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Feature Article Archive


 

Please select an archived topic from the list below:

Jetted Tubs

Christmas Safety

Moving to Calgary?

Marketing Your Home - the Rob Johnstone Way:

The Difference between MLS and MLX

Walk-throughs & Inspections:
What is the Difference & What to Expect?

Real Estate Photography

Keep the Mouse out of the House

Calgary Home Blog Launch

Your Home is an Investment: Maximize Your Return

Rid Your Home Of Smoke Odors

Toss It or Fix It? A Different Response for Different Products

Internet Advertising vs Print Ads Debate: 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Jetted Tubs: The good, the bad, and the Ugly.

We Probably don't have to tell you the good about having a jetted or whirlpool tub: They're relaxing, they're luxurious, and having one in your home increases your home's value. So now for the bad: Jetted tubs do use a lot of energy to run. The ugly? Cleaning. If you have turned on a tub that was turned off for period of time,  you know that all of the hard water buildup and residue can harden, and will come back out in chunks when you turn the jets back on. This is in addition to all of the bacteria hiding inside!

If you are moving into a new home with a jetted tub, there is a simple solution to keep your tub "good" and to avoid the "bad and ugly".  Fill your tub with water and diluted bleach and let it cycle for a good 30 minutes. Drain the tub, then repeat with fresh water (and no bleach) for another 30 minutes to rinse all of the remaining bleach.  For maintenance, try dishwasher detergent in the water, for a gentler way to clean.

 

 

 


 

Christmas Safety

Christmas is the time of year when families and friends take time to celebrate piece and joy. However, it's also a time when every home is decorated with lights and other electronic devices, that might be of potential danger under certain conditions. If you take a few simple precautions, there is no need for concern!

Your Christmas tree

  • If you are buying a live tree, make sure that it's fresh. You can test this by tapping the tree on the ground and seeing if green needles fall down. Don't put the tree inside until you're ready to decorate it.
  • Keep the tree at least 3 metres away from potentially dangerous locations, such as the fireplace, radiators or floor heaters.
  • If the tree is wobbly, position it better in the stand and redo the screws and bolts. If it still doesn't help, consider getting a bigger tree stand. You should also secure it with wires to prevent it from tipping over.
  • Clean the tree stand before the holidays for improved water intake.
  • After the holidays are over, make sure you dispose the tree properly. Never ever try to burn the tree in the fireplace.

Ornaments

  • If you have kids, it's in your best interest to get bigger ornaments where tiny parts cannot fall off and swallowed. Put smaller ornaments out of reach. Try to keep an eye on the kids when they're playing around the tree.

Christmas lights

  • Be sure to check & re-check your strings of lights every year and discard the ones that don't work anymore.
  • It's a good idea to turn off the christmas lights while you're asleep and especially if you leave your home. You may use an automatic timer or even a motion detector that turns the electricity for the lights on and off.
  • In outdoor areas, only use lights that were designed for exterior use. (There is a difference!)
  • Make sure the bulbs are fastened securely and that the socket is pointing down to avoid moisture build up.
  • Unplug any lights before changing the bulbs.
  • Never use light strings on metal artificial trees.

Candles

  • Never put candles on trees, even if the tree is artificial.
  • Where possible, put the candles into containers where there's water surrounding them. Make sure there's nothing above that could ignite due to the flame or fall on top.

Electrical connectors

  • Keep outdoor electrical connectors above ground, especially out of puddles and snow.
  • Never use extension cords intended for interiors outside.
  • At Christmas, there are lots of extra electronic devices used. Avoid overloading wall outlets.

General safety

  • Double check smoke detectors, and install new batteries. 
  • Make sure that there's a working fire extenguisher in an easily accessible place.
     

 

 

 


 

Moving to Calgary?

Are you planning on making a move to Calgary? Do you have a job lined up? We've compiled a little information on the Calgary Job market. In case you haven't heard, there is a workplace shortage in Calgary. Every second store you pass in the mall has a "help wanted" sign in the window, and it seems that everywhere you turn, someone is hiring.  Did you know that trades are high in demand right now?  With the city booming, there is a need for every kind of training that you can think of. Want to know how much you would make doing your same job here in Calgary? Monster.ca has devised a nifty little tool that will let you see how much money people in Calgary are making at almost every job imaginable. (click here to try it).

There are also many resources both online and in print, that are available to help you find employment. Some of the most popular are workopolis.ca, monster,ca ,working.com, and the Canada Job Bank (www.jobbank.gc.ca) .  The Calgary Herald also has a great Saturday "working" section.

If you haven't completely decided to move here, here are a few reasons from Calgary Economic Development Group: Brochure .

See you soon - Yeeeeeee Hawe!

 

 


 

 

Marketing Your Home - the Rob Johnstone Way:

Most realtors will say that they are promoting your home, but what exactly are they doing? Putting up a "for sale" sign is the first step, but some realtors stop there. Here is a glimpse behind-the-scenes at some of the things we do to market your property.

  • Your home is promoted on thousands of websites:

MLS.ca (Multiple Listing Service)

  • CalgaryHomePros

    The RE/MAX Mountain View Website:

    Rob Johnstone’s Website hosted by MLX:
    http://robjohnstone.abmls.mlxchange.com/

    Rob Johnstone's Real Estate Blog:
    www.calgaryhomeblog.com 

    And thousands more, including:handshake affiliations, online real estate directories, boutique web sites, virtual tours, and more!

  • Professionally designed listing brochures, flyers, and collateral material as appropriate to your property.
  • Professional Photography and Photo Touch-ups where needed.
  • Consistent follow up & feedback requests with realtors who have shown interest in your listing.
  • On Staff Full Time Marketing Specialist – dedicated to positioning your property for maximum exposure to your target market.
  • Direct Telephone Access (no waiting on hold - for  you, or, for a potential buyer)

 


 

The Difference between MLS and MLX

You may have already heard about the MLS.  You may also have heard Realtors use the term MLX. Confused? Here is the difference between the two:

MLS Stands for Multiple Listing Service. MLS is an advertising vehicle provided by REALTORS® across Canada to help market properties.” (MLS.ca) Anyone can access MLS online at www.MLS.ca

MLX is the application that Realtors use to upload their listings, and also view more detailed information on listings of other Realtors. Access to MLX is restricted to Realtors and Real Estate boards.

 


 

Walk-throughs & Inspections:
What is the Difference & What to Expect?

The process of buying a home is not a simple one - if it were, we wouldn't need the advice and knowledge and experience of a Licensed Realtor. Two typical steps in the home selling process are Home Inspections and Walk-through inspections.

Home Inspection:

Buyers:
When a buyer puts an offer in on a home, there are usually some conditions, hence the term "Conditionally Sold". One of the most common conditions is the home inspection condition. This enables the buyers to hire a home inspector to go into the home and check for defficiencies, the most common areas checked being: Structure, Fireplaces, Appliances,
Ventilation, Home Interior, Heating and Air Conditioning Systems, Electrical System, Plumbing,  Roofing, and Exterior. It is the responsibility of the buyer to pay for this inspection.

Sellers:
To prepare for a home inspection, treat it like a showing. Leave your home tidy and presentable just as you would if you were expecting a showing.


Walk-Through Inspection:

The Walk-Through Inspection usually takes place on closing day. This is when the buyer, accompanied by their realtor, "walks through" the home and does a final inspection.  Items commonly checked at this time are: dishwasher, stove, hot water tank, furnace, sinks & taps, windows, and washer/dryer, if included in the sale of the home.

 

 


 

Real Estate Photography

We have all heard the expression: a picture is worth a thousand words. This is true, however in the case of real estate it doesn't stop there. In real estate, a picture is worth a thousand words, and possibly the sale of your home.

Put yourself in the shoes of a buyer. If you are looking at a house that is listed online, you are going to want a sneak peek of the photos. If these photos are good quality images, your interest is much more likely to be held than if the images are poor. Poor quality images could even eliminate that property as a possibility in your mind.

To ensure that your home does not get moved from the "yes" list to the "no" list of homes, there are several steps you can take to increase the turnout of photos taken in your home.

1) Lighting Lighting Lighting! Make sure that there is plenty of light, both natural and artificial when possible. When there is only a single light source, photos can come out looking harsh and shadowy. To avoid this, use more than one source of light.

2) Staging. Home staging is all about creating a welcoming, customizable feel in your home. Potential buyers need to be able to picture themselves living in your home, and tips to create this can be found under "Sellers Advantage" --> Showing Your Home  in the left hand side navigation bar of this website.

3) De-Clutter. This one is a part of home staging, but is also very important to photographing a home.  In order for a photo of a home to feel spacious, the eye needs to be free to explore the photograph. If there is clutter in the photo, the eyes will stop at these objects and not get the fuller sense of the room.

4) Working with a Realtor who not only takes good photos, but who knows how to touch them up up for an even "punchier" effect. Rob Johnstone has a full-time Marketing Specialist who reviews all images and adjusts them before they are ever exposed to the public. This ensures that only the highest quality images make it to the eyes of potential buyers.

 

 

 


 

 

 

Keep the Mouse out of the House!

No one likes the thought of sharing their home with mice, however this is the time of year to take action to prevent these little critters from moving in for the winter. Here are the three "R's" of Rodent Control: Reason - Route – Remove

Reason:
1. Get rid of the reason rodents are being attracted. FOOD. The most common rodent attractant in urban locations is wild bird seed. Once a constant food source has been detected, rodents will leave pheromone trails for their family members to follow. This could result in a large populations being attracted to your home or business. An abundant supply of food will also speed up their reproductive cycle. Most people who feed wild birds don't realize they are probably feeding more rodents than birds. Pet food, grass seed and poorly stored human food are other attractants.

Route:
2. Eliminate the route rodents are taking to enter living and working space. Once inside a building, rodents will follow plumbing and wiring to access all levels and many rooms. Gaps around pipes should be blocked. Pay special attention to pipes under the kitchen sink, bathrooms, laundry room and hot water tank.

Remove:
3. Remove the Rodents. Once you have stopped attracting them and blocked off their entry points, you can focus attention on eliminating the rodent population. You will have a hard time attracting rodents to bait on a trap or poison bait, if you have not eliminated their usual source of food.

Mouse Facts:

  • Mice travel over their entire territory daily, investigating each change or new object that may be placed there.
  • Mice have poor vision, hence their activity patterns rely heavily on smell, taste, touch, and hearing.
  • Mice use the long sensitive whiskers near the nose and hairs on the body as tactile sensors. The whiskers and hairs enable the mouse to travel in the dark, adjacent to walls in burrows.
  • Mice also have an excellent sense of balance, enabling them to walk along telephone wires, ropes and similar thin objects.
  • Mice are excellent jumpers, capable of leaping at least 12 inches vertically.
  • Mice can jump against a flat vertical surface using it as a spring board to gain additional height.
  • They can run up almost any vertical surface; wood, brick, weathered sheet metal, cables, etc.
  • They can easily travel for some distance hanging upside down.
  • Although they are good swimmers, mice tend to take to water only if left with no other alternative.
  • Mice are basically nocturnal in nature.
  • House mice breed throughout the year and can become pregnant within 48 hours of producing a litter.
  • There are usually about 6 mice to a litter and females may produce as many as ten litters (about 50 young) per year.
  • It takes 18 to 21 days for gestation, and 35 days for a mouse to mature. Most mice live anywhere from 15 to 18 months.
  • They make their nests out of the same types of soft materials as rats, and as many as 3 females may use the same nest.
  • They commonly nest in insulation in attics, also in stoves and under refrigerators.
  • Mice do not travel far from their nest, about 12 to 20 feet

[Source: http://www.pestcontrolcanada.com/Rodents/mice.htm]

 

 

 

CalgaryHomeBlog - Launch

 

Rob Johnstone is proud to announce the launch of Calgary Home Blog - an information source for all things related to Calgary Real Estate, events taking place in the City of Calgary, as well as the latest news, trends, etc!

Check it out here: www.calgaryhomeblog.com

 

 

 

 

 


 

Your Home is an Investment: Maximize Your Return

For most Canadians, a home is a solid, familiar investment. Over time, your home will increase in value at a steady, safe rate. Whether you are updating that 40's style kitchen, removing green shag carpeting from the bedroom, or adding exterior curb appeal by applying attractive, maintenance-free siding, you will increase the market value of your home.

When renovating your home, here are few things to consider. If you are financing an improvement, consider your budget. Keep your monthly payments within your limit.

Perhaps you are planning to move in a few years and hoping to recover the costs. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation suggests the following as a payback range of typical renovations:

a.. Kitchen 68-74%
b.. Bathroom 64-71%
c.. Interior painting 62-66%
d.. Exterior painting 62%
e.. Main floor family room 49-56% 
f.. Finished basement 50-52%
g.. Upgraded heating system 48-50%
h.. Landscaping 45-49%
i.. In-law or rental suite 40-42%
j.. Central air conditioning 38-43%
k.. Energy-efficient upgrades 33-39%

Consider the type of renovation. You could overdo a good thing if you spend too much on less favorable items.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RID YOUR HOME OF SMOKE ODORS

After an evening with visitors who smoked in your house, the odor from the cigarettes can linger long after your guests have left. You can remove the cigarette odor if, immediately after your guests leave, you place a shell (or dish) with a water-vinegar solution in the room where they were smoking. During the night, the solution will absorb the smoke.

 

If you have smokers in your home for longer than an evening, or if you are a smoker yourself and you are planning to sell your home, there are several methods to remove the lingering smoke smell. Remember that potential purchasers see your home with all 5 senses – not just with their eyes. This means that in order to intrigue their sense of smell, your home should smell fresh and clean – not smoky.

Here are ten steps for removing odors from your house. Here is what you will need:

-A gallon of household chlorine bleach (do not allow bleach to mix with ammonia)
-Tri-sodium phosphate
-A gallon of apple cider vinegar
-Large container of baking soda
-Lemons
-extra furnace or air conditioner filters

Open windows and doors and place a large fan where it can blow fresh air in. Place a second fan to blow odors out.
Depending on the strength of the odors trapped in your home, you may want to replace the insulation in your attic. Not only do smoke odors rise and get trapped here, but cooking odors rise in the heat and become trapped as well. Insulation cannot be cleaned or effectively deodorized, and so it should be discarded and replaced with fresh material. Completely clean the entire attic and allow it to dry, and then replace the insulation with new material
Use a steam extractor for cleaning carpets and upholstered furniture. A commercial steam extractor can be rented from an equipment rental place. Hiring a professional truck mounted steam extractor is also an option, it will cost more, but it is much more powerful than a home style steam extractor and is worth the money if the odors are deeply imbedded and persistent. It is nearly impossible to get odors out of mattresses and foam pillows, these may need to be discarded and replaced.<br><br>4.
Clothing, bedding, and drapes will need to be laundered or dry cleaned. If odors are not released from clothes after a couple of washes, soak clothing in the following formula for 5-10 minutes before laundering:

-4-6 tablespoons of Tri-sodium phosphate
-1 cup of household chlorine bleach
-1 gallon of warm water

For safety, double rinse to remove all traces of the cleaning compounds and air dry outside. Use plastic kitchen gloves to protect your hands from the chemicals. Tri-sodium phosphate is corrosive and full strength chlorine bleach can cause chemical burns.

Take care of the air circulation. Change the furnace or air conditioning filters once daily until you no longer smell offensive odors when you come into the house. The odor causing particles will be in all the ducting and you may need to have a professional duct cleaning service come clean your ducting.
Ceilings, walls and floors need to be washed with the tri-sodium phosphate and chlorine solution and rinsed.
Unplug and wash your stove and refrigerator inside and out (including the back of the stove and the coils of the refrigerator) with a dish washing liquid, then rinse with a solution consisting of:

-1 cup vinegar
-The juice of three lemons
-a gallon of warm water

Take all the drawers out of your cabinets and open all the cupboard doors, wash inside and out paying attention to the drawer slides and around the hinges. Allow to dry completely before replacing drawers and closing the cupboard doors.

When you have totally washed, and rinsed everything, allow to dry completely. Place small dishes of vanilla extract, baking soda, sliced lemons or potpourri throughout the house to capture any new odors.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toss It or Fix It? A Different Response for Different Products

Tossing vs. Fixing Consumer Products
Improved product engineering, low prices for new good and costly repairs on household products has helped foster a disposable society.

Consumer Reports advises consumers who have products in need of professional repair to toss them if they cost less than $150 and to forego repairs that cost more than half the price of a new product.

The long-time independent consumer goods and ratings magazine also said it doesn't make good economic sense to repair certain off-warranty products, including toasters, countertop microwaves, cordless phones, compact disc players, video cassette recorders, inkjet printers, and conventional television sets under 30 inches.

In many cases it's even tough to find repairs for the items.

Products in the survey of 2,300 subscribers included desktop and laptop computers, digital camcorders and cameras, DVD players, televisions, lawn tractors and riding mowers, refrigerators, ranges, microwaves, dishwashers, washing machines, clothes dryers and vacuum cleaners.

Consumer Reports published its repair-vs.-replace findings along with recycling information, repair-or-replace timelines for the products, help with making the repair-or-replace decision, preventive maintenance tips and reliability levels by product and brands.

Based on Consumer Reports' survey and research it says:

  • Toss broken products that are out of warranty or more than three years old - or complain to the manufacturer. Ten percent of those surveyed got results when they complained, even if the product was out of warranty.
  • Repair problems are common. Appliance repairs were more likely to take, but for 24 percent of all wall-oven work, replacement parts were hard to find. Electronics and lawn equipment repairs were more problematic. Nearly half of all digital cameras took more than two weeks to repair, but then 43 percent said the repairs cost too much, a higher percentage than with any other product. Nearly a third, 31 percent, of desktop computer repairs were botched the first time or the machines didn't work well after the repair work.
  • Broken analog camcorders got tossed more often than any other item - 81 percent of owners tossed them because service people couldn't repair them.
  • Half of consumers either didn't bother with repairs or quit in the process.
  • Twenty percent of the time, product owners gave up on the repair process, typically because the cost was just not worth it.
  • Fourteen percent of those surveyed gave up on the repair process because they felt the ordeal would be too inconvenient. Among those who succumbed to having products repaired, 16 percent found the process was very inconvenient.
  • Repair costs have stabilized but new product prices have dropped substantially, explaining, in part, why more items are discarded.

Copyright © 2005 Realty Times. All rights reserved. 9/24/05

 


 

 

 

Internet Advertising vs Print Ads Debate:

 

When RE/MAX International Senior Vice President Kristi Graning asked for Associates' opinions on the value of newspaper advertising, she got an earful.

"Newspaper advertising is going the way of the cassette player," wrote Marty Sorrentino of RE/MAX Hearthstone in Merrick, N.Y.

Added June Comey (ABR, CRS, SRES), with RE/MAX Associates Poway in Poway, Calif.: "I have found no value lately in newspaper ads. Very expensive and the general public does not seem to use them as a resource for home searches or open houses."

The comments, suggestions, opinions and questions just keep on coming on the issue of newspaper advertising. Here are 11 more.

Nearly two dozen Associates have provided input on the value of advertising in newspapers. Most say it's not worth the money, while others say it's always been effective for them.

Read the original story below.

"What advertising are Associates using? ..."
"What other forms of advertising are Associates using? Some agents referenced Internet advertising, which we are currently using. Are there any other suggestions or some recommended Web sites to try?"
DeeAnn Bartkey, Office Administrator, RE/MAX United, Owatonna, Minn.

"I encourage agents to follow the Buffini program ..."
"I find it rather interesting that the majority of agent polled are responding that the Internet is their primary source for leads. In Brian Buffini's presentation, he shows a graph that demonstrates that only 14 percent of people looking for a real estate agent use the Net. I truly enjoy and encourage our agents to follow the Buffini program."
Joe Collina, RE/MAX Escarpment Realty, Burlington, Ontario

"Everything is looking toward the Internet ..."
"I personally advertise when I have an open house, but being an e-Pro (Internet knowledge), I get most of my buyers from my signs at the home, and my Internet business is booming - I get 85 of my business from there. We are now able to launch all open houses, new listings, and upscale homes in our Web site, and especially RE/MAX Mainstreet. We have so many tools especially, CDs, etc., that buyers and sellers find rewarding.

"The way I see the future, everything is looking towards the Internet, especially when buyers do not really have to communicate with a Realtor on the telephone. They are able to receive information immediately on a home they are planning to buy or just want to be curious about a particular home.

"As for sellers, they are starting to realize that most buyers are searching on the Internet for their dream home."
Maria Cutrona, RE/MAX Hearthstone Realty, Canfield, Ohio

"Use classifieds to drive traffic to Web sites ..."
"I think traditional classified advertising (place it and the phone will ring) is going away. However, we have seen some of our agents have good results by using classified ads to drive traffic to their Web sites. Consumers have to find you on the Internet for the Internet to generate leads. Getting your Web site address out to the consumers is critical and search engines are just not going to cut it in accomplishing that. Search engine optimization can be just as expensive if not more so than newspaper ads and it's often far more time-consuming with generally the same results as traditional classified advertising.

"Agents who are very consistent in how they have their classified call to action presented get better results, as do agents who use an Internet call to action rather than the standard 'call me at ...' We encourage our agents to upload additional photos to their Web site and then use a call to action such as "for 20 color photographs, go to www.webaddress.com" or 'for color photographs and the address, go to www.webaddress.com.' It's a high-benefit, low-threat call to action. Handled consistently in every single ad, it helps brand the agents and get their Web sites out into the local population with the clear message that the agent understands what the consumers want - photos, details, and the address and no high-pressure sales call.

"We encourage them to do the same thing on their fliers, direct mail pieces, e-mail signatures, online advertising, etc. If an agent is paying for a marketing effort, then there should be at least some expectation of a return and driving traffic to and building recognition for their Web site can provide that return. The Web site can then go to work with the photos, virtual tours and details that are far too expensive to be accomplished in print.

"There is still a place for print advertising, but newspapers need to stop thinking of it in the traditional sense and start looking at how it can work with the Internet and help agents think outside of that, too."
Kris Keener, RE/MAX Equity Group, Beaverton, Ore.

"Mostly sellers buy papers to look at their own ad ..."
"I recently had a listing in Chicago. In October a major newspaper prints a huge residential real estate section in which some Realtors and brokerages advertise heavily. It is extremely costly and as statistics show not very effective. My seller was insulted that I did not take out a $5,000 full-color, half-page one-time ad to advertise his home, which was also overpriced. One thing sellers do not understand in advertising is that it is mostly sellers buying the papers to look at their own ad, as my seller did. Ninety-eight percent of the activity on this property came across as a result of networking with brokers and agents, the MLS, the virtual tour and the Internet sites and the street signage. Most buyers are working with agents and rely on the Internet to gather their real estate information."
Sandy Muellner, RE/MAX Signature, Chicago

"It works for us ..."
"You really can't be too quick to get rid of newspaper advertising. Here in northern Utah our office has had good success in advertising in the newspaper. We have found that people will respond more to just a basic print ad then anything with a picture though. Even if it doesn't sell the home we're advertising, it puts us in touch with potential buyers whom hopefully we can help with purchasing something to meet their needs. So it works for us out here."
Brian Ottley, RE/MAX West, Logan, Utah

"Most of my marketing dollars are online ..."
"I completely agree with the responses you have from other RE/MAX Associates. Previously I advertised all my listings each weekend in all the local newspapers. My response has declined over the last year and that told me I had to do something else and do it quickly. My Internet advertising was not my focus until the market started to change over the last year. Now I am putting most of my marketing dollars online and the results are astounding.

"Internet advertising attracts the serious buyers and sellers, I have found. It allows consumers to shop when they have the time and not just wait for the Sunday paper. Serious buyers are just not waiting. They are online, looking at all the Web sites and they demand photos and virtual tours.

"The Internet is now becoming the way buyers want to find homes. Sellers need to know that it takes more than a black-and-white ad once a week to showcase their home.

"I am sold on Internet advertising and I let my clients know that I am doing everything I can do to sell their home and the Internet is definitely at the top of my list."
Teri Pacitto, RE/MAX OTB Estates, Oak Park, Calif.

"Know your audience ..."
"One of the most basic principles of business is to know your audience. I target my advertising to venues where buyers and sellers (or someone they know) will be looking. Blowing your advertising budget on expensive newspaper advertising is a waste of resources and a disservice to your sellers. I put my resources where I get my leads, the Internet and home publications."
Nancy Payette, RE/MAX Realty Services, Port St. Lucie, Fla.

"My Web site is more productive ..."
"I have been a licensed Realtor for 30 years. I've tried just about every product available from newspapers and spent countless thousands of dollars using them. I have found that my main return was a seller who thought I was trying hard to sell his/her home. I receive several leads from the Internet each week and find my Web site more productive than newspaper advertising. The other really effective thing I have done is put together a monthly 32-page newsletter in color and direct-mail it to 11,000 homes in my city. I feature stories of local interest (not reported in local or national media) and tips on real estate, as well as my listings. I had one listing when I started the newsletter, and within 60 days later I had 41. Without a doubt this is the best marketing tool I have found."
Rich Petersen, RE/MAX Action Realty, Fort St. John, British Columbia

"Advertising money is a finite resource ..."
"In my experience, almost every comment I have ever heard from a real estate agent advocating newspaper advertising has had to do with placating or appeasing seller concerns.

"This is a little like the 'Western' philosophy of medicine; if you treat the symptoms, the patient will feel better. While this may be true, the problem does not go away.

"Instead, it may be helpful to explain to our clients that advertising money, after all, really is a 'finite' resource. Therefore, spending the money wisely, utilizing proven systems that generate maximum results per dollar and employing dynamic, measurable technologies such as the Internet, work better to sell homes. If the idea is to be in more places, never knowing with 100 percent certainty which one is going to work, I'd rather spend ALL of my ad money in areas that give the higher statistical returns than the local newspaper.

"Finally the best seller appeasement of all is a home that is SOLD."
Eric Recktenwald, RE/MAX Capital City, Austin, Texas

"It will always be effective ..."
"In our town of 75,000, Longview, Texas, the newspaper is still the No. 1 place to advertise. I have always had good results advertising in our local paper. Everyone reads the paper, especially the over-45 or 50 age group. Also, selling ads arouse the interest in people who might not have been looking to buy, but see a really pretty place and want it. Pictures of realtors alert friends and newcomers to see what offices they want to call. I think it will always be effective no matter how popular the Internet is."
Jo Salmon, RE/MAX First Choice, Longview, Texas

"I only use it for open houses ..."
"I agree with the majority of the responders. Our newspaper, while charging us outrageous rates, continues to run full-page negative articles about the real estate market as well as the loan markets. I only use it for open houses. It seems as though they think the only thing that is news is bad news and in this, they join the broadcast media in their approach. Many of our agents eschew the use of the newspaper in favor of more targeted advertising and so do I."
Terry Stauffer, RE/MAX Ideal Properties, Medford, Ore.

"I receive perhaps 1 percent response ..."
"I receive perhaps 1 percent response from newspaper advertising. My new advertising theory will be: to keep my picture and name in the news but crop the ad down to include my Web site addresses, where the potential buyers and sellers can find NEW LISTINGS - OPEN HOUSES - SIGNIFICANT PRICE REDUCTIONS by going to my sites."
Carol Ann Williams, RE/MAX First, Rochester, N.Y.

Associates Shying Away From Newspaper Advertising

When RE/MAX International Senior Vice President Kristi Graning asked for Associates' opinions on the value of newspaper advertising, she got an earful.

"Newspaper advertising is going the way of the cassette player," wrote Marty Sorrentino of RE/MAX Hearthstone in Merrick, N.Y.

Added June Comey (ABR, CRS, SRES), with RE/MAX Associates Poway in Poway, Calif.: "I have found no value lately in newspaper ads. Very expensive and the general public does not seem to use them as a resource for home searches or open houses."

And so on. Virtually every Associate who responded to Graning said that advertising in newspapers did not produce a significant return on investment. While some continue to advertise in print, it was mostly because clients expected or demanded it.

Graning, Senior Vice President of IT and eBusiness, was interested in Associates' advertising opinions because she had been asked to participate in a panel discussion at a conference sponsored by Classified Ventures - a joint venture owned by five large media companies, including Gannett and The Washington Post Company. They've banded together to explore ways of obtaining more online advertising.

It's no secret that the Internet has deeply cut into newspapers' advertising revenue, especially in the classified area. Media companies are looking for ways to combine print and online advertising. At the conference, held in New Orleans just before the NAR conference in November, Graning was the only representative of a traditional real estate organization. Other participants in the discussion included forsalebyowner.com, realestate.com and oodle.com.

"Newspapers are very interested in adjusting their services," Graning says. "They want real estate agents back as customers, so they were particularly interested in what our Associates had to say. I was able to give them some constructive feedback. That was because Associates did such a good job responding to my request. I'm grateful for that."

A few other comments and suggestions from Associates:

"Times have changed ..."
"I had been a big advocate of the newspaper, having been in the business for more than 23 years, but times have changed. The Internet is where 85 percent of buyers/sellers start their search. That's where they spend the most time and the can virtually tour the homes they like."
Steven Young Jr. (ABR), RE/MAX Consultants, Little Rock, Ark.

"No replies at all ..."
"I still do newspaper ads to appease the sellers, but I also tell them there were no replies at all (if this is the case, and it usually is). I'm getting more response from Craigslist these days."
Barb Avery (CRS, SRES), RE/MAX Eastside Brokers, Kirkland, Wash.

"Our office does a group ad ..."
"Our office does a group ad, but have shrunk the per-property ad space, therefore shrinking our overall ad size and cost 40 percent. It's not worth the expense and I'd quit altogether tomorrow if I had a more convincing way to show sellers it's worthless."
Jim Henry (ABR, CRS), RE/MAX Associates Plus, Hudson, Wis.

"My leads mostly come from the Internet ..."
"Newspaper ads are extremely too expensive for the ROI, and over a month add up to a hefty price tag. I track my leads and they mostly come from the Internet or buyers driving through neighborhoods. Maybe one a year originate from the newspaper. Newspapers can cut their costs if they wish to obtain my business."
Lynn Vaughn (ABR), RE/MAX Equity Group, Vancouver, Wash.

"Our ROI is 0% ..."
"We measure ROI the same way almost everyone does - by measuring dollars spent to direct results obtained. We don't have to track it, as it's not necessary - our ROI is 0%. Yes, we do it to please our clients, and in listing presentations. Newspapers should provide special Internet advertising that is Realtor and consumer-friendly, and this could help their business."
Don Lehman, RE/MAX Real Estate Services, Anaheim Hills, Calif.

"Realtors sell houses ..."
"I write very effective ads with great photos. But with hundreds of dollars spent, I get no real response. I find that Realtors sell houses. I do, however, feel that if newspapers can take a different approach, such as sorting ads by city or price rather than scattered all over the place, that would help."
Jeanne Tishma, RE/MAX Homeward Bound, Sheffield, Ohio

"Something exciting to advertise ..."
"I only advertise in newspapers when I have something exciting to advertise, such as a new listing, open house, or price reduction. I explain that I place most of my advertising budget on the Internet, as that is where most of my buyers come from. My sales director put it succinctly: If routine newspaper advertising was worthwhile, the real estate section would be so heavy you wouldn't be able to pick it up."
Kathryn Acciari, RE/MAX Innovations, Boston

Add your own comments
Do you have any thoughts or suggestions regarding newspaper advertising? Send it to editor@remax.net. Your contribution may be used in a future Mainstreet story.

Copyright © 2006 RE/MAX International Inc. 11/28/06

 


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