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Tale of Two Real Estate Fliers

This was the post that I sat until until the property was officially listed.

what percentage of your estimated commission amount would you say a seller should be able to count on being used to market the his or her home…

It is an interesting question but I don’t think there is a way to answer it in a commission based model. Every Realtor is different. Let’s look at fliers. The first question you have to answer is, “are fliers a part of the Realtor’s service?” Nothing says there has to be a flier box on the sign post. If there is, there is no guarantee that there is a flier in it.

The minimal standard for a flier would be black and white on light weight paper. We use a color wax printer on a heavy grade glossy paper- the color does not run if (when) they get damp and the paper doesn’t shred.

This is our version of the flier for a listing.
Turner_nw_ryan_flier_2

This is the flier that was in the flier box when we first visited the property. It is a scan of the print flier. It was black and white. The hot tub and surround sound entertainment system had been removed.
Old_nw_ryan_flier

The flier doesn’t have to have pictures but most do. How were they produced? The two basic options for the Realtor are to take them yourself or outsource them. The only way the client can answer which is appropriate is to look at fliers the agent has previously produced. If the agent is taking the pictures, what care is taken? It took me over an hour to shoot the pictures for our new listing. Then I adjusted them using PhotoShop. I use a Nikon SLR on a tripod. The minimal standard here could be a disposable camera and about ten minutes to blow through the house. The properties flier uses six pictures. Here are some great examples of photos you hope aren’t a part of your listing.

Is the flier up-to-date? There is a liability issue here too. The old flier is inaccurate because it lists things no longer on the property. Every time we make a price change or something else changes in the listing, we print and deliver new fliers.

With everything we do, we have to address whether we do it ourselves or outsource it (I can save $33 by putting up my own signpost (though I have to own the post)) but it is not a good use of my time. I’d like to think of myself as an above average writer (you wouldn’t read this otherwise) but we have hired a copy writer to write a builder’s profile and we use licensed copy from First Books® on the TurnerRealtors.com website. At some level, and it depends on the situation, our color wax printer can’t cut it for marketing material. If there is a question about square footage, we have the house measured, in those cases, we use the floor plan on the back of the flier.

I clearly haven’t answered the underlying question but it should be obvious why. We’ve only looked at one small part of the listing and the breadth of what is possible is huge. The most important thing is to know what you Realtor is going to do for you.

20 Comments on “Tale of Two Real Estate Fliers

  1. As someone looking to buy a house in a year or so, it absolutely floors me how many empty boxes I see. I’m amazed sellers and their Realtors aren’t adamant about keeping those boxes full.

    Hmm, is it the case that fliers don’t initiate sales?

  2. We typically stop filling the flier box once the property is pending. Before that, we try to keep them there and fresh- even in nice weather they curl.

    In a vacant house, it is the agent’s responsibility to keep tabs. In an occupied, it is both the seller and the Realtor.

  3. I think what might be happening now is that houses are sitting on the market longer thus a chance for more curious passer-byers to snatch up a flier to see what the neighbor is selling for and to see the inside of their house!?!? IMHO

  4. “what percentage of your estimated commission amount would you say a seller should be able to count on being used to market the his or her home…”

    All of it! Including the cost for fliers at homes that don’t sell. For what else is in a selling contract to earn a commission? It’s not like a real estate agent earns a commission for massage therapy!

  5. If I deleted comments, haha’s would be gone as I can’t find anything comprehensible about it. Am I missing something?

    Fliers are very much like an open house. The first people to take fliers and the first to visit an open house are the neighbors. Nothing wrong with that.

  6. How much of the commission is not marketing related? The idea is to get the home sold, right? It’s a contract to sell and earn a commission from a sale. It’s not a contract for massage therapy, automotive repair, medical care, and so on. If the home does not sell, you do not get paid, regardless of the effort and expense expended, including the cost of fliers.

  7. All of it! is what was said in haha’s first comment. I read that as saying that the Realtor has no right to earn anything.

  8. I never said “the Realtor has no right to earn anything.” A Realtor should be paid to market a home, as a mechanic is paid to fix a car. Just as a mechanic that does not fix my car, a Realtor that does not sell my home has no right to earn anything.

    What Realtor is paid for message therapy or to repair a car. I would hope that all of the commission paid is for marketing a home.

    When I go get my car fixed, and I pay $100, how much is for fixing my car? (here is a hint for you: All of it!) This does not imply or mean that the mechanic is not paid.

    Maybe I am wrong. Charles, can you tell us for what do you earn a commission? What part of your earnings are from the marketing of real estate? (God help me, I hope you earn your money for marketing homes, and not for massage therapy.)

  9. A big chunk of money goes toward the ‘desk fee’. I have heard of 25K/yr desk fees!

  10. Not that I want to get into this debate again but lets look at this house on NW Ryan. Assume Charles gets 3% commission = $22,048.50.

    I am not sure of the break down, ie desk fees, etc but that is a big chunk of change for printing flyers, putting the house on RMLS and paying someone to plant a sign in the front yard…yeah, yeah, I know you do more, but dang, do you know how many hrs I would have to work as an RN for 22K!?

  11. Yes, marketing may include desk fees, fliers, sign posts, cameras, time to take photos, association dues, automotive expenses, open houses, blah, blah, blah… When you pay a commission, what part is for something other than marketing?

  12. An agent doesn’t get paid to market a property. Yes, they absolutely should market a property. Many of them cost money to print and distribute. Some do not. All involve the use of the agent’s time. His/her time is worth something.

    But on top of the marketing of a house, is the knowledge that an agent brings to the table. Knowledge that comes from selling multiple houses over an extended period of time. Knowledge of the Purchase contract and negotiate skills too.

    Some people will disagree with me on these points. For them I suggest trying to sell their home without any use of an agent. Go search Zillow and Craigslist for comps. Develop your own marketing plan. Be ready to show your home to a lot of lookyloos also not using an agent. Feel the pleasure of negotiating with other individuals that don’t wish to use an agent.

    There’s no law that I’m aware of that says an individual must pay a commission to an agent or anyone else to buy or sell a home.

  13. CHarles, you have expressed dismay with the current commission based pay. What do you think would be a fair system?

  14. When I go get my car fixed, and I pay $100, how much is for fixing my car? (here is a hint for you: All of it!) This does not imply or mean that the mechanic is not paid.

    Maybe I am wrong. Charles, can you tell us for what do you earn a commission? What part of your earnings are from the marketing of real estate? (God help me, I hope you earn your money for marketing homes, and not for massage therapy.)

    Sorry but this still makes no sense to me based on the question asked. 100% of my earnings are from selling real estate. Duh. What percentage of the total commission goes directly back into the marketing of the house (as was the question and the premise of the post) is a different story which I thought I had illustrated from the post above.

    CHarles, you have expressed dismay with the current commission based pay. What do you think would be a fair system?

    The seller should hire the listing agent for what the seller thinks the listing agent is worth and the buyer should hire their agent based on the same. The whole model has to shift in order for that to happen. Currently the seller determines what the buyer’s agent is worth. Clearly a flawed system. Under the current system, a buyer’s agent can get a contract with a buyer but it is the exception, not the norm because it is entrenched in the system. The contract should be the norm.

    I know you do more, but dang, do you know how many hrs I would have to work as an RN for 22K!?.

    Exactly why was my bill for 2hrs in the emergency room $2600 when all I left with was 2 liters of saline? Comparing gross v. net isn’t a comparison. With income like that, hospitals should have no issue with funding…

  15. Ok, Charles, let’s get real. From all your revenues last year, what percent did you earn from marketing efforts?

  16. Haha, define your definition of marketing revenue. It obviously ins’t the same as mine so there is no point in me answering the same question with my definition for the third time in one post.

  17. Here is where some of your $2600 went: salaries and benefits for the ER doc, the tech, the nurse, the unit coordinator, and the manager, plus all the folks above, ie, VP, CEO…then you have building maintainance (kind of like a HUGE old house), housekeeping to keep the blood from staining the walls and floors and keeping germs at bay. Then you have insurance in case you wanted to sue the hospital for giving you the wrong fluids (which they did not, in your case). Then you have supplies (minimum in your case, needle, saline, tubing, barf bucket)

    Now the feds are requiring that we go paperless…I have no idea what it is costing to get computers throughout the hospital in each room plus the software…

    Then you add into care for the thousands of uninsured in Oregon…

    Wanna break down your 22K fro selling a house?!?!

  18. Thank you bearlee for making my point. OHSU has overhead. 100% of the care providing revenue does not go into providing me care.

    A partial list:

    • Desk fee (maxes out annually).
    • Franchise fee ((paid on every transaction) includes errors and omissions insurance)). 
      Does your Realtor have E&O insurance? I’m also sure that OHSU gets sued even when they give the right solutions. Same with Realtors.
    • Computers and related equipment
    • Vehicle costs (we’ve been ’round this)
    • Insurance (additional because we put clients in our cars & a personal
      umbrella policy)
    • License fees (NAR, RMLS, PMAR, OAR)
    • Marketing (for future clients)
    • Communication devices
    • Prudential Northwest Properties technology package (the shell for
      http://www.TurnerRealtors.com website,
      HomeFinder, Property Investment Proflie, Fax-to-Email, etic).
    • http://www.PortlandRealEstateBlog.com has a very low dollar cost but a HUGE time cost.

    That’s seems like a good illustrative start considering at this point in the example we haven’t met a client or considered putting a sign in the yard. Could some of the costs above be cut or eliminated? Yes. Would doing so reduce customer service? Yes.

    If bearlee does her job flawlessly and the patient dies, she still gets paid. If bearlee is my client and OHSU lays her off the day before closing and therefore the lender refuses to fund the loan and the transaction dies I don’t get a dime even though I performed my job flawlessly.

  19. Will you do 1.5 percent listings, Charles? I used an agent who did, and sold two houses in the last six years, and both worked out well. Cut my expenses considerably. He has all the expenses you have listed above.

    What, I’m going to pay an agent 3.3 percent of a 325K sale because he uses a color wax printer for my fliers and lets me ride in his car? Gimmie a break.

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