PRESALES' GRAND OPENINGS CAN be very successful events for builders if they're managed properly. Engle Homes South Florida did so well with its blockbuster movie event theme in Legacy Cove in Stuart, Fla., that the company followed up with an equally successful sequel the following year.

The first run of the event offered the builder a cost-effective marketing program for its presales event. Instead of taking out large, expensive ads in the local newspaper real estate sections, it purchased small ads directing prospective buyers to a Web site that provided detailed information and captured leads.

“All of the marketing was designed to create excitement about the opening day,” says Jerry Rosenblum, principal of GBRAssociates in Boca Raton, Fla., which created and managed the event. “The creative theme was modeled after a big movie studio's launch of a summer blockbuster. When they have a big opening, they'll build up to it, have all kinds of publicity, and when it opens, people line up around the block. That's exactly what we did for the launch of Legacy Cove.”

Prospective buyers arrived at the event to find a red carpet to the front door, roped-off walkways, a marquee with flashing lights, and hot dogs and pop-corn for snacks. Plus, buyers received movie-style tickets to enter the sales center.

In the first phase, 67 homes starting in the $190,000s were sold in four hours. For the sequel, which featured homes priced in the low $400,000s, 37 homes were sold, also in about four hours.

Builder: Engle Homes South Florida, Boca Raton, Fla.

Ad agency: GBR Associates, Boca Raton

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Orlando, FL.