Going Back to the Beginning

Once upon a time, there was a new real estate agent who had little idea what he wanted to do for marketing. And there was a beagle named Tobey.

Over the years, Tobey has been faded further into the background as I’ve sought a quote-unquote more professional look to the site, though once I figure out an appropriate place to put him other than in the ubiquitous avatar and the even more ubiquitous business card I’ll likely do so.

But when it came time for my first real estate mailer, a photograph taken earlier that same year simply clicked and thus a marketing concept was born.

This mailer was sent before there was a Zillow, before there was a Trulia, long before something called blogging became mainstream. I’d only had a website for a handful of months and social media as a concept did not yet exist.

What there was, however, were basic real estate truths – price your home right, get it marketed so the masses (especially other real estate agents) could see it and make sure no one needed a tetanus shot after walking in the front door.

Seven-odd years later, all of the above remains the same as it ever has.

We’re often told that the real estate industry has changed, much in the same tone as someone says they can’t get their grass to grow or their living room clean because it’s difficult to do so in this economy. And yet the changes really are little more than superficial.

Sure, there are more places than ever to advertise a home for sale. But if the home isn’t priced right and isn’t in decent condition (or at least price appropriate condition), it’s just not going to sell even if you plastered the address on the moon. (In really big letters, I might add … a 4 x 6 postcard sitting on Mare Tranquilis isn’t going to get you very far.)

This basic truth hasn’t changed. And it’s not going to change.

Real estate may not have changed very much but marketing certainly has. I dropped my last neighborhood mailer about five years ago, when the practice became rather cost-prohibitive for the extremely limited return involved. We agents love the “if you only get one deal out of it” argument but in time you come to realize it’s little different than the call of the carnie barkers telling you how simple it is to knock over the milk cans with a softball.

Tobey’s face isn’t blanketing the neighborhoods as it once did and his presence on the interwebs has declined. I might just have to see about that.

Editor’s note, to make the Department of Real Estate happy: the above is an old mailer; Century 21 Tradin Places has ceased to exist since September 2005. But hey, the phone number’s still good if you’d like to sell your house.

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at allphoenixrealestate.com.