Archive for March, 2009

Newspaper Real Estate Advertising Income is Down

I was just reading the Trulia Blog today and this great post by Pete Flint the CEO at Truila, regarding the decline of income for US Newspapers in the area of Real Estate Classifieds.  There’s no surprise there, the real surprise is actually how significant the decline is in, a short period of time.  Here is Pete’s graphic:


He goes on to bullet the following:

  • Total newspaper advertising revenue fell 16.6 percent in 2008 over the previous year to 37.8 billion dollars.
  • Print advertising revenue fell 17.7 percent to 34.7 billion dollars while online advertising revenue dropped 1.8 percent to 3.1 billion dollars.
  • Classified advertising revenue continued to plunge falling 29.7 percent to 9.97 billion dollars in 2008.
  • Real estate classified spend fell 38% to 2.5 billion dollars.

Interestingly enough, as I travel around teaching about online marketing, I still hear agents over and over again proclaiming that they HAVE to put the listing in the newspaper to make the Seller happy.  Nope… you really don’t.

consumerfoundhome The 2008 NAR Profile of Buyers and Sellers gives us the information found on the left.  As you can see home buyers found their home by a variety of venues, but they reportedly only did so by print media less than 1% of the time.

Yet, agents spend a majority of their income on print media.

You can download this incredible useful book from for FREE, as part of the Right Tools, Right Now Campaign.

Click HERE, if you’re a Realtor® and would like to download the 2008 NAR Profile of Buyers and Sellers. Another great report is the California Association of Realtors® Internet versus Traditional Buyer Report.  However, you do have to pay $30 for that report.

So, let me ask you this… When you’re meeting with your Seller and pitching your marketing plan, why wouldn’t you acknowledge that most MLS put your listing in  Go a step further and let them know that you’ll also put it on your webpage, your company’s webpage and Trulia, Zillow, Backpage, MyOwnerMLS, DotHomes, Enormo, Frontdoor, Google, Hotpads, local, lycos, Odle, Vast, Cragslist, Facebook, Twitter and more!  There are lots of tools out there, but Postlets is my favorite.  It’s very easy and one source and FREE!!!

Take some time, do some reading and find an effective market plan, that you can support with facts to your clients.

Here’s a video on how to use postlets:

Blog Brawl voting, circa 2009

It’s a bitter better-Realtor-blogger Twitter battle Brawl!

Once upon a time, something like the Blog Brawl would involve contestants e-mailing their friends to ask for a vote.

Today, it’s a Twitter battle.

I saw the votes pouring in and thought, "That’s too darned fast. Something’s up." In our last Brawl (Virginia only), we had an issue with someone using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to, well, cheat — to pay for votes by the hundreds.

Was it happening again? Suspicions were raised. IP addresses were consulted. Statistical tools were employed.

Nope, looks Kosher. Why, then, the tremendous number of votes coming in? Thank Ines, she of She’s asked for her Twits to vote, and they have been, judging by this screenshot on her site:


Will Jim at Foster City Blog rise to the challenge? Are his Twits at their keyboards? We’ll know on Friday, won’t we?

Blog Brawl. The Finals.

This is it. The end. The finals. The last chance. End of the line. The big one.

It’s last year’s Blog Brawl winner, vs. the sizzle of

Both will score free registration to Inman’s Real Estate Connect San Francisco 2009 including Bloggers Connect. But only the big winner also gets $1,000 spending money travel allowance.

(Note to the winner, whichever you are: You’re expected to buy at least one round of drinks.)

Voting opens at 1:30 EDT today, and it ends at 9:00 a.m. EDT Friday. We’ll announce the big winner at noon Friday, when we’re sure our West Coast friends are awake.

Go forth and vote. And good luck to everyone!


Blog Brawl Round 4 Winners!


Voting in the finals begins at 1:30 p.m. EDT!

Blog Brawl Round 4… over!

Results coming soon….

Are BPOs hurting home values?

Kenneth Harney’s column in the Washington Post today posits that Broker Price Opinions may be helping perpetuate a downward spiral in home values:

Are low-balled value estimates on short sales and bank-owned foreclosures artificially depressing property values in neighborhoods across the country?

Growing numbers of appraisers and consumer groups think the answer is yes ¿ and are demanding that Congress or state regulators crack down. Their complaints focus on what are called “broker price opinions,” or BPOs, which substitute for appraisals.

Unlike standard property valuations performed by licensed appraisers, which can cost hundreds of dollars, BPOs often cost $50 and are performed by real estate agents who may have minimal or no appraisal training and are subject to no regulatory oversight. Real estate agents defend BPOs, arguing that their extensive knowledge of local market trends equips them to render accurate estimates.

BPOs have become a booming business as foreclosures and short sales have risen sharply. When banks that own foreclosed houses need to put values on them for resale, increasingly they order BPOs that can be delivered quickly at rock-bottom fees.

Also this:

One problem: Selling BPOs to value houses violates the law in 23 states, according to appraisal industry leaders. In other states, BPOs may not be prohibited, but critics say they may be far off the mark in accuracy, typically coming in below appraised values. That’s partly because agents who perform the BPOs may set the value extra low to ensure quicker sales.

And this:

Why would agents low-ball their BPO valuations? Crabtree argues that there are inherent conflicts of interest: “They want to sell the property fast” to make bank asset managers “look like heroes” to their bosses. They may also want additional BPO and property listing assignments from those same bank managers, yielding them commission dollars. Many of the properties are snapped up by investors at the depressed prices driven by BPO valuations. Those sales then become “comparables” for appraisers, “which simply intensifies the downward spiral,” Crabtree said.

What say ye? Are you seeing this trend (and effect) in your market?

According to NAR: The latest from Washington, DC

NAR’s March 23 and March 30 (I know, it’s too early for March 30, but whatever) Washington Reports are chock full of significant real estate information. Here’s a summary:

National Blog Brawl — Final Four Voting

This is it. The end is near. We’re down to the Final, Fantastic, Gang of Four.

They’re all winners. And I don’t mean that in an elementary-school, save-their-fragile-egos way — every one of these bloggers will take home a prize.

Did you forget? :)

The Big Winner: Free registration to Inman’s Real Estate Connect San Francisco 2009 including Bloggers Connect plus $1000 spending money travel allowance. (Amazing!)

Second place: Free registration to Real Estate Connect and Bloggers Connect. (Cool!)

Third and fourth places: Flip Mino HD pocket camcorders. (Slick!)

The voting form will appear below at noon today (EDT), March 27 and will stay up for your voting pleasure until 9:00 AM (EDT) Tuesday, March 31.

The usual stuff: One vote per IP address, so feel free to hit your local Starbucks and get a second ballot in. Beg for votes, write your mom, call your clients — just don’t cheat. (“Cheat” = Do something you’d be embarrassed about if we told all your competitors.)

So… are you ready?

* * *

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If you’re seeing this sentence, it’s either too early or too late for the poll to show!”; }

Blog Brawl Round 3 Winners!

(Best I could do in the 20 minutes I gave myself. Enjoy — but don’t blink. You might miss it.)


Round 4 voting begins at noon EDT!

Blog Brawl Round 3 — Over

All the votes are in, and now the counting begins. Who will be revealed as one of the Final Five Four?

Stay tuned for, oh, another few minutes.