This is an older post but it stands true today in 2022.

It's Thursday and I usually try to find an old post to bring back to life, but I'm writing a new post based on an old post I stumbled across that I wrote in February 2006.  It was titled More Home Buyers Search the Internet First.  I believe when I first wrote it the stats were that around 82% of real estate buyers search the Internet first.  Then I updated it to 90%.  If you do an Internet search you'll see those old stats and a slew of different figures all the way up to 99%.  I feel it's somewhere between 90%-99%.

It's not news that print advertising has died out for real estate

woman searching for scottsdale real estate in a newspaperI used to advertise in the Southtown Economist, Sunday edition.  Sometimes they'd offer a deal for the entire weekend and once in a while, they'd have open house specials.  The Internet hurt newspapers big time.  The Southtown Economist joined forces with The Star Newspaper (not the same as Star Magazine) and changed their name to The Southtown-Star.

They are no longer in print. That's a shame as it was a great local paper that I used to have a delivery subscription to.  Jimmy still reads the small local newspapers.  I don't look at them.  I'm Internet all the way!

I don't work with property rentals so I would send renters to The Southtown-Star because most local landlords would advertise in the Sunday edition.  I can't do that any longer.  We do have some rental listings in the MLS, and we're getting more than we used to get in the past, but we don't have every rental listing that's out there as landlords have to pay us to list with us, so in the past they used the local papers. Now there are online rental websites.

We used to advertise in the little homes magazines. There were a few different ones that were free to the public. I'm not sure if those are still published, but read below to see why we wouldn't bother even if they were.

Why do some real estate agents still advertise in newspapers?

Some local newspapers still have small real estate sections and some agents have ads in them.  Why, if so few buyers use print advertising to find homes?  It's called "branding".  These agents/brokerages are usually located in the specific towns the newspapers are published in.  It's a way to get their name out to the public in the hopes that when someone in one of those towns needs to buy or sell a home, they'll remember the name of a particular agent from their advertising in those small newspapers.  Even if they don't remember the name outright, they'll find it the next time they get their local paper.

However, branding is different from marketing a property.  Branding is about the agent and/or brokerage - to get name recognition.  Marketing is about selling a particular property.  Why would anyone want to search for homes looking at small black and white photos of only the exterior of a home and read a very short blurb that doesn't provide much information?  Usually, the price isn't listed so you have to call the agent to get it.

woman searching for scottsdale real estate on a laptop

On the other hand, searching for homes on the Internet tells you pretty much everything you need to know and lets you build a list of homes you would actually consider.  This website provides more details than a lot of local sites.  You'll get real estate taxes, monthly home owner's association fees, and more. You'll also be able to view all photos provided by the different listing agents plus any virtual tours associated with those listings.  You just can't find this kind of information in a newspaper.

Even in their heyday, newspapers rarely sold the homes people called on

rolled up newspaper to search for scottsdale real estate for saleNewspapers are very similar to open houses in their ability to actually sell the home that was advertised.  I've spent thousands on newspaper advertising, especially since I got licensed in 1983 and no one was using the Internet yet.  We had "floor time" at the brokerage I was with where we would field calls from newspaper advertising (because that was the only source of real estate listings at the time).  I don't think I ever sold a property that someone called about.

The trick was to get the caller to like you and feel comfortable working with you.  We tried to get them to allow us to print out a list of all available properties in their price range, areas, and with the amenities they wanted.  Then we either mailed them the list or set an appointment to meet us in the office.  So they might have called on one property advertised in the paper, but once we told them the price or number of bedrooms, they realized that property didn't fit their needs.  But if they liked us and weren't working with another agent, they allowed us to continue working with them and provide them with updated lists of available properties. 

The truth was, not all of our inventory was advertised to begin with.  Brokers usually selected specific properties to advertise in the newspapers.  My broker always picked one of our lowest-priced homes and of course, that would get us a lot of calls.  Most of the time those homes needed work and wouldn't appeal to many buyers.  So we'd tell them about the home and they would realize it wouldn't fit the bill.  Then we'd try to get them to let us send them a list of homes that would be more in tune with their needs.

It almost sounds like bait and switch, but the homes we advertised were available at the time of sending in the ad to whatever publication was used.  Since buyers were always interested in getting a deal, these kinds of ads made our phones ring.

What about real estate-specific magazines/publications?

I also spent thousands on these types of publications with very little in return.  I used to advertise in the local homes magazines more than in the local newspapers.  These were the free magazines you'd find at grocery stores, gas stations, 7-11's, etc.  I think they're still out there but once again, it's mostly name recognition/branding.  The bottom line is, people might pick up these free publications for fun.  If they're real buyers they will continue their search on the Internet because they want to see more than one photo and 3 small lines of print information.

You won't find all available listings in a newspaper

Since most agents and brokerages no longer advertise in newspapers, you'll only be seeing a select few listings out of the thousands available in our Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  Why bother?  For instance, on this site, you can easily search for Scottsdale real estate.  You can tweak your search with more advanced options such as price range, number of bedrooms and baths, etc.  You can also add more towns to the search.  Most buyers search in multiple towns.  You can't do this with a newspaper!

If you've found an agent you'd like to work with - and we hope it's The Judy Orr Team - then the best way to search is to have us create an Automated Search directly through our MLS.  You'll get your own little search results page/site and you can checkmark the properties you're interested in.  Then we can see those properties and it makes coordination and showing set-up easier for both of us.  You'll be able to keep track of the properties you'd actually like to see and can even write notes before or after viewing the places you've saved.  If you're interested just click here.  We'll set you up with a search to help you find the property that fits everything you need and want.  We can easily edit the search to add or remove areas or amenities.

Give Judy a call at 480-877-1549 if you're interested in setting up a home search or use the link above.

Posted by Judy Orr on
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