Eric Carswell, an agent with Douglas Elliman in Los Angeles, thinks that “…a standard real estate open house is a yawner…there’s only so much appetite for wine and cheese,” so he decided to do something different with his latest luxury listing. Carswell created an open house to generate social media postings.
Carswell hired social media influencers and publicist Alexander Ali to help stage the house to “catch fire” on social media. The hashtag #EnchantedWoodsLA was created with the goal of capturing 100,000 impressions with 100 visitors. A gold painted room with a gold tub was filled with plastic gold Bitcoins, well planned Snapchat/Instagram backdrops were staged at every turn, beautiful women and men assumed character roles to show off those backdrops.
Real estate agents, assorted Instagram influencers, artists and minor celebrities were invited. 150 people showed up. It’s anyone’s guess whether or not that goal of capturing 100,000 impressions was met or whether or not there were any potential buyers attending the open house.
In New York, developer Two Trees hired Tavi Gevinson, 21 year old actress and founder of Rookie, along with local influencers, to stage events at the luxury 379-unit apartment building 300 Ashland across for the Brooklyn Academy of Music to encourage people to move in. The hashtag created was #300ashlandpartner for recurrent events.
“We thought it (different kinds of events) would be a great way to give a voice to a building, “ said Brian Upbin, head of asset management for Two Trees.
Some experts think that social media could be a good way for agents to stand out in a competitive market…a way to turn selfies into marketing efforts and a way to turn agents into influencers. Andrew Jevin, an agent in Santa Monica has used Snapchat and Instagram to show off his new listings and open houses and thinks that “…you’re going out cold-calling people and knocking on doors so why aren’t you on Instagram?”
Brittany Hinds, also a realtor in Los Angeles, agrees. “Our clients are on Instagram showcasing their lifestyles so you have to meet them where they’re at.”
Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, has another opinion about hashtags and selling homes. “Consumers don’t sell their houses often and don’t want to be guinea pigs…what works is making sure everybody who is a serious buyer knows about your open house and using more targeted marketing techniques.”
On the one hand again, the real estate industry has been somewhat slow to embrace social media technology but, on the other, real estate agents have never been particularly shy about trying something attention grabbing to stand out from the pack.
Bottom line…it all comes down to what’s comfortable for you as the real estate professional and what you believe to be appropriate for your client market. Hashtag open houses may or may not be your thing.