BY INYOUNG HWANG – MEDILL NEWS SERVICE
With the surplus of unsold homes, developers of residential buildings in Chicago are looking for innovative, fresh approaches to marketing their properties.
Ecologic Lofts is a new condominium residence in Bucktown that features wind-powered and environmentally friendly units and is trying to become LEED certified. It held a fashion show this year as part of its open house for prospective homeowners.
Dan Delaney, an office manager at Property Consultants Realty, which markets Ecologic Lofts, said the event spurred a lot of interest and set the tone for the spring real estate selling season.
He said in the current depressed market there is definitely a need for additional marketing to promote buildings. His company hosts seminars for new buyers every month, organizes a bus that tours foreclosure properties and features properties on Craigslist and Youtube.
Ninety percent of people, when they’re thinking about buying a home, start their home search online, before they even speak to a real estate agent.
Chief Communications Officer Peter Olesker of the Chicago-based real estate marketing firm Taylor Johnson & Olesker said he also encourages developers to tap into social media programs.
Five years ago, it’s wasn’t unusual for a developer to put $500,000 to $1 million to print media, but now there are lower cost ways to market your project through social media and buyers are more receptive. That’s the number one thing we’re recommending to our clients right now.
Olesker said it was important for people to be realistic about their timetables for sales. He said three or four years ago, during the housing boom, it would take a couple of years to market and sell a 100- to 150-unit building. Today, it takes much longer.
“Developers and the lenders have to work together and have realistic sense of how long it will take to market and sell the remaining units, so they need to budget accordingly,” Olesker said. “It’s to everyone’s benefit to have strong marketing program from start to finish.”