Survey of Realtor Home Marketing Methods

VHT, Inc., a leading provider of visual marketing services, has released the results of its exclusive survey of agents’ and brokers’ marketing activities.

While there are not many surprises it is interesting to note the marked difference between new and more established Realtors in their marketing expenditures, average value of homes sold and the number of listings.

It is also interesting that it is an accepted fact that 80% of buyers start their search on the internet, but 92.4 percent of sellers felt newspaper ads were the most important marketing method. Maybe that is why homes are taking so long to sell. Buyers are looking on the internet and sellers are advertising in the newspaper. What’s wrong with this picture?

Marketing Expenditure Per Listing

The survey shows that agents who have been around longer—more than five years—spent more money, on average, marketing their properties—$864 per listing than respondents with less than five years experience who spent, on average, $675 per listing.

$250-$500 – 24.5 percent of agents/brokers
$500-$1,000 – 20.6 percent
> $1,000 – 25.2 percent
Depended the listing – 18.8 percent

Number of Listings Managed

5-10 listings – 30 percent
10 – 20 listings – 34.8 percent
20 or more listings – 20.6 percent

Method of Marketing

Brochures – 90 percent
Postcards – 88.8 percent
Newspapers – 83.3 percent
TV Ads – 41.1 percent

While respondents indicated a significant portion of their listing budget was spent on newspapers, only 20.4 percent said they think this medium is “effective.” 49 percent felt that online ads were “very effective.” Agents felt that online ads and signage are “more valuable” for promoting a property. But when asked what their sellers felt was important, 92.4 percent said that their sellers mentioned newspaper ads.

Do They Spend More For a Higher Priced Listing?

There was a direct correlation between the amount an agent spent to market a property and the value of the property. For listings in the $250-500k range, agents spent on average $682/listing. Agents with properties in the $1M-2.5M spent on average $1,742/listing.

Do New Realtors List Higher Priced Homes?

No. The longer an agent is in business, the greater the value of the properties they list. Those with 2-5 years had listings in the $490k range while those with 10+ years had average listings of $600k in value.

Where are they advertising online?, CraigsList and Google were the top national Websites used by agents.
39 percent of agents have an average of 5-10 different destinations for their listing and 24.5 percent have 10-20 different destinations.

So What Really Works?

Understanding the psychology of home buyers and sellers is important in choosing your marketing tools.


The home selling process can take up to five years and be divided into four distinct “phases”- only three of which are actually measurable. Lasting up to four years, the first phase is a vague awareness that selling their home could solve a problem, offer a financial advantage or provide a needed change.

During the 4 years a specific triggering event such as a desire/need for a larger house, wanting to live in a certain area, job relocation and family concerns would occur that moved sellers into the next phase of the process.

From this point the selling process is about one year and includes three measurable phases:

Thinking about selling – 5.5 months
Researching a sale – 1.4 months
Actively selling – 2.4 months


Buyers also go through a period of up to four years during which they were somewhat aware that they “should” buy a home for a wide variety of reasons.

Like sellers, buyers did not enter into the measurable part of the process until after a specific triggering event, including wanting or needing a larger home, wanting the financial advantages of buying instead of renting, family reasons and job relocation.

Following the trigger event the home buying process takes an average of almost a year and a half (16.4 months), split into the following three measurable phases:

Thinking about buying – 7.1 months
Researching a purchase – 5.3 months
Actively looking for a home – 4.1 months

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