On the Fridge or in the Recycling: Real Estate Postcards

real estate postcards

Every week, we get multiple flyers and postcards in the mail from real estate agents and brokers. They are all colorful, well laid-out and have no typos. They all claim to know the most about our city because they are our neighbors, but very few of them aren’t immediately tossed in the bin. What separates the fridge-worthy from the readily-recycled? Changing, new content and useful information.

Introductory Real Estate Postcards

Introductory real estate postcards can be a double-edged sword. You want people to know who you are and what you do, but you also don’t want them to become irritated with your smiling face in their mailbox every day. Some real estate postcards say, “If you’re interested in selling, call me! Your neighborhood is my specialty.” It’s hard to tell if they are being vague because they are sending the same card to many cities or if they intended to insert the city name later and forgot. Either way, there is no reason to keep these real estate postcards just because they may or may not live in the same city as the recipient.

The best introductory real estate postcards include a reason to keep them. Whether it’s something funny or cute to share with a friend or something helpful to stick on the fridge for reference. Savvy realtors use incentives like a deal with a neighborhood coffee or sandwich shop for a discounted or free product when the recipient shows the real estate postcards. This approach has broad appeal, but can get expensive for the agent. Simple print marketing, however, is cost-effective and can still provide sticking-around power.

Helpful, fridge-worthy real estate postcards include:

  • Local information: a calendar of neighborhood events, the seasonal hours of the library/community center and emergency services phone numbers, a list of the nearby restaurants who deliver, a local sports team’s season schedule, etc.
  • Generally useful reference: wine-pairing tips, ingredient substitutions, reusable shopping lists, recommended home maintenance timelines, a guide of when to plant popular flowers or common kitchen garden herbs, poisonous plant images and warnings, washing/ironing rules for different fabrics, etc.

Helpful, save-for-later real estate postcards include:

  • House-purchasing/real estate guides (using infographics for easy-reading): a comparison of different types of loans, a break down of closing costs (and who pays what), a house-hunting checklist, a cost comparison of renting versus buying in that neighborhood, the average cost and ROI of common renovation projects, the average lifespan of appliances, real estate terminology explained, etc.
  • Decorating tips: curtain-length guide, artwork/furniture to room size ratios, colors that work well together, current style trends, atypical decorative materials, furniture arranging tricks, etc.

The best real estate postcards (the ones that go on the fridge) are the helpful ones. People will keep your card or flyer if it provides useful information. Otherwise, it’s just a logo and a picture of a stranger who claims to be a neighbor… and it’s easily recycled.

Neighborhood Market Reports

The number one real estate postcards that we keep are the monthly market reports from one of our local realtors. She takes the time to list the previous month’s home sales and includes the square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the list price, and the sale price for each. All of the homes are located in our city and many of those sale prices would have an affect on the appraised value of our home if we were to put it on the market. This gives usimportant information about the average home values in our neighborhood and we keep it until it is replaced by the next month’s real estate postcards.

A different local realtor sends out a flyer every single week. Eight houses are pictured with information like “sold!” or “multiple offers” or “great house!” as the only captions. The realtor markets himself as the number one seller in our city, but only one or two of the pictured houses are located in the neighborhood, and the pictures have changed just once in the last year. After several months of receiving the same real estate postcards with no updated information, I don’t even look at it anymore. I see the realtor’s name and toss it in with the ripped up credit card offers.

Curiosity will get your recipient to look over a market report, but if it isn’t current or relevant, it will be recycled.

Prospects: First Time Home Buyers

Recent reports have been conflicting: Millennials are somehow both breaking tradition and not buying a house but are also flooding in to take over the buying market. Contrary to popular belief, many millennials do want to buy a house. They just want all of the facts first, and companies are working to meet that need. Zillow recently launched RealEstate.com to help first-time homebuyers search not by list prices but by “all-in monthly pricing including property tax, HOA fees, PMI, utilities, insurance, and estimated closing costs.” It helps the on-the-fence buyer see an accurate comparison of their currently monthly rent cost versus a mortgage payment and all that it entails.

The best real estate flyers take a page out of Zillow’s book and bypass the full-page, toothy-grinned photo of a realtor saying “Choose me!” and instead focus on what the potential buyer is worried about: unchartered territory with unfamiliar language and huge financial implications. Use your postcards and flyers to explain the murky areas by outlining the home-buying process. Let them know they can call you with questions and no commitment. Keep them updated on changing interest rates and home values in their neighborhood. Make your flyer the one that prompts the “Maybe I can make this work!” moment, not by telling them that you’re the only one who can find them a house, but by showing them they’re ready for this step.

Everybody is a Neighbor

We don’t know anyone who chose a realtor because they claimed to live in the neighborhood. But plenty of people choose the realtor they know through friends, family, and community activities. We know which realtors are actively engaged in our neighborhood because they sponsor local events and we see their names on the backs of 5k runner’s t-shirts. That community tie-in is great, but being a neighbor is best as a supplement paired with current, useful information that keeps the recipient interested in reading and keeping your next postcard or flyer.

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