Real estate events can increase exposure

This article originally appeared in NARI’s Tuffin’ It Out series.

John Foley and his wife Linda Case are trying to sell their Minneapolis-area home. After 30 days on the market, Foley realized he had to find a way to make his house stand out from the crowd of similar homes listed in a struggling market.

Utilizing his background in marketing, Foley organized an open house event at the home that was a little different from your traditional walk-throughs. The event was to showcase his property, and at the same time, provide an array of experts in a related field to promote their services to buyers.

John Sylvestre, MCR, CKBR, CLC, president of Sylvestre Construction, Inc., based in Minneapolis, Minn., was invited to participate as one of the experts at the event. He remodeled the home years ago and remained close with Foley since that time. Other vendors included a mortgage lender, interior designer, landscape designer, a wood floor and countertop expert, an exterior restoration expert and a Realtor. Foley also unveiled a special deal that night: Buy the home within the next 45 days, and he would give the buyers the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit.

Sylvestre knows Foley has ties everywhere in the community and figured this is one event he couldn’t pass on.

“I like to do events at homes when the home needs updating—like a new kitchen or master bathroom—and I can go in there with schematic drawings of a remodel and show new buyers what it can look like with a remodel,” Sylvestre says.

This strategy helps potential buyers paint a picture in their head, and hopefully, look to Sylvestre when they want to turn that picture into a reality. Though it takes time and effort, Sylvestre is confident these drawings will pay off one day.

The vendors filled the back yard, each with a table display, providing samples and materials. Foley sponsored the party on his own, including food and drinks to guests.

The homeowners and vendors helped to promote the event on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a press release. Guests were a mixture of neighbors, other Realtors, potential home buyers, friends and media. As for the potential buyers, three individuals and seven couples attended.

Thanks to Foley’s marketing experience and ties to local reporters, a few TV stations showed up during the event.

“I was very happy to see all of the reporters there, it really generated a buzz about the housing marketing in this area, the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit and fixing up the home,” Sylvestre says.

There are no immediate ROI results for either the homeowners or Sylvester as of yet. Sylvestre considers the greatest benefit from the event is the mere presence of his company. Being the only remodeling company invited, having media exposure and networking with Realtors can bring him a new set of opportunities in the future.

“I highly value relationships with real estate agents, especially the right one,” Sylvestre says. By that he means someone who he can trust will refer him to good clients and vice versa.

Anytime you court a new group to partner with, it’s a good idea to start out small. Take one or two real estate agents that you’ve worked with and ask them if they would be interesting in co-hosting an event with you. Chances are Realtors find a business relationship with a top remodeler as equally valuable as you will find your relationship with them. -Morgan Zenner

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