With spring now in full swing, and summer fast approaching, the real estate market seems to be picking up according to local brokers. But the way real estate agents are spending their advertising dollars may have changed along with the recent shift in the economy.
Although the sale of homes are not nearly reaching the numbers they were just a year ago, that isn’t necessarily a sign for the future. With creative advertising and a combination of mediums, brokers believe summer may prove a profitable season, once again, for real estate.
Whether it’s reading the paper over a cup of Joe at a local cafÃ© or relaxing at home with a laptop, real estate industry professionals are looking for the best way to spend their money — and using an array of advertising techniques seems to be the way to go.
Mala Sander, Senior Vice President and Associate Broker of Corcoran Real Estate in Sag Harbor, said she finds a lot of leads are coming from the Internet.
“Search optimization has increased and buyers are able to look at all the photography online,” said Sander who added that Internet is instant, and buyers are able to call agents after looking online at different properties.
“But I also advertise in print,” she said, “Some people just want to be able to look at the paper over a cup of coffee.”
Sander said with weekly newspapers and especially agency printed catalogues, which have longer lead times, it can be hard keep information about properties up to date. Sander said the success of a medium also depends on the circumstance and the buyer. She added that some people, for example, prefer seeing ads in print.
“You can only Blackberry so much.”
According to Sander, “the ante is up,” and real estate agents need to get more competitive in the way they are advertising.
When putting a home on the market, Sander said the number one thing to consider is that the home is priced correctly and the listing agent is using all the elements of a good marketing plan.
At Strough Real Estate Associates in Sag Harbor, managing broker Kathleen Zappola agrees that the Internet is a more popular selling tool for her these days.
“We are still doing print advertising, although not as much as we used to,” Zappola said.
When asked what she sees for the future of real estate advertising, Zappola said she believes all types of advertising “will certainly always be around. I don’t think people are going to stop doing it.”
“But everyone is computer friendly right now,” she said, adding that, for the time being anyway, it seems to be the most popular way to advertise.
Jane Holden is a licensed associate real estate broker for Town and Country Real Estate in Bridgehampton and she has found that putting signs in front of the home is still a good tool for her.
“I find signs are useful, and we only have to pay for the cost of the sign company,” she said. “But you do the print because it gets your name out there. I’ve cut back on print ads because of the cost, but it depends where you are spending it and how much.”
“But print is still important.”
Overall, Holden said sales are quiet, “Anyone who tells you it is not, is lying to you,” said Holden who added, however, that there seems to be a lift in showings and people are starting to look at houses again.
Robert Evjen, of Prudential Douglas Elliman in Sag Harbor, said “the most successful tool for advertising is a combination one-two punch of Internet advertising combined with print advertising.”
“Prudential has implemented an online program called ‘Super Open House Weekend’ which targets online search results for customers looking for properties in New York, Long Island and the Hampton,” explained Evjen who also said that banner ads — those appearing at the top of a webpage —play an important part in gaining clicks to drive traffic to a site.
“Also, print advertising compliments and re-enforces the message seen online,” he said.
“What is gaining results for some of the agents is ‘thinking outside the box,’” continued Evjen. “For example, we just ran the first ever online ‘auction’ for Hamptons properties which had successful results. That in turn started a buzz that the market is alive out here and now people are calling about buying homes.”
“My advice to other agents would be to work the hardest you can, think outside the box to make deals happen and of course, go the extra mile and service your clientele like never before! This is a great opportunity to stand out.”