Chicago, June 12, 2008 - VHT, Inc., a leading provider of visual marketing services, has released the results of its exclusive survey of agents' and brokers' marketing activities. With more than 1,300 respondents, the survey provides a national, multi-tiered look at how real estate professionals allocate marketing dollars for print, television, direct mail and online marketing activities.
"Our clients have been asking us how to be more aggressive in their marketing activities," said Brian Balduf, CEO of VHT, Inc. "They have been wondering how their counterparts are marketing properties and trying to find a benchmark for their marketing budgets. The answers were not out there, until now."
The survey shows that agents who have been around longer - more than five years - represented higher priced listings and spent more money, on average, marketing those properties - $864 per listing. Respondents with less than five years experience spent, on average, $675 per listing.
"The survey showed that the longer an agent is in the business the more likely they are to: represent more properties, have higher priced listings and spend more on interactive media," said Balduf. "Savvy agents also realize that quality visual content, like video and professional photography, reap a much higher return on marketing investments. For more than a few years, consumers have been leading the way online, but the survey shows the real estate industry, as a whole, is still slow to go there."
According to the survey responses, agents are confused about the myriad of choices, both online and offline, and in traditional and non-traditional media, in which to invest their marketing dollars. Additionally, the responses indicate real estate professionals are not able to find much information before or after their media purchase to provide a benchmark for property programs. According to the agents and brokers surveyed, the biggest challenge facing professionals is the ability to track results, manage multiple input forms, and retype listing information for a variety of media services.
Respondents indicated that only half of their media partners provided statistics to track the response and effectiveness of their media purchase. In the detailed responses to the survey questionnaire, many agents expressed "frustration" or a "strong desire" to have a one-stop, one-click solution for their media purchase, collateral printing and asset distribution needs.
"The need for a media portal is something we have been addressing for some time and are in the process of significantly ramping up for our clients" said Balduf.
• 1,304 respondents
• Respondents were evenly distributed in terms of real estate experience. 34 percent had 2-5 years of experience; 23.8 percent had 5-10 years of experience; and 38.6 percent had 10+ years of experience
• In the past year, 30 percent of agents managed 5-10 listings; 34.8 percent managed between 10-20 listings; and 20.6 percent managed 20 or more listings.
• The average listing price for 59 percent of the agents was between $250-500k. 23.2 percent had listings in the $500k-$1M+ range; 8.9 percent had listings worth less than $250k; and 8.9 percent had average listings worth more than $1M.
• 24.5 percent of agents/brokers spent an average of $250-$500 to market their listing; 20.6 percent spent $500-$1,000; 25.2 percent spent more than $1,000 and 18.8 percent said it depended on the listing.
• 90 percent of respondents said they used brochures for marketing their listing; 88.8 percent utilized postcards; and 83.3 percent used newspapers. 41.1 percent stated that they purchased TV ads.
• While respondents indicated a significant portion of their listing budget was spent on newspapers, only 20.4 percent said they think this medium is "effective." 49 percent felt that online ads were "very effective."
• Agents felt that online ads and signage are "more valuable" for promoting a property. But when asked what their sellers felt was important, 92.4 percent said that their sellers mentioned newspaper ads.
• 39 percent of agents have an average of 5-10 different destinations for their listing. 24.5 percent have 10-20 different destinations.
• Realtor.com, CraigsList and Google were the top national Websites used by agents.
• When asked how their media buying process could be improved, 27 percent said they needed an "easier" process; 16 percent replied that they wanted "more statistics"; and 18 percent stated they need a one-stop distribution mechanism.
• There was a direct correlation between the amount an agent spent to market a property and the value of the property. For listings in the $250-500k range, agents spent on average $682/listing. Agents with properties in the $1M-2.5M spent on average $1,742/listing.
• The longer an agent is in business, the greater the value of the properties they list. Those with 2-5 years had listings in the $490k range while those with 10+ years had average listings of $600k in value.
VHT provides professional production, management and distribution of visual content - including photographs, video, multimedia tours and Video on Demand television spots - for more than $1.5 billion in properties for 3,500 clients and 75,000 individual marketers of real estate, hospitality, locations and destinations. VHT's production services include the creation of visual content by VHT's nationwide team of professional photographers and videographers as well as the award-winning editors and image specialists at VHT Studios. VHT's ImageWorks™ visual asset management services provide for the resizing, reformatting, repurposing, tracking and distribution of visual assets for use in all media.