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Show me the Money!

Recently both Century 21 and The Realty Alliance have partnered with® to provide their agents with Showcase Listing Enhancements.



Please welcome our newest writer, Ben Goheen, a Realtor and appraiser in Stillwater, MN. He is active on twitter and uses social media in his practice, he is an analytical thinker and has a great sense of humor, so we know you’ll love his writing. Please welcome him in the comments (as well as weigh in on his first piece).

realtor-left-brokeTwo recent press releases from NAR have peaked my interest but seemed to have gone fairly un-noticed. Both Century 21 and The Realty Alliance have partnered with® to provide “Showcase Listing Enhancements” to their agents. This includes personal branding of listings, up to 25 jumbo size photos, open house alerts, full-motion videos and virtual tours.

Feeding the cash cow

Having to occasionally make extraordinary assumptions as a real estate appraiser, let me try to run some numbers. A Showcase Listing Enhancement for an agent in my area costs $199/year if you have 0-3 listings, $362/year for 4-10 listings and $766/year for 11-25 listings. The Realty Alliance claims to have more than 100,000 agents, meaning the street value is $20,000,000 on the conservative side.

According to Century 21 they are the world’s largest residential real estate sales organization with approximately 8,500 offices. Again being conservative we can add $20,000,000 in estimated revenue. The exact dollar amount these companies paid to NAR will most likely never be made public, but it’s pretty safe to say the Showcase Listing Enhancements aren’t given away for free. Not bad for a month’s worth of work.

Where is the money going?

Let’s hope the extra revenue helps bring positive change to the industry and not on something like this:


photo credit

As the son of two music teachers, Ben spent his first 21 years trying to make a living with his slightly above average trumpet playing. After no return calls from Dizzy Gillespie and then a failed attempt at becoming a fly girl on "In Living Color," he switched gears and finally found his nichè in real estate. He's a Minnesota appraiser and also a Realtor with his better half, Stacia. Labeled “one to watch” from an anonymous source (thanks mom), Ben is smart, good looking, athletic and a rock star inside his own head. He also never passes up a chance to write his own bio. Find him online at twitter or selling Stillwater Real Estate.

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  1. Louise Scoggins

    May 20, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Hi, Ben! My office also has a deal worked out with to offer showcase listings on all of our listings. I think we pay around $200 (each) for the year for an unlimited amount of listings being uploaded. Hopefully that means they are offering some sort of group discount and not making hand over foot from C21 and Realty Alliance 🙂 Good post, I look forward to reading more!

    Oh, and ummmm…LOVE your bio. Hilarious!!!

  2. Ken Brand

    May 20, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Welcome Ben. Looking forward to hearing more from you.

    And I must confess, that pimped ride pic is money dude. Let’s be honest, you’d never lose a listing appointment if you rolled up in that plated bling machine. Cheers.

  3. Matthew Rathbun

    May 20, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Welcome, Ben!

  4. Benn Rosales

    May 20, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    I was concerned about the context of the post, however, I was more concerned that a R was pimping that bling mobile- had to click thru to see who really owned the car haha

    I guess we should expect to see awesome things from r.c over the next year with this phat cash injection, but somehow I doubt it.

    Where does the money go exactly? Anyone know?

  5. Ben Goheen

    May 20, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    @Louise – Is the $200 fee mandatory? Did NAR strike a deal with all of the KW offices or just yours?

    @Ken – Thanks for the welcome. In my neck of the woods homeowners would probably think I don’t need the money if I drove that car. I can’t even imagine how careful I’d be washing it…

    @Matthew – Thanks for the welcome also, and for following me on twitter

    @Benn – The power of Photoshop my friend. I doubt we’ll see any new bells and whistles on r.c either. These deals might help the loss in revenue due to agents cutting back on expenses.

  6. Jason Sandquist

    May 20, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    I see how it goes… When you wanted to snap a few pics of my ride I had no idea this is how you would use it

  7. Ken Montville - The MD Suburbs of DC

    May 20, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    Welcome, Ben.

    Nice ride not withstanding, I wonder what the comparison would be for, say, Google AdWords or for the new iteration of Home Values (now called Market Leader, I think). I have both the Showcase Listing Enhancement and the Featured Listing deal which gives me a slot at the top of the zip code I want to purchase (the Featured spot also has a # of listings and price of listings in the zip code type pricing formula)

    From my point of view, it’s about the clicks and the eyeballs. If I get the drift of your post, I’m guessing you might be suggesting that are getting tons more than the product is actually worth on the backs of hard working Realtors’ hard earned marketing dollars.

    Maybe so. Any more than any other marketing scheme?

    Inquiring minds want to know!

  8. Paula Henry

    May 20, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    Hi Ben and welcome! Even at $200. a year, I’m not sure I would participate. Somehow – I don’t believe will be using their new funds to help the realtor on the street.

  9. Matthew Rathbun

    May 20, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    BTW – is owned by Move. NAR most likely did not receive the money. They just get the royalty for licensing the “realtor” name to Move.

  10. Kim Wood

    May 20, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    Welcome, Ben ! I look forward to seeing some more picture humor outta you 😀

  11. Matt Stigliano

    May 20, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Ben – Good to see your first AgentGenius post. I think the major cash outlay from these companies will just go to hire more telemarketers for so they can call me more often to see how much money I’m willing to give up.

  12. Ben Goheen

    May 20, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Thanks everyone for the warm welcome. Lani was right, it is like a family here.

    @Jason – everyone knows THIS is actually your car:

    @Ken – Obviously there’s a markup involved, as there is with any marketing service. At least with AdWords you’re in complete control of the cost and placement

    @Matthew – Good point about Move owning My guess is that somehow NAR is reaping the rewards here, kind of like an reverse Peter Pan scenario

    @Matt – Fight the temptation! It can’t be any harder than hanging up on the telemarketers who guarantee you top results on Google

  13. Lani Rosales

    May 20, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    For ANYONE putting on a REBarCamp, now you know who to call for sponsorship!!!

  14. Russell Shaw

    May 21, 2009 at 9:39 am

    >Lani was right, it is like a family here.

    A dysfunctional family, Ben. But still, it is very nice to have someone else here who has the whole smart *and* good looking thing going.

  15. Brandie Young

    May 21, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Welcome, Ben! Provocative article. As members, do you not see year-end accounting? At least now we know where the $2M spent on a “hammer” really went!

  16. Jason Sandquist

    May 21, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    @ben yup and then there is that one

  17. Ruthmarie Hicks

    May 21, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Our Keller Office has a similar arrangement. My sellers are ALWAYS asking for enhanced presence. So I’m glad I can offer it without losing my shirt. My problem with the whole thing is that arrangements like this push small brokerages to the wall. Call me old-fashioned, but I hope that some of the Mom and Pops make it through this morass and area able to thrive. So many went out of business around here. Sad to see them founder.

  18. Lani Rosales

    May 22, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Russ, we can’t take you ANYWHERE! gah! lol

  19. Matthew Rathbun

    May 22, 2009 at 10:11 am


    I took Russ somewhere once, and all he did was use words to describe our waitress (who looked like a 19 year old Sarah Palin), that I didn’t know even existed…. 🙂

    I learned my lesson!

  20. Missy Caulk

    May 22, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Hi Russ, welcome to Agent Genius. I look forward to getting to know you better.

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