remaining for marketing and leads. This is a huge wake up call for me.

THE DREAM BUDGET:  Revamp the Marketing with an SEO coach. Develop a new marketing plan, increase the budget by reducing the desk and/or office fees. It is nice to be #1 but at what price? My budget would include the Market Leader and Insider program at $99 per month. IDX feed with a word press website by developer $129 per month. Contact management with Happy Grasshopper approximately $29 per month and Brand Marketing with Home by Design Magazine $39 per month.

Educational enhancements include completion of CRS and IMSD designations. Cost approximately $60 per month. This leaves $150 remaining for the must haves such as my ActiveRain Rainmaker and outside blog, Metro Fax, and  Visitor Guide. My passion is cycling and support of the local racing team would be the icing on the cake.

"This post is an entry for the $500 Real Estate Marketing and Tech Challenge. Learn more about this ActiveRain contest at"

Posted by

Nancy Lamb, CDPE, CNE, CIAS, Green

Lori Webster, REALTOR

LovingAZ "Serving the Valley of the Sun Since 1991"


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Captain Wayne - Rowlett Real Estate School
Rowlett Real Estate School - Panama City, FL
Rowlett Real Estate School / Owner and Instructor

Nancy, you have some great marketing ideas.  Good luck with the contest!

Jul 05, 2012 11:07 PM #1
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

Nancy, You have to spend money to make money in this business. Nice Post.

Jul 05, 2012 11:27 PM #2
Nancy Lamb
Home Smart LifeStyles - Fountain Hills, AZ
& Loving AZ Team-Fountain Hills AZ
Captain Wayne. Thanks and now for the fine tuning. Debbie. Exactly, it is focusing on getting the most bang for that buck! Superlative and other sites were useful years ago, but, today's consumer is more savvy and is looking for immediate IDX capability. My goal is to spend in the right place now.
Jul 06, 2012 01:04 AM #3
Curtis Van Carter
Better Homes & Gardens Wine Country Group - Yountville, CA
Your Napa Valley Broker Extraordinaire


A great accounting and very important considerations for all us in the business and for those thinking about getting in. It is a business and until you understand your "NUT" and what you need to do to be successful in this business, you are groping in the dark. Hope you win the $500, cheers cvc

Jul 06, 2012 01:14 AM #4
Nancy Lamb
Home Smart LifeStyles - Fountain Hills, AZ
& Loving AZ Team-Fountain Hills AZ

CVC--Cracking that "nut" is an ongoing process. Some of the tools have worked for awhile, but, as the market changes, I want to be on that cuttting edge. Some of the new tecnhiques are faddish and so fade quickly; others are here to stay. I can remember when business cards, lunches, and direct mail was prime marketing. :)

Jul 06, 2012 11:19 AM #5
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Nancy, I forgot about this contest not sure if I have the time to write my post.  Good luck in the contest.

Jul 06, 2012 01:10 PM #6
Nancy Lamb
Home Smart LifeStyles - Fountain Hills, AZ
& Loving AZ Team-Fountain Hills AZ

Rebecca. Thanks. It was a fun and enlightening contest. Tammie won with an awesome and thorough post. Check the Active Rain Contest Group. This is still time for the hyper local blog post, ends tonight.

Jul 06, 2012 01:55 PM #7
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Nancy there is so much more I spend, you do not even want to add it up or you will get discouraged:))

Jul 08, 2012 12:09 PM #8
Captain Wayne - Rowlett Real Estate School
Rowlett Real Estate School - Panama City, FL
Rowlett Real Estate School / Owner and Instructor

Good Morning Nancy, You have some great ideas for marketing expenses.  Thank you for sharing them

Jul 08, 2012 10:32 PM #9
Tanja Cisliek
Future Home Realty - Seminole, FL

Nancy, thank you for pointing out how big the car expenses are, many agents (such as myself) kind of forget about those, because we might have a car anyway, even with a different job. But we might have a different one, a smaller one, and for sure drive less!!

Aug 06, 2012 07:56 AM #10
Toni Weidman
Sailwinds Realty - Trinity, FL
20+ Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL

Rebecca, I hope your post went well in the contest. It was one I was aware of. I try to enter one or two a year but sometimes when you're busy, it can't be done.

Sep 08, 2012 11:21 PM #11
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

If you want to be one of the top agents you have to spend money to make money. There are very few agents that truly understanding this.

Oct 15, 2012 09:19 PM #12
Nancy Lamb
Home Smart LifeStyles - Fountain Hills, AZ
& Loving AZ Team-Fountain Hills AZ
Thank you all for your comments and each day I learn something new on AR. I appreciate the feedback! Bill. I do agree you have to spend money to rise above the crowd, to paraphrase the ReMax slogan; however, the key is zeroing in on the most productive and effective use of our advertising dollars. It seems to be continually evolving. Your online usage is phenomenal and I find myself drawn to reallocating money to Internet marketing expenses. Thanks for your helpful Google plus tip.
Oct 16, 2012 09:07 AM #13
Scott Cowan
RE/MAX Professionals - Olympia, WA



I think it is a wise that every agent takes the time necessary to examine our business expenses. Yes it is true that we need to spend money to make money. It is also true that it is easy to go broke if we do not examine our spending.  Looks like your exercise was a success and that you have a great idea of where the money goes.

Oct 21, 2012 02:07 AM #14
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566
That is interesting. I would add TP Market Snapshot and Contact Management. Thanks for the iPad blog post support. I am getting more and more readers recently. The iPad must be becoming more Realtor accepted.
Nov 16, 2012 12:31 PM #15
Pam Miller
Realty Associates - Conroe, TX
Broker Associate - Water Crest on Lake Conroe

Nancy - Isn't it amazing how much money we have to spend to be productive Realtors!  Suggest.

Nov 23, 2012 07:09 AM #16
John G. Johnston
John G. Johnston & Associates, LLC - Westcliffe, CO
An Exclusive Buyer's Agent ~ Westcliffe, CO

Nancy  Lucky for me I live at the office so I don't have to commute to work.  Office opens at 7:30am until ... I'm still here!  Great post.

Jan 14, 2013 11:02 AM #17
Michelle Gibson
Hansen Real Estate Group Inc. - Wellington, FL

Nancy - I thought this information was great especially for those consider getting into real estate, so many people don't realize how many expenses we actually have.

Jan 30, 2013 12:13 AM #18
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives


You dissected your cost to do business and it's a real eye-opener. Most people don't know what they must incur when they begin this profession until after they get into the business. Staying in the business is the key to success, no matter what your income is, you have to work it to survive.

I have suggested this one. You did an excellent job for this contest and deserve to be featured. More importantly, you deserve success and the opportunity to retire and live a good life.


May 13, 2013 09:06 PM #19
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Nancy Lamb

& Loving AZ Team-Fountain Hills AZ
Questions About Relocating to Sunny Arizona?

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