Thursday, April 21, 2011

Live In A Billboard?

The 'turn your house into a billboard' concept actually has some merit from a marketing standpoint.

If you haven't heard, an advertising company is looking at painting selected houses as advertising billboards for their clients, and paying each participating homeowner's mortgage for the length of the contract.

Participants must own and live in the home, and there are some other qualifying points. But in this time of urgency in the real estate community, the thing to do is look at how this could help home sales.
I'm sure some of you are thinking "no way!" and how a home that is a billboard could make a neighborhood less attractive to potential buyers. That could be, but there are a number of positives to consider.
A homeowner having their mortgage paid for several months benefits with the opportunity to sock away a few thousand dollars. That money could be used for a home improvement, toward a down payment of a larger or smaller home in the near future, or to help pay off other debts.
Selfishly, the homeowner doesn't have to deal with an advertisement on the outside. Using my own warped logic over the years, I reason that I spend far more time looking at the inside of my home than the outside. Other people see the outside way more than I do.
Suppose you are a potential home buyer in a community where a home's exterior has been painted to become an advertisement. You would know that the "ad" home will be painted back to its original color(s) within a few months, and in fact will look BETTER at that time because of the fresh paint job. Chances are the seller(s) you approach will be more willing to reduce even further when you act like the "ad" home is a distraction to the neighborhood. Acting that way could get you an even better deal, saving you thousands of dollars, and getting a home sold within that community.
Even if people are annoyed at the "ad" home, they will be talking about it, and probably watching to see when it will be painted back. In today's real estate market, this would be a classic example of the "Any publicity is good publicity" theory of marketing.
With advertising being so omnipresent and scattered these days, having a house being an advertisement might not be any more annoying than large billboards that practically touch an expressway, advertisements in public bathrooms, on trains, buses, and everywhere else we look every day.
Let me add that I know nothing about the company planning this, am not compensated, and have no involvement in this project.
There could be positive benefits for people if this works. The real estate community needs every positive it can get. I can't paint that any clearer!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Can They Market Homes Better Than This?

I'm all for charitable donations and supporting a worthwhile cause. Meanwhile, the real estate market remains in a crisis, still lacking even one desparate measure in desparate times. I'm among those trying to come up with ideas and concepts to spur activity in the marketplace. I'm sure the charity mentioned in this story is worthwhile. Certainly the cause is.

The above story is about how a St. Louis area home builder will make a $1,000 donation to a specific charity for every home sold in a certain development. Fine and dandy - if you know of anyone who would purchase a home in order to have a charitable donation made.
If someone is choosing between one of their homes and one or more others, would a charity donation sway their purchase?

I'm not wanting to sound mean. The intent is good. But the idea is to get buyers into homes. This "news story" really isn't good publicity. I'm disappointed that the reporter merely made this the P R piece the builder wants it to be.

Yes, I have a better idea for this very situation. Again, the idea is to get buyers into homes.
How about these builders DONATE one of their homes to this charity? Let the charity "sell" the home to the highest bidder above a low reserve. This way, the "buyer" would likely get a better than ever price on a new home, AND it might be structured to be a huge tax deduction. (I'm not sure how the legal aspect would work, but I would like to believe some creative accounting could make this happen.) In addition to selling a home in this development, the builder would generate significant publicity from doing this and call attention to the entire development.

Buyers missing out on the "charity house" are likely to have come and taken a look. Maybe some would consider buying into the development, which would not have been a possibility otherwise.
Perhaps other builders would look to do the same, whether for this charity or for another. One more idea out there to put buyers into homes.