Realtor Advertising

I saw this post yesterday in the SF Chronicle’s blog “On The Block” and was really crazy about it! So much so that I’m reprinting the whole thing here. It’s right on…except for the part about ponying up commission! Enjoy.


Anna Marie Hibble

Disclaimer: I am not a Realtor. I speak as a buyer-to-be, always shopping not only for home, but for an agent who can get me in that home. And in choosing an agent, I trust most word of mouth: friends who love the person they worked with. What I trust least is actually what costs the agent most: visual advertisements.


Seriously not a good use of money

Now, house porn I get: we are looking to buy a house. We want to see the exterior, the interior. We want to imagine ourselves cooking something steamy and sinful in that glossy kitchen. We want to lounge in the that backyard, feeling the sunshine (magically captured in the photo) on our graying, coastal-climate skin. Sexy.

But why are agent self promotion ads also sexy? We do not expect to buy the agent, so his/her appearance is really far, far beside the point. Why the glam shot? Why that weird shine in the face? It just makes agents look plastic, made by Mattel-like, Barbies and Kens. Such a look does not engender trust, but rather the opposite, because no one in her right mind trusts Barbie, and especially not Ken.

Realtors are often posed in these photos in ways that bring to mind high school year books: chin on hand, wise expression. Also the text is apt to be hyperbolic: wild promises of dreams coming true and ending world hunger and such.


Holy, hallowed agent!

Let us be realistic, shall we? It is just real estate, not a religious conversion

Finally, the placement of these ads is often cause for mirth. Ads found at bus stops are targets for the cruelest graffiti tags, as miserable throngs awaiting an untimely N-Judah take out their rage with Sharpies. Now Barbie looks like Satan, Ken a cross dresser. Billboards, though higher off the ground, are no safer, as evidenced in the photo above.

My favorite pointless placements are in the small plastic squares that adorn shopping carts. These are particularly entertaining when the carts are captured by one of the more intrepid homeless, smattered with dirt and beer and less mentionables. In purest irony, one can just make out the ARE YOU IN NEED OF A HOME? tagline.


He does need a home- but not the way you mean

Oh, agent, save your money! What you spend on bad ads and stiff hair styles, you could offer in kick backs off your commission. Believe me, cash is a bigger draw than your visage, no matter how awesome the Photoshopping. Cheaper still: be ethical, practical, and convivial; thus, your conduct will be the kind of advertisement that really pays off.

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