When Christine Quinn — everyone’s love-to-hate real estate agent on the Netflix mega-hit “Selling Sunset’’ — tried to sell a $5.5 million home in Southern California, she hosted a “Burgers and Botox’’-themed broker’s open house.
“It is the two essentials: food and Botox,’’ she joked — presumably.
But don’t expect frown line treatments at Boston open houses anytime soon, several local sales agents said. They are, however, turning to more outside-the-box (and Botox) ways to seal a deal on high-end homes across the region.
“People like to say that it’s all about numbers when you’re in the luxury sector, but you’re still talking about somebody’s home, and your home is a reflection of yourself,’’ said Morgan Franklin, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker. “Buyers come into a property and get excited when they see us making drinks or whatever it is that we’re doing creatively for that home.’’
Franklin’s approach to selling homes in Greater Boston includes everything from enlisting Barking Crab bartender Ricky Caswell to mixing themed cocktails — “Condo-tini,’’ anyone? — for a showcase to filming movie trailer-style listing videos with actors.
One of the featured films involved staging a marriage proposal at a South Boston listing to give a little more heart and homeyness to the property. Another shows a young couple getting ready for a mom-and-dad date night on the town.
Franklin estimated that about 20 percent of his team’s business comes from social media, and said it even made a sale after a Florida-based woman let her parents back in Boston know about a listing video she found on his social media page.
‘There’s so much more that needs to be done, especially if it’s a listing where it’s been sitting onthe market. We figure out what the listing’s best features are, and we make a lifestyle video around it.’
— MORGAN FRANKLIN
Coldwell Banker, on why a regular open house no longer cuts it
“We figure out what the listing’s best features are, and we make a lifestyle video around it,” Franklin said.
Others see elevated showcases and a party atmosphere at a listing as a way to generate more visibility to brokers and buyers. Cocktail receptions, DJs spinning party music, or high-end catered affairs from the likes of Formaggio Kitchen aren’t out of the question, said Less Arnold, a founding agent of Compass Boston.
“We’re not nearly as fancy as Botox and whatever,’’ Arnold said with a laugh in reference to “Selling Sunset.’’ “But, you know, it’s usually either at the launch for a property or when it’s been on the market for a little bit, and they just haven’t had the traction they need.’’
Over in the Seaport, the sales team at the upcoming St. Regis Residences, Boston, shies away from open houses and instead hosts by-appointment-only viewings at the nearby development’s sales gallery — complete with full-sized unit models — at Liberty Wharf. The sales team works at selling the building’s lifestyle almost as much as it tries to sell units.
While the residential property won’t have any hotel rooms, it will still have all the amenities found at a St. Regis hotel. The sales gallery also features the initial conceptual drawings of the building’s architect, the late Howard Elkus, who sketched out the project’s sail-inspired design on a cocktail napkin when dining out with the building’s developer, Jon Cronin.
“We look at a beautiful model here at 250 Northern Ave., and we talk about plans, and we talk about trying to make a match and hoping that people will join our family,’’ said Cathy Angelini, director of sales at Cronin Development.
One reason Boston sales teams haven’t had to go the over-the-top marketing route à la reality television is because of the laws of supply and demand. Inventory is incredibly low, particularly in the suburbs, so that means many homes get snapped up before the agents have a chance to hold a broker’s open house, Arnold said.
Off-market deals are also on the rise, keeping sales behind closed doors and eliminating the need for an open house.
As for the burgers-and-Botox open house having a shot in Boston, never say never: Franklin also features small businesses at his listings, and a recent one included a gift card to a Botox-providing medical aesthetics firm (no burger necessary).
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