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Q: selling a condo with cpc adwords ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: selling a condo with cpc adwords
Category: Business and Money > eCommerce
Asked by: ray_on_the_web-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 20 Apr 2003 19:44 PDT
Expires: 20 May 2003 19:44 PDT
Question ID: 193124
i am wanting to know what is the wisest and cheapest way to use cost
per click adwords to sell a condo. i would like a text answer rather
than a list of links and articles. i always start at 2 bucks and will
tip well for a great answer

Request for Question Clarification by aceresearcher-ga on 20 Apr 2003 20:54 PDT
Greetings, Ray!

As someone who has both bought and sold their own condo, rather than
having you try to buy adwords to sell your condo, I would recommend
some other methods that I think would possibly work better for you.

Would you be willing to consider that for your Answer instead?

Also, it would help to know the following things:

- What other sales methods have you already tried?

- Are you selling your condo yourself, or are you also working with a
seller's agent?

- In what city and state is the condo located?



Clarification of Question by ray_on_the_web-ga on 21 Apr 2003 06:00 PDT
the location is halifax, nova scotia. i am working without an agent
but have a bit of experience in the past successfully selling on my
own using a website, main local paper, signage, neighbourhood stores,
college and university. i haven't started to sell yet. with no adwords
sales experience i am wanting to learn if properly designed cpc
adwords could really boost my chances without sinking my wallet. this
condo is in the higher end price bracket and would have a limited
local appeal due to cost. the cpc process for real estate is new to me
and i want to learn and of course generate the highest demand and
offers. there is always the wrong way and then smartest way to do
things. that's why i'm asking your researchers for imput to my plan.

Clarification of Question by ray_on_the_web-ga on 21 Apr 2003 06:05 PDT
oops.. that should have been 'input'

Clarification of Question by ray_on_the_web-ga on 23 Apr 2003 05:59 PDT
my preference is to 'tip' and tip well for great and insight filled
answers. my number 1 preference is for a response based on personal
experience such as question id 193871
Subject: Re: selling a condo with cpc adwords
Answered By: acorn-ga on 24 Apr 2003 20:22 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

What a fun question!!!

I have been running a FSBO online marketing service since 1996.  As
far as I can tell, it’s the only one of its kind.  We don’t list
properties on our website...we post our clients’ properties to
‘everyone else’s’ FSBO sites.  We also make offline marketing
recommendations. Our clients have better than an 85% sales success

I use pay per click as part of our business advertising campaign and
definitely have seen a substantial increase in business (the lousy
economy hasn’t hurt either).

As a result, I read your question with interest and gave it quite some
thought.  I started with your question 193873 and moved to 193124,
where your clarification was “I am wanting to learn if properly
designed cpc adwords could really boost my chances without sinking my
wallet” because I think my answer is more appropriate to it.

I am always amused by the statistics and the conclusions drawn from
them bandied about by realtors and their associations.

My personal favorite is “Homes sold by realtors sold for a higher
price - 27% higher!  The median selling price of a home sold directly
by an owner was $137,400, while the median selling price of a home
sold by an agent was $175,000.”

The implication is that a realtor can sell your home for more money
than you can.  There is, of course, no mention of how much the median
APPRAISED price is for each category of homes.  (FYI, the #1 problem
FSBO sellers face is OVERPRICING their homes.)

But here are some other current realtor association stats you might
find of interest:

** 62% of buyers with Web access surf the Net to shop for a home.
** 41% of all home buyers use the Internet as a search tool, up from
37 % in 1999
** Two-thirds of all homebuyers (and 95 % of the Internet users)
expect to use the internet in their next home purchase
** Internet homebuyers on average purchased a more expensive home than
traditional homebuyers
** Agents usage of the internet to market homes increased 35 % (from
39% to 53%) and now ranks third (instead of fifth) in selling methods
used. (Hey, if the Internet is good enough for real estate agents,
shouldn’t it be good enough for FSBO sellers?)

So...where does pay-per-click fit into this?

In your case?  Well, it just might be worth it since you are selling a
property in Canada which reduces the ‘competition’ and you would be
the only person doing it, but there are still definite downsides.

Here’s my assessment in no particular order with both pros and cons
plus thoughts based on 7 years of experience in the business, followed
by my conclusion.

1)  These are the Google Adwords ads results for the following search

Halifax condos (4-2)
Halifax condos for sale (7-4)
halifax condo for sale by owner  (8 existing Google Ads on US version
- 7 on
upscale halifax condo for sale by owner (8 - 7)
upscale halifax condo FSBO  (8 - 3)
halifax condo FSBO  (8 - 2)
3 bedroom condo for sale by owner in Halifax  (8 - 7)
upscale 3 bedroom condo for sale by owner in Halifax  (8 - 8)
3 bedroom condo FSBO in Halifax  (8 - 3)
upscale 3 bedroom condo FSBO in Halifax  (8 - 8)
condo for sale in Halifax (8-4)

You will note that, except in 3 out of 4 cases of using FSBO instead
of for sale by owner, there was little if any difference in the
results shown by existing Adwords advertisers.  In other words,  you
would have significant competition in many areas.  Eliminating any
mention of sale type actually lessens the competition for Ads

This means that you won’t be able to buy your listing for 5 cents a
click for many keywords/phrases. the examples of ‘upscale halifax condo FSBO’  (8 - 3);
‘halifax condo FSBO’  (8 - 2); and ‘3 bedroom condo FSBO’ in Halifax 
(8 - 3) - you really don’t have any competition.  This means that you
could not only advertise inexpensively, but wouldn’t have much
competition for eyeballs.

2)   I chose these example search terms (making up the # of bedrooms,
but the results are quite similar for other #s) because the log files
for my clients show that often people will initially search by terms
like this.  They generally don’t find too much in individual
properties and will give up that search style, but it gets them to
sites where they can THEN find individual properties.

In the case of Canada, there aren’t a whole lot of results either in
Google Ads OR the search results themselves (1 or 2 pages at the
most).  This means that searchers aren’t being overly distracted or
being drawn off into FSBO sites.  This works to your benefit.

On the other hand, the use of the term ‘for sale by owner’ is FAR more
common in buyer searches than is ‘FSBO” as a ton of buyers still
aren’t familiar with the jargon.  But you don’t need lots of hits,
just the right ones.

3)  The default search on is ‘all the web’, not ‘pages from

A default search for the term ‘FSBO’ on = 653,000 results
while ‘for sale by owner’ = 2,580,000.     Changing the default to
“pages from Canada” changed the results drastically:  FSBO = 8,360;
for sale by owner = 308,000.

That’s a huge difference, but don’t expect searchers to be
sophisticated enough to know they need to change the default.

A significant number of our clients are selling homes in the $650,000+
price range.  They...and the people looking to buy properties in that
range...are no more computer savvy than our other clients or buyers. 
Trust me on that one :-)

4)  People don’t look at the ads as much as they do the search
results.  Keep that in mind as it will reduce the number of potential
buyers seeing your ad.

5)  You are very restricted in what you can put in your Google ad.  
The headline is 25 characters (including spaces) while the 2 ad lines
are limited to 35 characters each.  This means that you must not only
word your ad so as to attract true potential buyers, but eliminate
everyone else...and do so under significant restrictions.  And you
can’t offer photos.

6)  The PPC cost/methodology may or may not be to your benefit. 

If you are paying, say, 10 cents a click, that’s $1 for every 10
visitors.  Indeed, for 100 visitors you’d only be paying $10.  That’s
not bad at all.  If you don’t word your ad correctly, however, you
could be paying for an awful lot of clicks from curiosity seekers...or
people who simply don’t read ads well.

Of course only you can decide what is too expensive.  You may feel
that spending $500 on PPC that result in selling your home is a good

Keep in mind, however, that where you set your price and spending cap
as well as how many other people are competing for the same keyword
will affect how often you show up on a search as well as the position
your ad will appear.  Having your ad appear first will get more
interest than having it appear 8th.

7)  The cost of other listing options must be taken into consideration

There are free and for fee Canadian and Halifax FSBO sites where you
could list your condo.  (Of course there is no reason why you couldn’t
advertise your condo on them in addition to your Google Ad. :-)  There
are also many, many US/Canadian and international FSBO sites with free
listings and for-fee listings.  Indeed, some of the top FSBO sites
don’t charge anything to list on them.  Free is good.

8)  People looking to buy are looking for certain basic
characteristics.  You are going to have to anticipate what those
characteristics are and word your ad accordingly.  On well-designed
FSBO sites, this isn’t an issue as you input this info and people can
search for it.

In other types of Internet ads it doesn’t necessarily matter if you
get visitors who are not appropriate for your home as it costs you no
additional $$$ for their eyeballs.

In a PPC campaign, you have to determine what features will attract
and what will eliminate.  Number of bedrooms, baths, price, location
are all essential, of course.

9)  Not being able to offer a photo is, in my opinion, one of the
biggests drawback.

“Curb appeal’ is vital.  People want a place to be visually pleasing
to them.  Sure, you’ll be able to direct them to a website with lots
of photos, but at what cost?

These non-photo ads cannot eliminate Looky Loos.  There will be people
who click the ad who never would have bothered has they been able to
see a photo.

10)  The other biggest drawback?  

Just for kicks I created a Google Adwords campaign for Canada (results
to show in English and French).

The ad:

3 BR Halifax Condo FSBO
2 BA, 1200 sq ft, fireplace
$225,000. 785-841-6902

The original keywords: 

nova scotia, halifax, real estate, FSBO, for sale by owner, condo,
townhouse, condominium

Using Google’s estimator - “Estimates based on clickthrough rates for
current advertisers for these keywords” -  (and keep in mind that you
must view their estimates with a grain of salt), I got the the
following cost estimates for each keyword.

FSBO - # of clicks per day - 1.6 - Average cost per click $.05 -
Average cost per day $.08 - Ad position #1

Condo - 37 per day - $.97 each - $35.61 a day - 1.3

Condominium - 14/day - $.07 each - $0.92/day - 1

For sale by owner - 3.5 - $.78 - $2.70 - 1

Halifax - 140 - $.16 - $21.34 - 1.1

Nova Scotia - 150 - $.19 - $27.44 - 1.1

Real estate - 220 - $.58 - $125.71 - 1.2

Townhome  1 - $.5 - $.05 - 1

Townhouse - 5.8 - $.45 - $2.58 - 1

The total for my original ad with the original keywords were:

572.9 clicks at $.38 average for a total of $216.41 a day.  


Now THAT is not worth doing IF it were true.  That’s over $1400 for a
week’s worth of advertising.

So I revised the keywords based on cost and ended up with the
following keywords:


Re-running the estimator brought the estimated daily figures down to
179.6 clicks at an average of $.18 for a total of $31.84 a day.  
Losing ‘condo’ was a drag, but would have doubled this final estimate

This still (again assuming the estimator is close, and it must be
taken with a grain of salt) results in your spending over $200 in a
week but for 1260 visitors.

You could, of course, put a cap on both how much you are willing to
spend per click and how much you are willing to spend in a day.  But
if you put a limit of $1.00 per click (to keep in the term ‘condo’)
and put a limit on of $30 a day, you’d reduce your daily clicks down
from 180 to 40.

The question, of course, is how reasonable are these estimates since
you are selling one condo.

I’d venture to say that they aren’t particularly realistic because you
are only selling one condo at one size and one price.

So I made the assumption you’d be attracting 1/10th of those clicks. 
At the much more reasonable daily price of $3.18.  Of course that
reduces your site visitors to 18 a day.

Assuming, just for fun, that you follow the standard and get one sale
for every 100 visitors, you’d sell your condo in 5.5 days for $17.49
in advertising.  Not bad, eh?

Of course, if you kept the keyword ‘condo’, you’d reduce your daily
clicks to 4 at a daily cost of $ it would take 25 days at a cost
of $75.  Isn’t make-believe fun???

11)  It is possible to create phrases in Google Adwords and require
that the phrase must be matched for your ad to show up.

I did.  Here they are:

Halifax condo
Condo for sale by owner in Halifax
Halifax condo for sale
Condo for sale in Halifax
Halifax FSBO
Halifax for sale by owner

Google’s estimator says that no one would click through on these
searches.  I do think they are wrong, but I'm sure that these searches
occur far less often than the previous ones I listed.


Looking at doing this yourself as the first one with the property type
that you have to offer in the location in which you have to offer it ,
I think it’s worth a try, as you get to control how much you are
willing to pay for clicks, how much you are willing to spend daily,
and can stop spending immediately.

In your case, the Looky Loos will very likely not be anywhere near as
bad as someone, say, selling a “3 BR, 2 BA in Boston area.  $300,000”.
 That seller would spend a fortune in clicks...or have to put a cap
that may block the ad just before the person who would have bought
their home would have found it to click on.

As to whether it would more effective than listing your condo on
existing FSBO sites, who can say.   Since there are so many good free
FSBO sites, it certainly would be more expensive.  And since there are
so many good free FSBO sites, your traffic would likely be lower, too.

(FYI, I don’t know if individuals can pay to list on the Canadian MLS
as they can on the US one)

At any rate, while it was fun doing the figuring for a Google Adword
campaign, there’s no way to know either how effective or how costly -
or even time-effective - this campaign would be.  But isn’t that
usually the case when you’re the first to try something?

Anyway, you’ve seen the type of ad I’d create.   You’ve seen keywords
and keyword phrases you can use.  I would probably start with the
phrases first and require a match.  That’s because people using those
phrases are actually looking for something very close if not identical
to what you are selling.

If Google’s estimator is right and you get no clicks, then I’d try
those keywords.

Either way, if you don’t get appropriate results within a week or
maybe two (i.e. emails, phone calls), I’d drop the campaign

Ultimately, though, I say “Go for it!”  And let us know if it works!

Thanks for using Google Answers.  


Request for Answer Clarification by ray_on_the_web-ga on 26 Apr 2003 03:57 PDT
hello acorn- simple question- what do the numbers in the brackets re
'adwords results' in point number 1 mean. thanks - ray

Clarification of Answer by acorn-ga on 26 Apr 2003 08:01 PDT
Thanks for the kind words...and the money ain't shabby either :-)

Explanation for what the numbers in parentheses in #1 mean.  I
actually had  tried to explain it with my  "(8 existing Google Ads on
US version
- 7 on" further down the list, but had added additional
search results on top of the list after writing that and didn't notice
that that moved the 'explanation' downwards as well.  Duh me.

Anyway, the first number is the number of Google Ads appearing in the
Google search results.  The second number is the number of ads
appearing in the (Canadian) results.

So "Halifax condos (4-2)" would mean that the results for a search on
that phrase would bring up 4 Google Ads in a general Googlesearch and
2 Google Ads in the Canadian search version.  Pretty generally there
are fewer Ads in the Canadian search which was one of the things that
led me to conclude that you might be OK using this method.

Thanks again!

ray_on_the_web-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $30.00
bravo acorn...this researcher has provided a terrific answer- very
thorough, educational discussion and well explained. this response was
a true pleasure to read... and very printable too- i.e. not loaded
with links that are of no benefit when printed off. i sincerely
appreciate the cross referencing which considered my other questions
too. wish i could give six stars.

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