Some ideas are considered “outside the box” just because they’re different. Others are outside the box because the box simply isn’t big enough for it.
When faced with a disappointing lack of awareness among local real estate agents about the many fine attributes of the town of Atlantic Highlands, NJ, one broker had a radical idea: educate them so they can better communicate the value of the town to their customers.
“I was thinking that Atlantic Highlands is under the radar of many agents,” said Thomas McCormack, broker at Resources Real Estate in Rumson, NJ. “And there’s so much here that’s unique and special that it required something out of the ordinary to get their attention.”
That’s when McCormack had an “aha moment.”
“An ‘aha moment’ is a sudden understanding – it’s an abrupt recognition of something that is right in front of you,” said McCormack. He took that concept, used it as an acronym (“AHa: Atlantic Highlands Access”) and created an event that he hoped would draw area agents to the town where they could experience it first-hand and learn about why their customers might want to move there.
With over 100 agents attending 30 open houses hosted by 15 different offices, it was clear this was an idea for which there was a very willing audience and it proved beneficial for the town, its businesses and homeowners hoping to sell their homes.
“Atlantic Highlands has a tremendous amount to offer,” said McCormack, “There’s a high-speed ferry to Manhattan, spectacular ocean and bay views, stunning Victorian architecture as well as brand new homes, a municipal harbor and a great downtown with fine dining options, great shops and a burgeoning arts scene.”
One reason for the event’s success was the support of the town’s chamber of commerce. When approached with the idea, Chuck Lero, head of the Atlantic Highlands Chamber of Commerce, quickly came on board. In a town with a small but vital downtown commercial district, the chamber was eager to flaunt the town’s strengths.
“We recognize that realtors can be instrumental in bringing new people into Atlantic Highlands,” said Lero who is also a loan officer with Two River Community Bank in town. “I think the event helped agents walk away with a deeper understanding of what’s here and that’s great.”
“Chuck and Sherilyn at the Chamber were instrumental in making the event a success,” said McCormack, “They helped coordinate the gifts and prizes we raffled off to the agents, provided a luncheon at the Indulgence Café, they even got the mayor involved – their help was hugely supportive.”
Hundreds of dollars worth of prizes from local merchants -- everything from ice cream and a movie to dinner at one of the many, varied restaurants in town, to gift cards to the local jeweler and eyeglass shop – were raffled off to the many agents who gathered at the Indulgence Café for lunch.
“It was very well organized and informative,” said Rosemary Beales, an agent with Heritage House Sotheby’s in Shrewsbury, “Every town should have one.”
While some might be surprised that agents from different companies would cooperate on such an event, apparently it came together quite easily.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect but when I put the idea out to agents with homes listed in town, the response was immediate and strong,” said McCormack. “In fact, even the morning of the event we had additional homes being added to the tour.”
“Best of all was hearing agents say ‘Atlantic Highlands really is a great place – more people should consider it’,” said McCormack. “That was the goal.” That and, of course, getting some of his clients’ homes sold. “Absolutely, this was also intended to help get my listings sold,” he added, “but I think sometimes we have to sell newcomers on the community and a lifestyle before we can sell them a house.”
Download flyer for event.
Resources Real Estate | 112 E River Rd | Rumson, NJ 07760
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