Strange But True: Eat, Drink & Buy a House

I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for a while, as evidenced by my resource-article’s age of nearly one whole month!  That’s okay, as I recall there was another “Strange But True” around that time as well.  I didn’t want them to appear too closely to each other.  So, without much more delay, I’ll get to this Strange But True real estate related story.

As evidenced recently by our Minneapolis and St. Paul market analyses, the number of homes on the Twin Cities real estate has been pretty high in comparison to how many closed sales have been occurring.  Particularly, there have been an unusually high number of upper-bracket homes for sale out there.  Homes are also spending a lot longer on the market on average before they finally sell.  In this kind of atmosphere, doing all that is possible to make a home stand out amongst the rest may mean the difference between the house selling quickly and it languishing on the market for a while.

This brings me to the point of this post: real estate soirees.  Brunches, cocktail parties and progressive dinners that showcase a luxury property have become increasingly popular as a marketing strategy.  These events can vary from simple wine-and-cheese affairs to elaborate garden parties.  This non-traditional style of open house are not only taking place in the Twin Cities, but all across the United States. Agents who host the gatherings hope that by inviting influential business associates, neighbors and other agents, they'll be able to attract more attention to the house and in turn sell it more quickly.  Maybe even for a higher price than originally anticipated!

Last month (when the article was written), an event like this was held at a 7,000-square-foot Nantucket-style house in Edina.  About 130 guests were served appetizers and wine as they toured the home, seeing first-hand what the home had to offer.  With that type of exposure, it’s easy to imagine that the home sparked the interest of at least one visitor.  Additionally, if the right person happens to show up who knows someone else who would love the home, word-of-mouth “buzz” can be generated as well, which has always been a good sales tactic.

For motivated sellers, traditional methods aren't enough these days.  Though this party cost more than $1,000, attracting the right buyer for a property can be well worth the price.  That is just a mid-range party however.  “Real estate soirees” in the Twin Cities can be held that cost $200 to $400.  Some have even been held for a cost of $2,000 or more.  Of course, as stated earlier in the article, this may not be an advisable home sale tactic for less stately homes.  Most of this type of “Open House” have been happening in homes worth over $1 million.  High-bracket homes attract high-bracket buyers: Helping them to see how their life could be within the house can be a key selling method.  But as Laurie Moore-Moore, founder of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing in Dallas, put it "It gives you the ability to target prospective buyers and highlight the lifestyle the home represents."

Some have even gone so far as to have their own miniature sized home tours.  The article here says that last fall, several real estate agents got together and hosted a group open house at five mansions priced at $1.5 million and up on Minneapolis' Mount Curve Avenue.  A “neighborhood dinner party” of sorts was held, with guests traveling from house to house, enjoying a different course of a meal at each property.

Does the strategy work? Sales agents who have held events say it can be difficult to determine which marketing tactic led to a home's sale, but they agreed it's worth the time and expense.  At the time the article was written, the house in Edina had not yet sold (Mind you, the article was written a month ago).  However, after the event, the home had five individual showings immediately following the event.

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