Do You Get This Type of Postcard from Real Estate Agents?

On at least a weekly basis, we receive a postcard from real estate agents–always strangers, and rarely the same agents–with a picture of a house or condo in our city neighborhood that they recently sold.

For a while I didn’t think twice about these postcards. I was curious about other buildings in my neighborhood and the general value of surrounding properties. Plus, I appreciate good marketing, and the postcards seem like an effective way for real estate agents to attract new clients.

But over time it started to occur to me just how odd these postcards are out of context. They’re essentially a printed humblebrag about something a complete stranger accomplished at their job.

For example, think of something you did yesterday at your job that you’re proud of. Write it down–“I finalized the Benkman account!” and put it in a neighbor’s mailbox.

Amusingly odd, right?

Just to be clear, I say this not to criticize this practice at all. It’s just an extra level of fun whenever I get one of these postcards now, though, because I imagine myself and other random people mailing neighbors whenever they complete an important task at their job.

6 thoughts on “Do You Get This Type of Postcard from Real Estate Agents?”

  1. This is because in the age of modern technology literally the only thing that a residential real estate agent needs to be good at is self-promotion. The entire industry is self-advertising, because the actual work done by the Real Estate agent is so minimal thanks to the ease of accessing relevant purchase information via the internet. All of the essential paperwork is completed by a lawyer (or should be), so there’s functionally no way to distinguish between good RE agents and bad. I’m sure some people can imagine a story of a particularly good or bad RE transaction, but the reality is that the delta between these outliers is fairly small these days. As a result, mailers, signs, and other promotion has exploded as agents struggle to get noticed.

    This issue has been further exacerbated in recent years as house prices have increased because if you can get clients, the effort to compensation ratio is exceptionally positive. Especially in my country, Canada, where house prices have exploded in the last decade. As a result, an agent who gets even one additional customer will net a small five figure sum for a single digits of hours worked – and who doesn’t love making over $1000/hr?

    There’s a reason it’s a dying industry, and I absolutely can’t wait. The only place RE agents seem to continue to have value is in commercial real estate, and even that’s waning. For my last commercial RE deal, I did all of the real “bargaining” myself, and the RE agent was basically just a slow version of email. However, for commercial RE deals it’s basically impossible to cut out the due to massive agency contracts for the commercial landholders.

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  2. Having been traumatized by RE agents after my mom’s passing, I actually hate the practice. I made the mistake of putting an obituary in the paper for my mom. The following week, I kept getting phone calls, people knocking on my door at all hours (7:00 a.m. on a Sunday?!) and trying to stuff their paperwork through the crack of my door so it would get inside my house. It didn’t stop until I put a sign on my door addressed to all the “ambulance-chasing realtors” and telling them NOT to knock or leave anything on my porch. I always tell them that trying to solicit me will put them on a specific Do Not Use list if ever I did go to sell. I would never use whoever’s got their face plastered all over shopping carts and signs everywhere.

    I’ve also received postcards that have MY OWN HOUSE pictured on them trying to motivate me to sell. Dude – GTFOH with that. I know what my home is worth, and I know exactly who I’ll use when/if it’s time to sell. I’m all about helping the ‘little guy’ with this commission. No brokers looking to turn my neighborhood into a rental spot. Take my time and give a veteran a chance at it…

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  3. To me the funny part of this brag is that this has nothing to do with how good of a job the agent did. In my area houses are selling for crazy amounts right now (Covid-I-want-to-live-in-the-suburbs effect) and those successes and number have nothing to do with the agent. But of course they advertise as “I sold this house with 200k over asking”… pfft. That house would’ve been sold that way with the most incompetent agent in the world right now.

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    • Yes! This too! I can’t say that a realtor is unnecessary, because they can handle things that we just can’t do as the public, and they’ve got a wealth of knowledge. But you’re right – I’ve had three houses directly across the street from me sell for insane amounts of money on their little 6000 sf lots. (That’s about 1/10 of an acre). I could sell this place as-is in my sleep, I’m sure. However, I also couldn’t afford to move back here if I ever sold, so I need the time to be right. There’s a house a stone’s throw away from mine that is on a 7300 sf lot – same 1400 sf house – for $2.75M

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