Brokerages unafraid to innovate might have a leg up on brands that still do business the old fashioned way, spending thousands and thousands on print advertising. Take Compass & their re-imagined listing sign you will soon be seeing in Dallas (Photo: Compass)

I know, I know — we are a real estate blog focused on fabulous listings, deals, sleeper neighborhoods, fantastic agents and brokers, disruption in the industry, commissions, marketing your property, property taxes, and basically everything happening in the community that affects real estate values: yours, mine, and everyone’s.

But you simply must pay attention to what’s going on in the newspaper biz.

Many agents and brokers still, for some reason, insist on placing ads for their homes in weekly or daily newspapers despite research that shows it is no longer as effective a means of advertising as it once was. It’s the old school, blue-haired approach and more vitally, does it really help sell your client’s home? I know agents who still photo-copy newspaper articles and send them to me via snail-mail to “share.” 

We live in a digital world, like it or not. And real estate news and information is being consumed digitally. That’s why I thought you would find this article so interesting: (more…)

I have totally forgotten to tell y’all that I am now a contributor to Forbes.com. Started a while back, and I already have a few stories in the hopper. This is my first, a primer on North Texas real estate: 12 Things you Need to Know About North Texas Real Estate. Let me know what you think!

Whatever I publish, Forbes gets first, of course, and can later be shared on CandysDirt.com. We spent a wonderful evening last week in Vegas at NAREE with Forbes.com editor Samantha Sharf, and I was super impressed with what Forbes is creating to beef up national and international real estate coverage. Very much boots on the ground. The other contributors I met: Joe Gose who has been covering real estate and other biz topics for 25 years, based in Kansas City, writes for The New York Times, Shopping Centers Today, Urban Land and France Media. I’ve seen Joe at many a NAREE conference, as I have Cynthia Lescalleet, a fellow Texan from Houston who writes for Swamplot and many other publications. All our work will be online, of course, because that’s where Forbes.com is smartly focusing resources. 

What will I be writing for Forbes.com? Celebrity real estate, of course, but many profiles and snapshots of the North Texas real estate market. Or shall I say, climate. I will be pestering major Dallas developers, movers and shakers for sit-down interviews, AKA good, old-fashioned, look-me-in-the-eye journalism. I’ll be covering trends, the unusual, all things that make us the greatest real estate market in the universe. And I’m very open to suggestions as well, so holler at me: you know my number, should be in your phone  — candace@candysdirt.com.

Home Away

Let me ask you this: does anyone plan a vacation from the newspaper anymore? Further proof of just how much (and how quickly) our society is shunning print media and turning to the web is when the big boys put their money where their mouth is. Originally founded as a division of Microsoft, Expedia.com is the American-based parent company to several global online travel brands including Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, trivago, Egencia (formerly Expedia Corporate Travel), Venere.com, Expedia Local Expert, Classic Vacations, Expedia CruiseShipCenters, Travelocity and Orbitz. The company is probably valued around 8 billion. And they just snatched up Austin-based HomeAway for $3.9 billion.

The company’s first CEO was Richard Barton, who later went on to found Zillow!

Richard Barton

Richard Barton, founder of Zillow

I remember when HomeAway started back in February of 2005, founded by Brian Sharples and Carl Shepherd. It was an on-line portal to find vacation homes, which was fueled by the Great Recession because people with second homes who were struggling to pay the mortgages and upkeep, figured out how to turn them into little piggy banks. HomeAway now has more than one million vacation rental listings.

The company raised almost $505 million in five funding rounds before it went public in 2011.

HomeAway says it currently features more than a million paid vacation rental home listings in 190 countries on its site. The company also owns a portfolio of other rental sites, including VRBO.com and VacationRental.com in the U.S., as well as similar sites in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. It also operates BedandBreakfast.com.

Anyhow, I imagine some of the company’s principals will be buying up some pretty fancy houses in Austin pretty soon!

With the changes happening at the Dallas Morning News, will the new content still be built on the "Rock of Truth?"

Changes are happening at The Dallas Morning News

Despite this fact, Realtors spent $1.5 billion to market listings in print last year. I didn’t write this, but I sure have said it over and over and over again:

Agents and brokers keep using tired tactics that no longer produce results. Here’s a prime example: Despite the fact that only 1 percent of homebuyers found their home in print newspapers or traditional media, real estate agents spent $1.5 billion to market in newspapers last year.

Say you are buying a home, and you interview your real estate agent to ask what he or she is going to do to help market your home.

“I advertise it in the local newspaper and some magazines,” says Suzie Q. Agent.

Really? Does it work?

“Oh yes,” says Susie.

How do you know? Show me the numbers, baby, is what you need to say. Would you let your stockbroker choose a stock this way?

No way! You never really know who reads an ad. There is no way to share it, unless you clip it and snail mail it off to your grandmother. Agents tell me they mostly hear from friends who are NOT buying a house.

“Saw your ad, looks great.”

Isn’t that branding? And while I’m at it, does having your agent’s face on a billboard help sell homes?

So it comes with great sadness that I read how many fine, talented journalists are leaving the Dallas Morning News this fall because of the tremendous changes transforming the print industry to online: at least 40 of a total of 167 buyouts. Many of the journalists on this list will leave starting (shudder) Sept. 11:

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FDHouse

It’s a brand new publication from the Dallas Morning News FD peeps, that being editor-in-chief Rob Brinkley (yes, he once edited Paper City, brilliant) and deputy editor Christopher Wynn. The publisher is Mary Poe, a publishing dynamo I worked with at D Home and have SO MUCH respect for.

I loved the letter they sent with the magazine: “Because of who you are, we are thrilled to send FD’s newest publication, FD House, directly to you, four times yearly.” Distribution is 40,000 to 25,000 high net worth homes in selective zip codes, as well as 10,000 home industry locations and 5,000 grocery stores/news stands.

Steve Brown is doing a sort of “Hot Property” type column called “Bragging Rights”, or is it “The Deed”, I’m confused? It showcases the most expensive homes listed for sale in Dallas/Fort Worth. It ranges from a high of $60 million for Tom Hick’s Walnut Place to a low of $19 million for Mount Vernon, the legendary H.L Hunt estate. Advice: name it something that will tell people this is about real estate.

The only problem is Steve got the price for Walnut Place wrong! Either he didn’t know, or they went to press before, Allie Beth Allman and David Nichols took over that listing. The price is $100 million. Just in case you’re in the market, I didn’t want you to be disappointed.

The magazine promises features interiors, exteriors, design, decoration and drama. Oh we love that last part so much. In this issue, check out the story of Angie Barrett, and an early read of Franck Welch’s new memoir. Which I interviewed him about and need to get posted! Anyhow, this magazine is a must-read and welcome addition to our luxury print fare.

FD House2