Can unusual — and even cost effective — tactics work in the property game?

People tend to research the local property market when considering buying or selling, and we discuss this in our free guide to selling property, which you can download by subscribing to our website. If you’re at this research stage of the buying or sales process, then you may have come across a property listing like the one below; advertised by Love Realty in the Newcastle-Lake Macquarie region of New South Wales.

A property advertised by Love Realty, without any photography.

A property advertised by Love Realty, without any photography.

Listings like these tend to stand out; they are unusual because the agent hasn’t uploaded any photographs of the property. All that’s included is a description of the home’s main features and a price guide. For a lot of buyers, this could be irritating or off-putting, particularly since we’ve all grown pretty accustomed to being able to click through a number of photos and get a pretty good idea of what the property looks like before inspecting it.

There are two main reasons for not putting any photos on the web — and it’s not because the agent or owner necessarily has anything to hide. The first is to help save the vendor money on the cost of photography, which can sometimes cost a few thousand dollars; the second, which we’ll discuss in another post, is a hangover from the days of print advertising that’s now become a marketing tactic.

Why save money on photography?

For a property valued at a million dollars, a few thousands dollars for photography fits nicely within that vendor’s marketing budget of around one percent. But for a property sitting at the lower end of the market, a few thousand dollars on photography will usually exceed it.

In the old days of real estate advertising, before the internet came along, you had a boatload of advertising options that suited a variety of vendor budgets: classified advertising, newsprint display advertising, and gloss display advertising. You also had the choice of advertising in your local community newspaper or your big regional or metropolitan daily one.

Classifieds were very inexpensive, and closely mirrored online advertising in their pricing structures, where you could choose to pay a few dollars per line or to buy a ‘run it till you sell it’ package. In the case of display advertising, this was more expensive, depending on the stock, but you did have the choice of different ad sizes, usually ranging from 2 modules right up to 16 (a newspaper consists of 16 modules per page).

There are fewer advertising options today than a decade ago

Today, although there are more places to advertise, you have just one advertisement option: a property listing, typically on the one of the two property websites. And although has three different pricing tiers — feature, highlight and premier listings — these are, in internet speak, the same as preferred page positioning, which just gurantee your ad will appear in a certain position for as long as you’re willing to pay for it.

If, a decade ago, vendors with a home valued at around $300,000 couldn’t afford much more than a series of classified ads, which didn’t require any photography, it’s fair to say that vendors today with a $300,000 property are still in the same boat, and so they put their home online without any photographs.

You need a skilled agent representing you

Of course, if your home is valued at being on the lower end of the property market, say around $300,000, then it’s fair to say you probably don’t live in Sydney, where the average house price has tipped the scales at a million dollars, but live somewhere in regional Australia instead, like the property advertised by Love Realty, which was located in Teralba near Lake Macquarie in NSW. In which case, your advertising options have really only changed — from print to online — but haven’t really decreased, as they have in the city.

In regional communities, property has always tended to stay on the market longer and had fewer advertising options available, so it’s commonplace for an agent to try and make their marketing budgets go further, by using a range of low-cost options, like basic signboards, flyers and brochures, email marketing, advertising in their shop windows, and property ads without expensive photography.

Agents in regional communities often work harder to sell their listings (which is why agent commissions are often higher) because they have fewer resources available to help them, although the internet has helped stretch marketing dollars a little further. Now, one listing on Domain can be seen by anyone in Australia, and easily. It’s regional vendors who really are the only ones who’ve benefited from this, since people in the city only move an average of 9 kilometres from their previous residence.

More than ever, selecting the right agent to represent you is crucial to the successful sale of your home. For more information on selling property in Australia, including selecting an agent and understanding your marketing options, download our free education guide, called Selling Your Property: What You Really Need to Know, by subscribing to our website. Alternatively, for more property market news, insights and analysis, continue reading our blog.  

As seen in..

Our educational blogs are designed to help you understand each of the steps involved in selling your property so whether you choose to work with a real estate agent or do it yourself you'll understand the work involved and be more efficient and aware of what you need to do. Our articles have been seen in these major online news and information portals..

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