Is Newspaper Advertising Relevant, A Storybook Chalet In Bunya & A Hilarious Father’s Day Surprise

I’ve received a great question from Tony regarding the marketing of his home for sale.

Tony asks…

“I really enjoy getting your e-newsletter every week and find it very helpful. I’ve moved to the Gold Coast a few years ago and am now about to sell our home. The agent we have been recommended to is trying to convince us to market our property in the newspaper with a series of ads that will cost a lot of money. We don’t even read the GC Bulletin and feel that this is a waste of money when it seems to us that everyone searches online for properties these days. In your opinion, is this the case or should we consider the paper?”

Tony…this is a great question!

I’m often asked about newspaper advertising (whether it be the ‘Courier Mail’, Local ‘Quest’ papers or publications like the ‘Gold Coast Bulletin’, ‘Sunshine Coast Daily’ or even the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ or the ‘Australian Financial Review’.

Firstly, let me state that the major online real estate portals do (without any shadow of a doubt) produce the majority of buyer enquiries these days. It is why their costs continue to escalate and it’s debatable whether the consumer is receiving value for money but in truth, I can state that despite price rises that have been significant over the past decade, the cost per buyer enquiry is still less than what a newspaper campaign was bringing us fifteen years ago when online real estate advertising was still in its’ relatively infant stages.

So putting this aside, does newspaper advertising work…or is it simply a means for an agent/ agency to promote themselves by using other people’s money?

I can tell you that there are agents that certainly use newspapers as a way to keep their presence notable and portray market domination.

Personally, I rarely use any form of newspaper advertising these days as the areas that I sell in simply don’t seem to attract many buyers from the relevant newspapers.

Since 2006, the ‘Quest’ publications re-aligned their boundaries in a way that the areas I sell most properties are right on the intersection of 3 different newspapers…so the question remains, if I would recommend a ‘Quest’ publication, which paper would I choose? To be truthful, it’s nothing more than a roll of the dice and I’m not an agent that likes to roll the dice with other people’s money.

Occasionally, we receive business from Banks, Trustees and Insolvency Specialists and often, these professionals insist on some form of newspaper campaign to ensure that they achieving the highest price possible for the property that they’re looking to materialise.

I must say that in the recent times I’ve used the local newspapers, I don’t receive many enquiries at all…and in the past 5 years, there’s only two sales that we’ve made (out of more than 400) that I can attribute directly to newspaper advertising.

The advocates of newspaper advertising would argue that if I only utilise newspaper advertising in 2% of the properties that I list, can I realistically expect much more than this?

In some ways, this is a fair point but I must confess to being underwhelmed by the results every time I do advertise in the papers.

In regards to using the Courier Mail, I don’t seem to attract many enquiries in the areas that I sell most of my properties (around 70% of the properties we sell are 10km or further from the Brisbane CBD) and given that a reasonable 4 week campaign can still cost well in excess of $10,000, I just don’t believe that this is an investment that I can recommend (in most cases).

The disadvantage of the internet is that it is ‘suburb centric’ meaning that a buyer who is looking to purchase a certain type of home may overlook some properties if the internet is the only strategy employed.

If you take an area that’s close to the Brisbane CBD (perhaps a suburb like New Farm or Bulimba), there’s an argument that the ‘Courier Mail’ may attract buyers that the internet may miss and I wouldn’t have to travel far to find plenty of agents that would subscribe to this theory.

Their argument would be… “How do we know that we’ve achieved the premium price if we haven’t marketed your property in every mainstream way that’s possible?”

I’ll be honest…the truth is that I couldn’t tell you how effective the Courier Mail is these days for properties that are close to the Brisbane CBD.

I worked in the Brisbane CBD and fringe suburbs selling real estate up until 2006 and back then, I could see a significant decrease in enquiries on large scale campaigns but given I don’t work heavily in this market right now, I couldn’t tell you with certainty how effective it really is.

Real estate sales is a fairly small industry and I know agents that have told me (in complete confidence) that their agency receives minimal enquiries through newspaper advertising and they only promote it to ensure they maintain a good market share but I do know agents that swear by newspaper advertising and tell me that they receive plenty of enquiries through the paper…and this applies to all of the newspapers that I’ve mentioned above.

I do have a good friend that works in Burpengary and he is a strong advertiser in his local ‘Quest’ newspaper and he’s shown me how many enquiries he receives from this paper…and it is quite significant.

The area that he sells in is right in the heart of his local paper’s distribution and I’m sure that this has something to do with this result.

So how do you tell if you own a property where you should consider newspaper advertising or whether you are just being taken for a ride to keep the agency in the press?

Next week, I’ll go into this topic in more detail, I’ll bring the answer back to Tony’s specific question (sorry I haven’t directly answered your question yet Tony) and I’ll give you some questions to ask your agent should they suggest a newspaper campaign of any magnitude.


Until then, Happy Listing & Happy Selling!

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Is Newspaper Advertising Relevant, A Storybook Chalet In Bunya & A Hilarious Father’s Day Surprise