5 Really BIG Real Estate Design Mistakes to Avoid






Hands up if you’ve ever reached for the mail in your mailbox only to find the same real estate flyer over and over and over again, the only difference being the realtor’s headshot. I know I have, and the problems don’t end there. The truth is the market is saturated with realtors who are relying on outdated marketing techniques, ineffective CTA’s, and a lack of individuality and personality when it comes to their design.  If you’re DIY’ing your own material (Canva anyone?), finding yourself relying on the same old designs and feeling a little lackluster in your efforts, then keep reading because we’ve put together our top five mistakes to avoid when putting together your next marketing piece.


I get it, it’s so much easier to look at the successful agents, copy their aesthetic, use the same fonts, adopt the same messaging, but by doing this you are essentially making yourself invisible to potential clients. If all realtors use the same look and create the same material, what makes a potential home buyer or seller choose you over the other gal? Real estate is a personality game, you get clients because they are attracted to something about YOU. By copying another realtor, or by being afraid to show who you really are, you’re essentially hiding behind a vanilla exterior when you could be letting your inner TigerTail shine! Think about the last time you purchased a service, what made you choose to keep going back to the same hairstylist, mechanic, cleaning company, or stager when there are literally hundreds to choose from? I’m willing to bet it’s because of the way they made you feel, there was something different about them that you liked. The same applies to realtors, the more personality you show the more opportunity you give potential clients to connect with you. So the next time you go to design a marketing piece ask yourself, how can I infuse some of my personality into this? It can be something as simple as using a different, more interesting headshot to showcase your quirky side, to branding yourself around something you love like THIS REALTOR (so good!). Just remember unique is beautiful, unique is interesting, unique is awesome! Here’s the best part, we are all unique, we all have our own interesting stories to tell (yes, you!), and we all have the potential to connect with dream clients by embracing what makes us different. 


Are you still using a headshot that your husband took for you ten years ago in front of a white wall that you edited yourself in photoshop? Please, run to your phone and make an appointment today to get a new headshot taken. Ideally, headshots should be redone every 3-5years, you want to look fresh, fashionable, and relevant and you just can’t show your best self by holding onto the past, no matter how good of a hair day you were having that humidity-free day all those years ago. Photos might now be your only problem. Those old marketing pieces may need to be updated too. We live in a fast-paced world my friend and the things that worked three years ago may be falling flat today. It’s always a good idea to update your marketing every so often. My advice is always to take a step back and really look at what your designs are saying from an aesthetic point of view. Are your colour choices still relevant? Do your fonts need updating? Are you hanging onto the same template that you’ve been using for years, and that every other realtor is using in your office? It might be time to chuck it…and never look back.  The next time you need inspiration for your marketing material, head over to my absolute favourite place online to find beautiful design trends: Pinterest.  Look for colours you love, font pairing ideas, and design trends followed by the year, the well of inspiration runs deep on Pinterest and I can pretty much guarantee you will not be left disappointed. 


Over cluttered design is a major no-no, especially when it comes to real estate marketing.  Having too many photos on a small canvas, trying to squeeze in as much copy as possible and using too many varying and contrasting colours makes your design look messy, hard to read and lacking focus which means your hard work will go unnoticed, flyers get thrown out without a second glance, and posts on your feed get scrolled past without even the slightest impact. So how do you make scroll stopping designs? I like to follow the KISS (Keep it simple silly) method… One audience (First time home buyers, downsizers), one photo (2 max if it’s a post, 3 to 4 if it’s a flyer) One call-to-action, one heading and one subheading (if necessary, on posts I’d say keep the writing to a bare minimum!) You want the photos to do the talking and if you have a clear audience in mind, make your heading speak to them, have a clear call-to-action with contact info, two colours max,  and voila! You’ve got yourself an amazingly simple and stunning design. 


Consistency is key! You want to have the fonts, colours and look across the board when it comes to your design, why? Because that’s how people will recognize you and connect to your brand. Imagine if Mercedes or Mcdonalds had a different aesthetic with each ad? Or used different colours and fonts… If Mcdonalds used green instead of red would you be confused? Being consistent throughout your marketing efforts is essential to create brand recognition and create a cohesive look on social media. If you want to make sure your marketing materials are consistent, create a document that contains your brand fonts, colours, tone, messaging and logos. Then refer back to this document each time you start a new project. Another great way to keep things on track visually is to create a mood board on Pinterest that houses all of your brand’s aesthetic inspiration, we have one HERE you can check out to see how we’ve done it at Fourth Street Creative.  Before you post or hit save on your next design, make sure to ask yourself “Is this really on-brand for me?” 


Are you sending out flyers just because? Are you trying to attract as many people as possible without having a specific client in mind? Are your marketing pieces lacking a specific CTA or focus? If you answered yes to any of these questions then it might be time to get clear on your messaging and goals. Each marketing piece should have a specific goal, are you trying to reach first time home buyers? Is this new listing perfect for downsizers? Does your latest sold listing mean something specific for your farm area? Imagine if you send out a flyer that says

 “JUST LISTED: Beautiful home in (enter Neighbourhood here)” 

Why should anyone care? Sending out this kind of generic flyer creates zero connection with the reader and leaves them only slightly intrigued at best. This is the biggest and most common mistake realtors make, and it’s so easily fixed just by asking yourself, “Who do I want to reach with this piece?” Think of who exactly you want to speak to with your next design and then go from there. Your next flyer might say something like, 

“Dreaming of homeownership but not sure what you want? This 2 bedroom condo with dreamy city views and 5-star amenities is the perfect starter home for the working couple.” 

This might not be relevant to everyone, but when you contextualize it like this, someone who isn’t looking for their first home might just have friends who fit the description you’ve outlined perfectly which means your design is more likely to land in their hands. At the end of the day, when you know who you are speaking to and what you want to achieve your marketing material will have a far greater impact. 

Still need help? Download our Marketing checklist to keep on hand for your next DIY project.

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