Are REALTOR.COM Enhancements Worth the Money?

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Coastal Redwoods
  • questionAre REALTOR.com enhancements worth the money?

Hell Heck no.  At least that is my observation.

I drove 2 hours one way to go to a seminar put on by REALTOR.com.  It was being billed as valuable information to show the agent how to:

 

Leverage the changes in your local market

Target expired listings with a proved marketing plan

Make your current listings be seen first and more often

Make your local expertise more relevant to sellers

Leverage multiple photos and new video listing tours to generate more showings

I had received several emails over the course of 3 weeks each building up the seminar.  One of the first emails had, "Important seminar on Social Networking," in the subject line. 
 
Consider:

  • Active Rain was not mentioned once the entire 4 hours
  • Twitter was mentioned in passing
  • We were given 10 minutes of instruction on Facebook
  • The rest of the seminar was nothing more than the speaker selling REALTOR.com enhancement systems

I have one of REALTOR.coms enhancement systems, which gives me more photos, increased description space, my photo on the listing, a virtual tour link and a few more items, which are designed to sell my listings.  Do I find these enhancements worth the money?  Absolutely not.  I can not attribute one sale to these enhancements.  I rarely get a lead from realtor.com, less than one a month, and only one click through a week to my website.  For this lack of ROI (return on my investment) I pay more for these "enhancements" than for any other form of marketing (other than my website, which more than pays for itself).

Am I being too hard on REALTOR.com?  Nope. Actually, I'm not being hard enough.  I talked with an agent who pays $3000 a year for REALTOR.com enhancements.  She strongly felt that they were not increasing her business, but that enhancing listings on REALTOR.com is one of the necessary evils of being an agent. Everyone is doing it, so you need to also to "be in the game." 

Did I mention REALTOR.com is owned by the N.A.R., the trade association every REALTOR belongs to (pays dues to). One of the major perks of belonging to the N.A.R. is our listings are on REALTOR.com (well, actually all MLS listings are on REALTOR.com). Our listings do not have our name, any extra photos above what is in the MLS listing, or any other information that will lead the consumer to the agent, UNLESS WE PAY TO ENHANCE (what a great trade association, that has no qualms about taking it's members money to do what it should be doing because we PAY DUES).  Well, we at least have the great N.A.R. T.V. commercials letting everyone in the U.S. know that the housing market is really much rosier than Americans think (puhh-leaze).

Consider:

  • Year to date, I have sold more listings in number and volume than any other agent in my market
  • I can not attribute any of these sales to REALTOR.com and believe me, I track this stuff
  • 8/10 of a % or 1 out of 116 hits on my website is from REALTOR.com
  • 43% of the hits to my website are from my participation on Active Rain
  • I CAN DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTE 2 OF MY LARGEST CLOSINGS THIS YEAR TO MY ACTIVITIES ON ACTIVE RAIN.
  • Joe Sesso, the speaker at the "Social Networking" seminar did not once mention the largest real estate social networking site on the internet (Active Rain).  Why? Could it be because it is free and not linked financially (as far as I know) to REALTOR.com?

Do I seem cynical? Yes I do.  About one quarter of the people in that seminar got up and ran to purchase enhancements being sold at exorbitant rates. Only a handful of agents in the room had their own website (Joe asked for a show of hands). If the agents purchasing REALTOR.com products put the money they spent that day into a website and blogging, they would realize a much better return on their investment. We all know the staggering statistics on how many consumers visit realtor.com each month (as told by realtor.com), yaddah, yaddah.  I've talked with enough agents (and have my own experience) to know that those stats do not a sale make. 

I was extremely disappointed that I drove 4 hours round trip for a bait and switch seminar that was billed as social networking and was nothing more than REALTOR.com selling their wares (that do not in my opinion, work). 

I would love to hear from anyone out there that feels their ROI on realtor.com is worth it.  Please mention which enhancements you pay for, if you can attribute sales to these enhancements and, if you don't mind, how much you pay annually for these enhancements.

My success so far this year is linked to my free activities on Active Rain, Twitter, Trulia, Zillow, Google Base, my website and my blog, my blog, my blog, along with giving really outstanding customer service and working full-time. 

Joe Sesso mentioned, "If you aren't blogging, you should." That was the extent of talking about blogging at a social networking seminar.  You tell me?  Was that seminar a waste of time or what?

Posted by

 

GOOGLE ME

                       

Thank you for stopping by. Your comments on this post are welcomed and appreciated.
No one sold more homes in Del Norte County in 2012 than Fran Gatti. Put Fran to work for you!

 

 Fran Gatti

Brought to you by Fran Gatti at  REMAX
No one works harder for you! 
Bus: 707-464-5400, Cell: 707-218-8162
Email: frangatti@remax.net
Website: FranGatti.com
My Blog: Fran's Blog
RDCPro®, CDPE®
CA lic 01723796

*PER DNAOR-MLS

close

Re-Blogged 4 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Ron Jenkins 05/25/2009 10:07 PM
  2. Andy Rogers 05/26/2009 07:43 PM
  3. Jodi Wallis 05/28/2009 05:07 PM
  4. Sandy McAlpine 06/01/2009 07:27 AM
Topic:
Real Estate Technology & Tools
Groups:
Internet Lead Generation-How Best To Capture Your Audience
Learn to be a Top Producing Listing Agent
Rainmaking - Internet Marketing Strategies
RE/MAX Active Rain Bloggers
The Art Of Marketing You
Tags:
crescent city ca real estate professional
remax agent
real estate agent info

Anonymous
Post a Comment
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the envelope to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the clock to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Show All Comments
Rainmaker
191,173
Joy Carter & Jeff Booker Brother and Sister Team
Keller Williams Partners Realty-GreatFloridaHomes Team - Plantation, FL
Trust Your Family's Move To Our Expertise!

Thank goodness our office picks up the Realtor.com tab, because it sure IS NOT Worth it.  5 leads a year and no sales from it and we have all of the enhancements.  I say Thank goodness, because regardless of the sites we send our sellers to...they still look for themselves on Realtor.com

September 04, 2009 11:34 AM #314
Rainmaker
20,537
Scott Haigh
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Cleveland Heights, OH

Hello Everyone,

I've been a realtor for 3 years and have had to watch my expenses.  If my investment in a product does not pay for itself in a year or two I terminate them.  Realtor.com enhancements, YOUR FIRED!

Scott Haigh

September 09, 2009 09:12 PM #315
Anonymous
Anonymous
Scott Carlton

Going back after some long while away from AR, I noticed the message from "wideloan".

 

The reader having taken issue with the post, reacted in a rash and emotional fashion rather than just sticking to his/her facts.

Assuming the group of REALTORS that were less than satisfied with the product/value from REALTOR.com were unsuccessful leads me to believe that this is personal and not business to that individual. SOMEONE is successful with any lasting program out there. The question is: Is this providing the value for my marketing dollar that I need to justify continuing?

 

If the answer is no, than they will either discontiue or find another way to use that venue. They also have a right to voice their opinions or experiences. That doesn't mean it is the same for everyone.

Remember:

It isn't always what you have but how you use it that matters.

 

If there is a REALTOR that is experiencing success with the product or a Representative that takes issue with the post, they should be happy to be seeing success and not making generalizations about those who are not satisfied with the experience. This isn't going to win any opinions over but further alienate the blogger here and really causes a loss of credibility.

What works for one may not be a fit for another. This goes for all venues of marketing, especially if it requires specific actions or strategies on the part of the Agent themselves.

Give 15 people an identical hammer and a nail and tell them to drive it into an identical 2x4 and you will get 15 different results.

October 09, 2009 12:31 PM #316
Rainer
23,507
Jerry L. Van Blaricom
King Realty Team - McKinney, TX

My wife Kari (and fellow REALTOR) tried the skyscraper ad through realtor.com (think it's called Featured Agent or something like that).  You choose an available area and your ad is shown at a rate of 1 out of every 10 or something along those lines.  At the time (about a year ago), they made you lock in to it for 12 months for like $230/mo (or close to that at the time) but looks like you can choose to do it for less time now.  She only got one lead from it but luckily it was a good one and we ended up making money from it - but we wouldn't try it again.  Unfortunately, realtor.com still receives the most visits for real estate related web sites - far surpassing the others.  What's really disappointing to me is that you have to contact them to get pricing on the products and endure the "hard sell".  Since we're REALTORS, why can't we at least have access to the pricing details upfront so we can determine if we want to pursue the products before talking to a salesperson?  Granted, the pricing varies based on location, etc., but all of that can be easily displayed through an automated system online.

November 14, 2009 12:32 AM #317
Rainer
22,415
Pat Walmsley
Lake Keowee Real Estate - Seneca, SC
REALTOR, 30 Years Experience

And if you agree to pay monthly rather than all at once, don't be fooled into thinking you dont't have a years contract cause you DO!

I was moving from Fl to SC so I asked if I paid the higher amount by the month if I could cancel anytime when I moved and got back into business later and over and over they said yes.

But not so....finally after 6 months they let me out and said well we will do so because our policy is that you have to complete 6 months. Wherever all that is written?

November 21, 2009 08:42 PM #318
Rainmaker
1,353,308
Sam Miller
RE/MAX Stars Realty - Howard, OH
Knox County Ohio

The Realtor.com traffic reports that I have viewed are a joke.  Next time you look at one of your reports pay special attention to the current week and the graph.  Generally your report will show you and your clients a partial week traffic / views but it lists the report as an entire week.  This tends to make your current weekly graph appear as if the market and your web traffic is dropping off.  

Most agents who truly track their business will tell you that Realtor.com is not much more than a listing tool and it does a very poor job of generating buyer sales.  Agents would be better served to take their annual Realtor.com budget and invest it into other online marketing where the business comes directly to you and you are not competing with all the other vendors.  If you just took your money and invested it into Pay Per Clicks for your personal site you would be better off than dumping your money off at Realtor.com.  

I will say that the original Realtor.com that allowed HTML posting was a tool we were able to leverage and convert buyers from.  Once they killed the HTML they weakened their own product and it seems like at that time they no longer viewed us as clients but as simply cash flow.  

Sam Miller

December 01, 2009 04:37 PM #319
Rainmaker
79,821
David Laven
Keller Williams Realty Boston Metro - Boston, MA

Brilliant Post.  I also like your call to action buttons

February 22, 2010 01:02 AM #320
Rainmaker
124,252
Marty & Laurie Gale
Utah Realty Source - UtahTeam.com - South Jordan, UT
Utah Realtors - RealEstateSource.com -

I subscribe to realtor.com for my Listing exposure. But sometimes I wonder if it is worth it.

May 14, 2010 10:16 AM #322
Rainer
8,699
The Willingham Team ~ MDR Condos
MDR Condos - Marina del Rey - Marina del Rey, CA

Awesome.  Thank you for re-affirming my thoughts.

I've been inundated with calls from the salesman at REALTOR.com, he is probably only calling to renew the service because our credit card changed.  If someone wants to see more than 4 photos they can just copy and paste the address.  $1,500 is way too much to pay for having extra pictures and your office logo in the upper right hand corner.  Why is Zillow free?  Why is Trulia free?  Realtor.com is around because they are funded by agents and other advertisers.  That's crap, they should be paying us for keeping their site in the ranks.

June 03, 2010 01:15 PM #323
Rainer
123,255
Carol Ryniewicz
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Woodstock, CT
Associate Broker - CT & MA

Great article and I love the comments!

August 10, 2010 07:19 PM #324
Rainmaker
156,802
George Bennett
Inactive - Port Orford, OR
Inactive Principal Broker, GRI

Fran, I agree 100%. When my listings were featured they sent me monthly reports on the number of views each of my listings garnered. Over 3 months they reported several thousand views but all of this hoopla didn't produce one buyer. Lesson learned.

March 28, 2011 02:29 AM #325
Rainer
210,898
James Loftis
Real Estate 911 Inc - Hollywood, FL
Real Estate 911 Inc

Gave up on Realtor.com advertising a long time ago. 

September 05, 2011 01:49 PM #326
Rainer
12,975
May Lei Suen
Investco Realty - Miami Beach, FL

Hi Fran,

I enjoyed reading your post. I agree that the products Realtor.com has are not worth the money. I was initially searching for information on realtor.com's marketsnap shot to see if any Activerain users have had good success with the product and I ran across this post. About 4 months ago I did purchase through Realtor.com a banner ad in my area. I was explained that it would take about 7 to 10 days for design and then I would have traffic to my website. It actually took about 1 month for the design and 2 months along I had absolutely zero hits to my website or leads. I complained and threatened to call and submit a complaint to the Better Business Bureau and they finally cancelled my contract and was refunded my money. If anyone has any information on MARKET SNAPSHOT with realtor.com please let me know. 

December 10, 2011 04:53 PM #327
Rainer
51,311
Tom Scott
Remax Advantage Plus - Shakopee, MN
Re/Max MN Realtors and Real Estate Agent

I am in Minnesota and a large broker in our marketplace pulled ALL their listings from Realtor.com and Trulia to make a point they won't have third party sites sell back to them .I understand their viewpoint, but as a competitior, super easy to point out reason they should list with us. I agree, heavy blogging generates a ton of leads. I did find your artilce though because I was thinking of getting the market snapshot to enhance my website with data. Anyone else do this?

December 26, 2011 09:48 PM #328
Rainmaker
151,233
Tanya Van Blake-Coleman
Van Blake-Coleman Realty, St. Thomas/www.talk-to-Tanya.com - St Thomas, VI
Improving the Quality of Your Life

I know this is an old post but still very useful as I make decisions on where I am going to spend my advertising dollars for 2012. I will double my efforts on Active Rain after reading this post and comments.

January 03, 2012 09:05 AM #329
Rainmaker
347,626
Pete X-Investment to Luxury, Huntington Beach, CA -GRI-MCNE 714.459.2017 OCLister.com
X Group Real Estate Advocates - Huntington Beach, CA
Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide

Wow thanks for the heads up.

As for the spam, I'll help with that.

September 11, 2012 11:52 PM #330
Rainmaker
1,349,513
Andrew Mooers
MOOERS REALTY - Houlton, ME
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Like anything, nothing is forever or stays top dog. The ROI on time to use the enhancements, the cost of them...could it be better spent elsewhere? Build your own instead of throwing money at something for a quick fix is what is happening as agents, brokers get smart, more savvy with their own stand alone mediastreams.

August 29, 2013 06:48 AM #440
Rainer
5,268
Jackie D'Elia
SAVVY + CO REAL ESTATE - Charlotte, NC
Broker, REALTOR®

I could not agree more. I went to one of the seminars and signed up for one year. The biggest tell is they force you to sign a one year contract. Total waste of money. The fact that REALTOR.COM does not even show the listing agent's name without paying is ridiculous. The site is called REALTOR.COM and yet the go out of their way to avoid publishing the listing agents name.  

 

September 11, 2013 01:56 PM #442
Rainer
9,657
Sam Shueh
Keller Wms Cupertino (408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

We put money where the return comes back to.

Like Zilliow some agent is willing to block zipcodes or have presence everywhere. No wonder Zillow stock price is soaring...

 

Sam Shueh

KW realty

No California

June 21, 2014 10:26 AM #443
Rainmaker
268,409
Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker
Team Linda Simmons, Enterprise, AL 36330 - Enterprise, AL
email: Travis@theSOLDman.me / cell: 334-494-7846

WOW - original post is from 2009. I get good results from RDC Co-broke program and am starting to use Market Snapshot more. The extra photos - our Broker wants them, but many Agents don't use them. Waste of $$. RDC said we're not using them correctly...

June 21, 2014 08:29 PM #444
Anonymous
Post a Comment
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the camera to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Show All Comments
Ambassador
248,547

Fran Gatti

Realtor, CDPE, RDCPro - Crescent City CA Real Esta
Get More Information About Del Norte County Real Estate NOW!
*
*
*
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the woman to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Additional Information