How to improve relationships with your real estate advertisers

July 11, 2017

By Janet DeGeorge
Owner | Classified Executive Training

Why is it that so many newspapers have a love/hate relationship with their real estate advertisers? Classified real estate advertising usually makes up one-third or more of the classified inches. How do we keep this large segment of our advertising happy and healthy?

What do real estate agents want from newspapers? That’s easy. They want us to get their phones to ring. Newspapers don’t sell homes; real estate agents sell homes. Our job at the newspaper is to provide an advertising atmosphere of service and results. And results to real estate agents means we get their phones ringing with not only home buyers, but more importantly, home sellers.

Here are just five ways you can improve relationships with these very important clients.



So many newspapers are blind to the fact that their real estate product should be coffee table perfect. It is our job to get our readers to notice the real estate section and want to pull it out and look through it. This means you must have a stand-alone real estate section. No matter how small the market, there is always enough going on in real estate to provide a weekly and/or monthly product you can be proud of. Is the cover of the product something that will make any reader stop, look and be compelled to look further into the product?

What about online? Don’t spend more than you need to. They all do the same thing—search the multiple listing service. Check out at $295 a month turnkey. An example of the product is at That is less than $10 a day and, they will design it to match your print product for online/print synergy.



Hopefully you have more in your real estate section than ads. When your precious readers look to your newspaper to find their new dream home, they are also looking for pertinent information to help them with their decision, in print and online.

Q&As are always a big hit with readers. Where do you get these? From the real estate agents themselves. Have weekly Free Realtor™ Profiles, a nice half-page with a great glamour shot and Q&As on why that real estate agent loves his or her job. Readers love this format.

Always be promoting the board of Realtors™ and use a real estate agent to sell a home. Your board will have great articles on its site to use as fillers or a weekly story. The key is, keep it as local as possible for the most reader interest.



If you are not completely sure what all those terms mean when it comes to your real estate section, it’s time you learned.

A real estate agent is a person licensed by the Department of Real Estate to handle real estate sales. A broker, also licensed by the state, is the person who may own a real estate company or who has overall responsibility for the agent’s actions. The agent or broker will have had to take real estate courses and pass an exam before he or she could become licensed to practice. Real estate agents are the foot soldier of the real estate business. They show the houses and get the listings. An agent must have a state license and be supervised by a real estate broker.

There are also hundreds of “independent” real estate agents in every market who are not connected with big-name companies like Coldwell Banker or ReMax. And often, no one from the newspaper contacts them because they do not have the “big name.” This is a big mistake as often it is the independent real estate agent that has more need to advertise their services and their listings to the mainstream market.

Learn more about Realtors™ at This site is jam packed with information that is important to the success of a Realtor.



Unless you are in a small community with few homes for sale, I suggest you have an outside sales rep dedicated to real estate, apartment rentals, new homebuilding and mortgage services (banks, title companies, mortgage brokers, etc.). Because real estate can be a high-maintenance category, it is also important to have an inside sales staff dedicated to real estate. Although your outside reps often only have time to build relationships with the major companies in town, your inside reps could be working with the hundreds of independent realtors in your market.

Your outside rep should work at building strong relationships with the real estate community, attend the real estate board meetings and get involved in their charity events. Both the classified manager and advertising director (and whenever possible, the publisher), should have quarterly meetings with the top brokers of their market, as well as the Board of Realtor president and directors.

The key is involvement, relationship building, and a true understanding of their needs.



It is imperative that you understand the way each broker, agent or independent real estate agent buys advertising. At some companies, only the broker approves the advertising, while charging each participating real estate agent their share of the cost. At others, it is the job of each agent to decide on their own advertising needs.

How much you charge and how much they spend often depend on the home prices in your area and the average time a home sells. The higher the price of the home, the more commission the agent will make and the more willing he or she is to spend on advertising. Remember, real estate agents are on 100 percent commission and are always juggling their finances.

Your real estate rates and specials need to adjust to the supply and demand in your market. If the average home is selling beyond 30 days, then your real estate agents will appreciate a great frequency rate. If homes are selling quickly, then change your special to fantastic short-term programs.



There is no reason not to have a mutually satisfying relationship with your real estate community. Following the five steps above is just a start. It takes regular communication and an in-depth knowledge of their needs to keep real estate agents happy. Make it a priority to meet with your real estate board president on a monthly basis over lunch. Attend real estate meetings regularly to keep up with their current trends, and give them a product that will make their phones ring while also making sure your readers view your newspaper as the main source of homes for sale. © Janet DeGeorge 2017


Janet DeGeorge is president of Classified, which specializes in the sales training, rates and design of print and online Classifieds. She can be reached at 602-717-7473.


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