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Lights Out at Citrus Lane

The goal in any sales cycle is to get the sale. In homebuilding, the cycle is longer than most products out there, and the attachment is even greater. You become friends with your customer. You meet their family and share special moments. You become more than familiar with the local area, the businesses and neighbors. It’s bittersweet when you close that last escrow and turn out the lights, and I have to say that is the feeling I have with Citrus Lane.

She began as the first community to built in Loma Linda after a two-decade old moratorium. She was surrounded by orange groves with a no-growth vibe amongst its neighbors. The launch was difficult, and the initial sales slow, until more developers came into the market place. That opened the doors to increased traffic, lining the newly paved roads with beautiful new homes and lovely landscape and the promise of new parks with grassy areas and room for children to play.

Citrus Lane turned a corner and sales were abundant after nearly a year of pioneering a new community. The resistance melted into embraces from the local residents that realized something shiny, new and full of life can be as appealing as the once neglected and overgrown parcels of land. Change is a two-sided coin. Keep flipping it and you alternate between reminiscing its former glory and experiencing what is new today – yet again will be tomorrow’s history. Change, well that’s something that will never change.

I’m looking forward to driving by Citrus Lane over time to watch it grow and morph into one of the classic communities in Loma Linda. SeaCountry Homes…JOB WELL DONE!

Case Study: Last Homes Standing

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!


The Annual Carnival Colossal and Food Truck Festival is coming to town and Create-a-Buzz Marketing is once again providing the poster, flyers, digital emails, advertisements and social media! Not only are we managing the marketing for the 4-days of fun, we’ve been on the Entertainment Committee and have lined up 3-days of talent that will certainly keep the folks singing and clapping. Here’s out line-up:

Friday Night:
6-7 Cloi Crider and Sky Green
7-8 “NPI” – No Pun Intended
8-9 Cholula – Back by popular demand!

5:30-7 Dance Troupe
7-8 Derailed
8-9 Beat Works


4-5 Corey Angeli
5-7 Carnival colossal’s Got Talent
► Eva
► Avery Brostrom
► Jacquelyn Sharga
► Kylie Spence
7-8 Pure Atoma