Can you successfully find a great home by simply perusing real estate advertising in newspapers and magazines? Next to spending tons of time and money on gas while driving endlessly through neighbourhoods looking for lawn signs, the old-fashioned, traditional method of searching for a home by patiently scouring countless print publications is probably the most inefficient method for realty search.
In an active market, especially for hot listings, the best properties are often sold long before the listing agent even has a chance to insert an ad in the paper, or for that matter, get it uploaded to their corporate website.
During the lag time, after the ad is booked and before it appears (especially in most magazines), another buyer who was actively working with their own real estate agent, was informed promptly of this new listing and viewed it right away. Thus ...
The Early Bird Catches the Worm
Even if you're registered on REALTOR.CA® in Canada or REALTOR.COM® in the USA, you still might miss a hot new listing due to the lag time between the listing being signed and its upload to the system.
... during an initial consultation, will (hopefully) pepper you, their new buyer client, with a multitude of questions regarding wants and needs.
Back at the office, they'll enter specific search parameters into a sophisticated proprietary search engine which will keep them automatically posted every day - or hourly - on all new listings, sales and price reductions, and most importantly, as soon as the listings are uploaded.
Even if the agent was 'asleep at the switch', but programmed it correctly, you may have already received an emailed property listing with details, including the street address, interior and exterior photos and possibly a virtual tour and map on how to find it, directly into your personal email box.
Surfing popular independent REALTOR® websites is marginally more efficient, but still not necessarily current - and as you no doubt know, there are thousands of real estate websites.
... are sometimes promoted successfully in specialized real estate advertising magazines. Since the pool of potential buyers who can afford high-end homes is substantially smaller, it usually takes longer to sell them. Thus, a luxury homes agent can place a full-colour glossy advertisement in print media and realistically expect the property to be still available when the ad is published. And if the advertised listing is unsuitable for the buyer who responded to the ad, the agent can probably introduce that buyer to other potentially interesting properties.
But here's the thing; real estate advertising in print media is intended, not to sell specific properties, but to generate phone calls and emails from interested parties. A brokerage simply wants to literally make their phone ring.
Also, some agents who regularly participate in newspapers advertising - small ads to regular full page spreads - are often just fishing for listings. Their focus is mainly on the listing end of the business. Sometimes, they don't even work with buyers, or they delegate them to junior sales people or team members. Homeowners are sometimes attracted to agents who advertise regularly, thinking they'll receive superior marketing service. This may be so, but not necessarily.
The vast majority of real estate sales result from ...
When you see a sold sign installed on a lawn, chances are it was listed by one brokerage and sold by another who was working with a buyer. That's usually the way it works.
So, scrutinizing real estate advertising in newspapers and magazines, while once a mainstay, is no longer a viable method of finding a home. It will likely leave you frustrated, not to mention with ink-stained fingers.
Your best bet?
If you're considering selling your home, with or without an agent, check out my book The Happy Agent. It contains the sum total of the real estate knowledge, philosophies and techniques that I've accumulated, practiced and polished during a highly successful 40-year realty career.
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encouraged to try it alone, at least for awhile. Remember - knowledge is power.
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