I get asked all the time, "Bob, what advertising works best?"

Fsbo sellers want to know what works that doesn't cost anything, sellers want to know how their listings will be advertised regardless of effectiveness, agents want to know what they should stop wasting their money on, and brokers want to offload the entire issue on agents.

My answer is always the same, regardless of whether we're talking about the San Diego real estate market or Middle America.

"It depends".

It depends on the property, it depends on the price, and it depends on the condition. Some properties warrant just about everything. 

For instance: 

 
Listed for $75 million, "Portobello By The Sea", in Corona By The Sea, has been featured on Oprah. 

Ok, if you have one of the most expensive listings in the U.S., you pull out all the stops.  But what if we are talking about the lower end of the spectrum? How do you decide if photos are enough, or if a virtual tour is justified?

Once again the answer is "It depends".

If we are dealing with the average tract house that doesn't show well, pictures are often the best options. The goal is not to sell the home via the pictures, but pique enough of an interest or curiosity to get a potential buyer to take a first hand look. Sometimes a virtual tour shows to much, particularly if the property isn't likely to win the "Miss Photogenic" award, and can actually serve to eliminate potential buyers.   

However, there are exceptions to that rule. Sometimes the best way to create buzz is to go over the top, and Scottsdale Realtor Matt Pellerin showed me an example of real estate marketing that breaks the traditional rules, but does what is needed - create buzz and draw attention to a property that most real estate agents would find difficult to market.

Sometime a picture really is worth a thousand words. Take a look at Matt's nominee for best marketing of a Phoenix fixer.