Print is Dead … The Proof

Jonathan Dalton, Phoenix Real Estate AgentLani passed this one along to me today …

The New York Times is eliminating 100 newsroom jobs this year.  This goes hand-in-hand with the hiring freeze already in place at other newspapers including our own vainglorious local, the Arizona Republic.

Why post this on a real estate blog? Because sellers still are seduced by the idea of a print advertisement in the weekend real estate section, or the allure of a color photo in a glossy real estate magazine. They’re currently trying to pimp such a magazine in my own office as we speak; it can help secure a listing but doesn’t do much to sell a house.

The logic’s easy to follow. Newspapers are driven by advertising revenues (subscription numbers are far less relevant from a pure income standpoint but rather only as they impact what advertisers will pay). Fewer readers means declining ad income. And that means fewer readers are buying the paper to see the ad for your home.

Real estate agents are the least reactive of all newspaper advertisers. Many will keep on with the same tired techniques long after everyone else placing ads has figured out there’s next to no return on investment.

This also should be a cautionary tale for unrepresented sellers trying to “save” a few bucks on a commission. Few people see the sign in the yard. An increasingly smaller pool are looking in the newspapers to see your print ad. Those websites that offer to advertise have almost no traffic, at least not compared to the big boys.

One quirk of life at RE/MAX is I can enter any listing into the system and it will appear on Unrepresented sellers, too. There’s a far better return to go online in a visible location, as all of the big advertisers have discovered.

[tags]real estate marketing, Phoenix real estate[/tags]

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


  • Jeff Brown 10 years ago

    >…it can help secure a listing but doesn’t do much to sell a house.

    Reminds me of my first years in the business on your side of the aisle. I’d hold open houses to get listings.

    Do you know of any reliable data on the magazines’ ability to produce new listings? It sounds more than plausible.

    So much of the house side of real estate is based on perception of the buyer/seller as opposed to reality. In my experience it was the open house. I knew the home wasn’t gonna sell via that method, but the seller and best of all their neighbors believed otherwise. As I worked on Sundays the listings piled up due to the perception of how hard I was marketing. To this day it remains the most delicious irony.

  • Jonathan Dalton 10 years ago

    I probably should do them for that part of it, picking up listings, but just don’t.

  • Charles Woodall 10 years ago

    It’s funny, I got a letter from our local paper in January stating that their circulation was up 6%. About a week later, I got the same letter again. You think they were trying to drive home a point? 🙂

    I have resigned myself to the fact that as long as real estate sections in newspapers and real estate magazines exist, sellers are going to expect agents to use them. Like you said, they are a somewhat useful listing tool.

  • Angela Foley 10 years ago

    I’m a REALTOR in the DC Metro area. I spent thousands and thousands of dollars, idiot that I am on newspaper advertising last year. The only leads I got were in response to rental properties. None of the listings I had for sale, got very little, if any, response.

    The web is definitely the way to go.