Saturday’s Herald gets expanded real estate ad section

Daily Herald readers might have noticed something new in their Saturday papers: an expanded and upgraded real estate advertising section.

The section, which made its debut in early June, offers a mix of informational articles about the nuts and bolts of real estate financing and transactions, Q-and-A profiles of Snohomish County real estate agents, an improved listing of open houses that includes a locator map, and advertising that’s considerably more colorful and visually appealing than traditional text-heavy newspaper classified ads, Herald advertising director Ron Lee said.

Lynn Jefferson of The Herald’s art department designed the section, the content of which is produced entirely by the advertising department.

Lee described real estate as one of three “foundational pillars” of classified advertising. The other two are automotive ads, which get their own section in Friday’s edition, and employment ads, which are featured in the Sunday paper.

Sales for the real estate section and its digital counterpart are handled by Herald real estate account executive Patrick Johnson, whose professional background is well-suited to the job — he’s worked both at newspapers and as a licensed real estate agent.

“Patrick’s been a plus,” Lee said. “He’s got a newspaper background and a real estate background. So he understands both sides really well. He can walk the walk and talk the talk.”

Lee says reaction has been positive, and the numbers prove it. Herald real estate advertising sales for the last three months are up 20 percent over 2011, he said.

“Everybody has been excited about it,” Johnson said. “I’ve talked to a Realtor who said he’s bringing the section to open houses to hand out to people.”

The section also brings together advertising for both existing and new homes for sale, which has pleased local builders, Lee said.

After several difficult years during the Great Recession, “we’re seeing a definite (improvement) in the real estate market,” Lee said. “New home builders especially have seen an increase in business.”

Each week, Here at the Herald provides an inside peek at the newspaper. Is there something you would like to know? Email executive editor Neal Pattison at npattison@heraldnet.com.

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