Building in a master planned community has it’s benefits…and shortfalls. As a guest builder, private builders like my clients participate in the marketing programs that includes advertising, signage and an identity on websites and collateral pieces. They drive traffic to our sales offices and it’s up to us to close the deal. It’s an upfront expense that a guest builder doesn’t have to take on, but rather pay at the closing escrow for each home between 1%-2% depending on the community.
But what happens when everyone turned off the lights and you’re still sitting there with a few homes remaining? For us, the directional signs were removed, the flags disappeared, the sales office moved on to bigger and better projects…like the new village about to open – along with the website and advertisements. As a guest builder, you’re already paying a nice sum of money for those programs whether they still there or not, so the money isn’t there to go and redesign, redevelop and reinstall what once was even if the developer would allow it…which they wouldn’t. Further the HOA now controls the community and you have to adhere to the rules on signs and such.
What we’ve done is market like you’re a real estate broker. Use their resources and play in their parks, so to speak. Become one of them.
We started by having a broker “soiree” with wine and cheese to re-familiarize them with the last remaining homes in the community. Resale opportunities are often priced higher now that the neighborhood is maturing, so we’re poised well in the value department. It’s just getting the traffic to the sales office!
Second, we started hosting weekend Open Houses with the little arrow signs allowed by the HOA. We advertise in the classifieds rather than the New Home Section and attend the weekly broker pitch meetings to get the top brokers excited about the 3% referral commission, explaining that they basically walk away once the contract is signed…easy money!
Social media gives allows us to continue with the messaging to our fan base and virtual tours with amazing photography provides a great touch point when you send a link as a follow up to visitors and inquiries.
Bottom line – you don’t to be scared of the dark and there is light at the end of the tunnel!