To Pay or Not to Pay… That Is the Question

May 03 2013

vowDid you know that it's only in the United States that a real estate broker or agent can post a listing on a national portal for free? It's true – in most other countries you have to pay to put your listing online, just like we used to pay for a listing in the newspaper.

But that doesn't mean that you will always get the leads from these websites without paying. But hey, we don't get the leads from our listings on broker and agent IDX websites, do we? So what's the difference? I guess it depends on how you look at this. Some brokers feel that they should be entitled to the leads from their listings, whereas other brokers feel that their main responsibility is to increase the chances of attracting a buyer to the property, regardless of who brings the buyer.

That's up to you to decide, but for those of us who do send our listings to these sites, we can all benefit from asking the question, "How do I get the biggest bang for my buck?" or even, "How can I get the biggest bang for free?"

Let's start with the free stuff. You owe it to yourself to setup a profile on these websites so that you'll show up looking good next to your listings, and increase your chances of getting the lead. This is a no-brainer, and we have an article that explains how to do thisarticle that explains how to do this.

Obviously you're going to get the biggest bang for your buck with paid enhancements. Just be careful. Make your decisions based on value and real data. Here are a few things to watch out for.

First, don't rely too heavily on national numbers for traffic on these sites. Every site performs dramatically differently depending on the region, property type, and other factors, so using national statistics will be really misleading.

Second, the reports that each site provides to you directly might also be confusing. Because our industry has never agreed on standards for measuring traffic for real estate listings, each website just uses their own definitioneach website just uses their own definition. It's not possible to compare the sites fairly unless you have a neutral report that counts traffic the same way across all sites.

listhub neutral reportWhether you're an agent or a broker, it's easy to get a neutral report on the property views and leadsneutral report on the property views and leads you get from these publisher sites for as little as $39/month per company. It's a great insurance policy to make sure that you're betting on the right horse with your hard-earned marketing dollars.

Finally, be sure to pay attention to all of the data points in your reports. Don't choose based solely on how many property views you get from each site, because the quality of that traffic (which is indicated in part by what percentage of them turn into leads) can vary dramatically from site to site.

Brokers and agents with any size budget can benefit from these tips. There is a lot to be gained from partnering with these websites... Just as long as you don't participate with your eyes closed!