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Realogy runs second ad campaign in two years promoting positives of housing market

By Beth McGuire

RISMEDIA, Feb. 8, 2008–“It’s a good time to buy real estate.” That’s the message Realogy, the nation’s largest real estate franchisor, wants agents to broadcast to buyers across the country.

The company is spreading the word through a national advertising campaign in USA Today, which began this past Wednesday and will run again on Feb. 13th and 20th. This is Realogy’s second national push in as many years to take a strong stance against the barrage of negative press directed toward the real estate industry over what is reported as the declining condition of the housing market.

The Parsippany, New Jersey-based parent of the Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate, CENTURY 21®, Coldwell Banker®, Coldwell Banker Commercial®, ERA® and Sotheby’s International Realty® brands, ran a full-page advertisement in the front section of USA Today and expects to reach more than 3.9 million consumers with its message. The ad lets consumers know that recently-cut mortgage rates and a wealth of available properties, make today a “great time” to purchase a home.

The timing of the ad, titled, “Think You Can’t Get a Home Loan? Well Think Again. You May Be Pleasantly Surprised.,” aligns with the recent Federal Reserve interest rate cuts, and lets consumers know that: money is available for those who meet basic requirements; affordability has improved; rates are attractive; and inventory is plentiful.

In an exclusive interview with Alex Perriello, president & CEO of the Realogy Franchise Group, he said the ads aim to educate consumers who might be at the positive tipping point on buying a home.

“We want to educate the consumer with relevant facts about today’s real estate market,” he said. “There are a lot of positives, and we feel that reinforcing the positives will help clarify things for consumers who are on the fence what to do in today’s market. I travel a lot to real estate offices and I hear from a lot of our agents that buyers are out there, but that they are not sure what to do. We felt that talking openly about the opportunities may help people to see that it is a good time to get into the market, and we believe it is.”

Perriello said there are three common misconceptions consumers have about the real estate market right now :people can’t get a loan: affordability is out of reach: and consumers should wait for rates to go lower.

“I was watching a news show last week after the Federal Reserve made its second rate cut on Tuesday, and the host of the program said, ‘I don’t know if it will help because you can’t get a mortgage.’ You hear this over and over again. We want to set the record straight on that. If you meet very basic requirements – you have a job for the past two years, you can make the payments, you plan to live in the property and you have a credit score that suggests you are responsible, you can get a mortgage. These are all reasonable requirements.”

He added that affordability today is better than it has been in almost three years, and that interest rates are now at 40-year historic lows, so people shouldn’t wait to buy.

In the national scope of the economy, Perriello said that the Federal Reserve is doing a good job of doing what it can to avert a recession, but stopped short on any market predictions for the remainder of 2008.

“It’s too early to know how it will go,” he said. ‘We’ll see what the impact of the rate cut brings. Another wild card is [President Bush’s economic] stimulus package, which has gotten through the House but is now stalled in the Senate.”

To combat negative press, Perriello believes that all real estate professionals need to take a very proactive position in the marketplace. “We recommend they absolutely follow our lead,” he said. “We are providing to our franchisees the ad template so they can customize it with their branding and information in their local markets. There are some great talking points in these ads.”

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