Last Updated: December 7, 2020

A home is more than where your heart is, it represents your whole lifestyle. It is one of the largest and most infrequent purchases you’ll make in your lifetime. This enormous purchase is based on not only finances, but emotions as well. Is it the right neighborhood? Can you see yourself living here? When you walk in the house, will you “just know” it’s the right one? Successful real estate marketers know what emotional buttons to trigger to ensure a sale. They carefully advertise, being sure to arouse feelings in potential home buyers.

RE/MAX, a real estate company, enlisted a series of commercials called “What Moves You?” to address multiple demographics on different networks. Two themes include “Getting Married,” in which a man proposes to his girlfriend in his mother’s basement, and “Twins,” which depicts a journey of a soon-to-be father preparing a home for his twins’ arrival.

Both of these commercials, despite being short and specific, connect to viewers on a psychological level. The first commercial, “Getting Married,” uses humor to relate to young adults who are planning on investing in a home after marriage. The “Twins” commercial uses planning and preparation as motivation to move as your family grows.

Real estate companies must project confident and trustworthy images to consumers, largely because most of their business stems from referrals and word of mouth advertising. To convince consumers that their companies are the ones to trust, they advertise using commercials and internet marketing strategies that create well-known and liked brands in the minds of consumers.

These marketing tactics are used to elicit a response in the viewer and motivate them to buy a house. This requires a comprehensive understanding of the psychology used to market real estate. Today’s buyers have more options than ever to choose a real estate company. These companies use strategies that allow them to connect with customers on an emotional and psychological level.

The Psychology of Marketing Real Estate

Brand and CommercialExplanation of AdvertisementDemographicsPsychological Response Elicited
Coldwell Banker “The Value of a Home”While showing pictures of homes and families, a commentator shares a formula for a home’s value that includes the smell of pancakes and 100,000 smiles.Parents, ages 25-40 yearsComfort and belonging – People will watch the heart-touching commercial and think about their own family. Coldwell Banker is associated with warm feelings and the family unit.
Century 21 “The Path Home”An animated commercial that describes real estate agents as “expressways to tomorrow” and “internet- listing gurus”.Young professionals, ages 25-35 yearsTrust – This commercial uses a unique style that appeals to young professionals. You trust what the commercial is saying and know Century 21 will lead you down the right path.
Remax “What Moves You? Empty Nest”Parents saying goodbye to their college-bound son in front of a large home.Parents, ages 40-60 yearsAchievement – Aging families relate to this lifestyle change. They have raised their children and look forward to the next step. RE/MAX is there to help.

How do real estate marketers grab consumer attention?

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Real estate marketers need to present a mixture of emotional and practical marketing in order to appeal to a wide audience. Buying a home isn’t just a huge financial investment; it’s also an emotional investment as well.

One way marketers appeal to consumers is through an emotional appeal. Those seeking the experience of a healthy family environment will respond to concepts that include happiness, humor, commitment, and nostalgia. Marketers use commercials depicting a large family having dinner in a beautiful house, or a big moment in a person’s life like getting engaged to pull on America’s heartstrings. Everyone can either relate to or long for these critical moments in life.

According to the National Association of Realtor’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers 2012, 65% of consumers in the real estate market were married couples. Taking this into account, advertisements will typically aim to connect on a psychological level with this demographic by depicting a happy family living the traditional American dream. Those seeking the experience of a healthy family environment will respond to concepts that include happiness, humor, commitment, and nostalgia.

However, many home buyers look at more sensible features when buying a home. They want to save time and money with easy commutes, live in quality neighborhoods, and buy a home that is energy efficient. When creating ads for practical people, real estate marketers must present minimalism and efficiency. By incorporating images of professionalism and independence, these marketers are able to convince consumers that they will make the home-buying or selling process quick and painless.

Prominent ad placement

Real estate commercials can be placed on many channels in order to reach targeted demographics. The following are some of the most sought after channels for real estate marketers, along with their demographic information:

Attractiveness vs. Selling Power

According to a study conducted at Old Dominion University, “attractive female agents who employ hyperbolic rhetoric are able to alter the impression of the property in the minds of respondents.” This means that an attractive female real estate agent is more likely to sell a home than any other demographic.

Source: Seiler, M. J. (2010). Old Dominion University

E! Network

  • 45% of its viewers are ages 18-34; 59% are female.
  • Programs include entertainment news, Chelsea Lately, and Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
  • Marketers can target young professionals and first-time home buyers.

Discovery Channel

  • Median age of 44.7 years; 57% of viewers are male.
  • Airs programs such as Mythbusters, Storm Chasers, and Man vs. Wild.
  • Marketers can target adventure seekers and use commercials that are more exciting in nature.

Hallmark Channel

  • 56% of its viewers are aged 55+; 70% are female.
  • Programs include family appropriate dramas, Martha Stewart Presents, and Golden Girls.
  • Marketers can target seniors and people looking to downsize – a perfect spot for Remax’s “Empty Nest” commercial.

**Source: Network Demographics. (n.d.).

Seller Statistics

Real estate marketers must constantly study statistics to learn ways of targeting current home-buyers and sellers.

  • 93% of home owners had their home listed for sale on the internet.
  • Nearly 2/3 of home owners contacted only one agent before deciding to work alongside them.
  • For-sale-by-owner homes sold for an average of $174,900, while home owners who enlisted the help of a real estate agent made out with average sales of $215,000
  • First-time buyers make up 37% of buyers, while repeat buyers make up 67%
  • Information sources used in home search: Internet: 88%, Real estate agent: 87%, Yard sign: 55%, Open house: 45%, Newspaper ad: 30%, Home book or magazine: 19%

Source: NAR Research: Relocation Reports. (n.d.).

The psychology of marketing

To be consistently effective, marketers must hone in on peoples’ basic desires and expectations. This is where psychology intersects with today’s marketing world. In order to make an impact, marketers need to understand consumer behavior and psychology. To learn more about the psychology of marketing, click here.

Careers related to real estate marketing

  • Market Researchers – These professionals are in charge of analyzing information on consumers, sales trends, and market conditions. They also create surveys and polls to gather information. Market researchers help companies narrow down target demographics to examine consumer buying behavior. Learn more about market researchers.
  • Art Director – In marketing, an art director envisions and transforms the work of artists to create a brand. They ensure that all images relate to the brand, as well as consumers. Their work can often be found on product packages and in movie or television programs. Learn more about art directors.