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?

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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

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Re-Bloggged 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
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Topic:
Real Estate Technology & Tools
Groups:
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Rainer
51,311
Tom Scott
Re/Max MN Realtors and Real Estate Agent
Remax Advantage Plus

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
Rainmaker
148,283
Tanya Van Blake-Coleman
Improving the Quality of Your Life
Van Blake-Coleman Realty, St. Thomas/www.talk-to-Tanya.com

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
Rainer
283,064
Pete X-GRI, CDPE
Orange County, CA Investment to Luxury Property-

Wow thanks for the heads up.

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

September 11, 2012 11:52 PM
Rainmaker
1,296,215
Andrew Mooers
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker
MOOERS REALTY

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
Rainer
4,613
Jackie D'Elia
Broker Associate
RE/MAX Vintage

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
Anonymous
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Fran Gatti

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