The State of Kitchener-Waterloo Real Estate. Postcards from the Excellent

real estate postcards
Not yet three full weeks into the year and already I’ve received three real estate postcards. That’s early.

Real Estate Postcards

Not yet three full weeks into the year and already I’ve received three real estate postcards. That’s early. Normally, they don’t start arriving in my mailbox until the middle of February. But it goes to show you the state of our real estate market. 

News Flash: We have a severe lack of inventory!!

Real estate postcards bother me

They bother me not because they are unimaginative. There are certain norms and standards like having your photograph on your real estate business card that most Realtors adhere to. It is what it is. Why it is, is a mystery. 

Postcards must work

Real estate postcards don’t bother me because they don’t work. They must work at least some of the time, otherwise why would we send them, right? That reminds me of that old bit about advertising. I’ll paraphrase…

 “Half the money I spend on advertising is a complete waste. 

I just don’t know which half.” 

I think with direct mail, the statistic is that 96% is a complete waste, but don’t quote me on that. 

Junk mail 

Real estate postcards don’t bother me because they are junk mail. I’d like to stop everything that ends up in my mailbox and front porch, but I would start with that huge bundle of flyers I get every Wednesday. Straight into the recycle bin for that lot. Killed a tree for nothing. Real estate postcards in comparison are tiny. It will take a whole decade of real estate postcards to kill a tree. 

Old school

Real estate postcards don’t bother me because they are old school. In the mid-90s desk top publishing made it cheap and easy to do postcard marketing – it is part of what we call ‘farming’ in the real estate industry. Then 10 years later, excess supply and technology made it cheap and easy to have marketing postcards professionally printed and distributed. 

One of many

Real estate postcards don’t bother me because I am part of the crop (see point above). I don’t mind being fed and watered. I don’t mind being cultivated. I just think much of the world has moved beyond this type of mass marketing.

The content of postcards

Real estate marketing postcards bother me a little bit with their content. There are certain things that you will find on every card.

  1. A brag about how great we are. That’s expected. This is advertising after all.
  2. An offer for a free home market evaluation. There are 2000 real estate agents in Waterloo Region. Out of those 2000 I think 2000 would give you some kind of free market evaluation if you asked. 


The gimmicks offered on real estate postcards don’t bother me much. Advertising as a general rule dumbs it down. It all sounds good on the postcards but when you think about it, I don’t know how “drone marketing” is going to be of value to most potential buyers. Except maybe for airline pilots, roofers and pest exterminators, I don’t know how a view of a roof is going to help sell my house. Isn’t that just playing to home seller’s ego. Tell me I’m wrong. I might be wrong. I just don’t see the value.


I don’t mind the vague language of real estate postcards. I know that we have strict guidelines of what we can and cannot say about ourselves and our brokerages. So I expect words like “leading”, “award-winning”, “results”, “#1”,“excellence” and “effective” without any details.

I do questions about one promise of “Bi-weekly written updates and feedback”. But, but… whatever.

Building awareness and trust

Have you every heard of the 10-10, 20-20, 30-30? Probably not, unless you are a Realtor. Clearly a lot of Realtors haven’t heard of it either. The idea of farming through postcard marketing is to send out a postcard to your farm every 10 days for 10 times (100 days). Then to send out a postcard 20 times, every 20 days (+200 days = almost one year). And finally once a month 30 times for the next 30 months (another two and a half years). The theory is that familiarity will not breed contempt but awareness and when the potential home seller thinks about real estate, they think about that agent who has been sending postcards for the past three years.   

The thing that bothers me about real estate postcards is that I’ll get one postcard, maybe two (maybe 15) at the very beginning of the spring season and that’s it. And that bothers me not because of the non-adherence to the 10-10, 20-20, 30-30. That’s really just a theory (but a good one). It bothers me because there are a lot of sayings in real estate and one of them is that home sellers will list with the last agent that they talk to. If that turns out to be one of the postcard marketers who aren’t even properly marketing, it is an undeserved reward. 


But who can resist, “We guarantee to sell your home or we’ll buy it”? (Read the small print). (A monkey could sell a house in this market).

Who can resist, “Free home staging and interior design consultation”? (Move that chair over there and paint the place)

Who can resist 24-hour marketing exposure”?   (Duh, internet?)

Why do I get so many postcards from real estate agents?

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