Realtors are always looking for new ways to promote their listings. String quartets at open house events, clowns, free hot dogs, giant balloons, etc. etc., etc., ad nauseum.
Two years ago, my small sales team started a string of events called the Mobile Artist Open House, featuring 10-20 artists for one day and two day events at homes we had listed. These were well-advertised, and attracted up to 200 people to the homes we were featuring. We got three buyers out of these events, so the success was somewhat limited.
However, what we did gain is goodwill with the communities and the sellers. Few open house offerings in small town Sandpoint and Priest River bring more than a handful of prospects. Our events brought scores. The community took notice, and the respect and admiration of literally hundreds of artists.
Another facet in the realm of intangibles is that we learned what works and what doesn't. For instance, when we had the shows at homes off the beaten track, numbers went to 35-70 people. In town, the numbers were between 100-200.
Also, we found good, large banners and placing the events in regional and local calendars were as useful as the newspaper ads.
Another big draw was offering things like sushi and wine, but the liability coverage for alcohol made us eventually drop that part. Treats work better than prizes, and getting the artists excited and talking about the shows worked better than simply hoping they would do so without being prodded.
Since the cost to do the shows was roughly $1,500 per show, we did fewer in 2008 than 2007. We began to think that the best venue for this kind of event was the very high-end home, or better yet, exclusive developments.
That brings us to Dover Bay Waterfront Community. Dover Bay is sponsoring the largest of these events, additionally offering snow golf and other family activities during a two day show with dozens of artists. The community is the perfect showcase; there are nine miles of paved trails, nine acres of groomed parks. The eleven neighborhoods are as much of a draw as the art, and we have tied in with the Sandpoint Winter Carnival, sharing advertising costs and piggy backing to better get the word out.
This creates the goodwill this kind of community support brings, and is something a development like Dover Bay finds useful. The developer is a community minded person. Recently he paved the entire old city of Dover, built a fire house and equipped it with a $150,000 fire engine, and even built Dover a City Hall.
The Midwinter Art Fest is the largest art event in Sandpoint Winter history. It is a continuation of the kinds of innovative and unique efforts that we at Tomlinson Sandpoint Sotheby's International Realty and Dover Bay routinely accomplish.
Even if no people turned out, the press and coverage that Dover Bay is receiving will pay dividends for years to come. People around town are already talking about the Midwinter Art Fest glowingly, and the light it paints around Dover Bay is the kind of view we all want.
If you are looking for an innovative way to promote your unique property or development, consider an art event. Art collectors are the kinds of buyers we need right now in real estate. Plus, you might just keep art in your community strong.