Titles, Trophies and Testimonials: the Sorry State of Real Estate Advertising

Ed. Note.  Move Smartly is pleased to welcome Carl Minicucci and his insightful commentary to our blog.  Carl is a sales representative with Humber Valley Realty in Vaughan and is active in the real estate industry.  He has a professional background in accounting and business.

Carl in Real Estate Trends

As a member of the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) finance committee, I always look forward to monthly updates of membership statistics. Certainly, there is a direct correlation between the swelling numbers of new registrants over the past number of years and the corresponding strength of the real estate market.

According to the TREB, for the year 2007, there were approximately 93,200 total residential unit sales and approximately 26,800 registered members as at year’s end. Five years earlier, for the year 2002, there were approximately 74,800 total sales and 18,100 registrants. The net result is a decrease in average unit sales per registrant of about 16%.

The above trend arguably is a contributing factor to the overall proliferation of media advertising among Realtors. From billboards, bus shelters and balloons to trade journals, television and tried and true ad-mail, traditional advertising continues to prevail. Add to that the exponential growth of on-line marketing and Web 2.0 and you begin to appreciate the breadth of media being used by Realtors in their efforts to capture consumer attention.

As the amount of overall advertising increases, so (it seems) does the amount of ostentatious, overbearing and dare I say, narcissistic copy which adorns the chosen medium. The resultant escalation in exaggerated advertising has actually led to regulatory involvement.

In its mandate to enhance professionalism and increase consumer protection, the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) released Advertising Guidelines in conjunction with the new Real Estate and Business Broker’s Act of 2002 which came into force on March 31, 2006. As part of these Guidelines, the topics of Advertising Claims, Promises and Statements are specifically addressed. (A complete copy can be found HERE.)

Unfortunately, this type of advertising undermines the level of sophistication of today’s consumer. Today’s consumer is resourceful and street savvy and increasingly in demand of a value proposition. The days of the hard sell and push marketing are numbered.

Realtors ought to spend less time sharing their Titles, Trophies and Testimonials. Today’s consumers deserve trustworthy and unbiased information. They are less interested in knowing about you as much as what-you-can-do-for-them.

Carl Minicucci is a Sales Representative at Humber Valley Realty (1997) Limited in Vaughan. Email Carl

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