Classified ad section in Minneapolis Star Tribune real estate adds little value to home sellers or home buyers.

Filed in Minnesota Real Estate by on September 23, 2007 0 Comments

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You need a magnifying glass to read those Minneapolis real estate ads in the Star Tribune Classifieds. Maybe a compound microscope would be a better tool for reading them.

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Now, I am not completely anti-Star Tribune. When I was a kid I played on the living room floor while I listened to my parents discuss different articles they were reading the the Star Tribune. I would have to attribute some of my knowledge and informed or mis-informed opinions to this nightly ritual centered around the daily news. I also have to say that it is much more enjoyable to read a printed Sunday newspaper while laying on a couch or swinging in a hammock than it is to sit at your desktop or fiddle around with a laptop so the sun doesn’t obscure your reading by putting glare on the screen. Sure, you have mounds of paper blowing around because most if it is ads and stuff you don’t read, but maybe that is just part of the glamour of it all. And I have to admit that newspaper is better for wrapping fish than the hard-drive is. I would rather read news stories from an actual newspaper while drinking my morning coffee.

But it is no secret that newsprint is facing serious challenges from the web. There are so many free news sources on the web, and you don’t need to put on your slippers and trek to the little green box on the street to access them. You don’t need to train a golden retreiver to fetch them either. The fact that people are fed up with the negative reporting and the “sky is falling” brand of journalism that is applied to the Minneapolis real estate market isn’t helping the paper out very much either.

I don’t have any hard numbers, but I bet the Star Tribune real estate classified ads revenue is being challenged too. It’s not hard to see why. I have spent thousands of dollars on Star Trib Minneapolis real estate classified ads, and have little to show for the money. Certainly not very many calls. At one time, classifieds were the modus operendi for most real estate agents. That time is long gone. It is my humble opinion that the Star Trib priced itself out of the market, but just never realized it until internet advertising took hold. If the prices had been more reasonable, I might have felt some loyalty to the Star Trib. Agents and homesellers were resentful of the high prices for the tiny ads in the only large Minneapolis newspaper in town. They felt part of a captive market. Throwing cold water on home buyers and home sellers by continually printing skewed, negative predictions about the housing market wasn’t a very smart idea. This is a classic example of “biting the hand that feeds you.” Would real estate agents and homesellers want to keep giving more money to the newspaper? After seeing better results from alternate resources and online advertising methods, many agents and home sellers that I know have dropped the Star Trib ads like a hot potato.

Here’s why:

  • Craigslist is FREE! You can include all of the text and photos you want. I get more results from Craigslist than from Star Trib ads.
  • Over 80% of homebuyers shop online for their next home. They don’t feel the need to run to the gas station to pick up the Sunday newspaper to find a home.
  • People don’t go to the newspaper to find homes like they used to. But they still go to the mailbox. I have a direct mail system that works better than arcane newspaper advertising.
  • Many agents host websites with an idx feed, which is technically not the MLS, but it will display just about every darn real estate listing for sale in the MLS system.
  • Newspaper ads are tiny! They are hard to read. They aren’t so easy for readers to find, either!
  • Newspaper ads are expensive! Very expensive! If you want to advertise your open house in the newspaper’s open house directory, you have to purchase a regular ad in the classifieds to do so. Pictures are TINY and even more expensive.
  • Your real estate agent probably has the ability to post vivid, exciting photos on a website that make anything you would see in a newspaper look pale in comparison (literally.) Your agent can also add all of the text and supplemental information that he/or she believes might best inform or excite buyers.

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If you are a homeseller, and are looking for ways to increase market exposure for your property, please give me a call at 612-296-0007. Whatever you do, don’t spend any more of your hard-earned money on classifieds!


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