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Real estate ads expected to jump -- in newspapers

Looking for a home in 2010? Try the newspaper.

According to a story on real estate ad spending by Paid Content's David Kaplan, a new Borrell Associates report indicates that real estate ad spending in newspapers is projected to rise 16 percent, after falling 34 percent last year.

This reflects an increased sales push from local brokerages (which could be interpreted as a sign of recovery) as well as a shift away from costly online display ads. (Every website's traffic numbers and ad rates are different, but I can tell you as a Realtor who has priced them a couple of times that you can't really get anybody to do a banner for you for less than $1,500, while a few hundred gets you something decent looking in most newspapers).

Now, I have to tell you that I'm biased here: I love newspapers, and I want them to survive even though I have a bad habit of reading them on my phone. I was the founding editor of the real estate section of the New York Post, and so I know how those ads help fund your news and sports.

But you're probably not reading this column because of your interest in real estate and the media. It's because of your interest in real estate transactions as a buyer or as a seller.

And what the shift in spending means to you as a buyer is that it's worth spending a dollar or two for the Sunday classifieds. These should mirror what you find online -- agents and brokers are responsible for "three of every five online dollars," according to Kaplan -- but you will pick up properties the agent has decided to market through print ads.

And as a seller, remember that when your agent takes a listing, he shouldn't just vaguely describe his marketing plan -- get him or her to commit to specific advertising channels and levels of spending. After all, you're paying for it.

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