Taking a page out of the single-family sales handbook, Markethouse Lofts in San Jose, Calif., effectively replicated a model home in its retail-level sales center to achieve a respectable sales pace. The developer used a street-level sales gallery to house key elements of a full-scale, furnished model that would depict loft living for its first-time buyers while the 53-unit infill project was under construction--and inaccessible. (The project's triangular site had a small street frontage anyway, which rendered it practically invisible from passersby.)

"There was just no possibility for [an on-site] model," says Todd Regonini, senior vice president of Regis Homes of Northern California.

Not so with a high-traffic storefront, however. The mock model features a full kitchen, as well as wood-capped steel balustrades and French doors, among other items. An austere decor also helps to promote the image of an actual loft.

"Detailing the kitchen especially allows you to showcase many of the finishes and details in the rest of the project," says Gerry Ferree of Edwards & McClasin, a project consultant. "You can sell single-family from a brochure, but attached buyers, especially first-timers, have no idea how and what it will look like." Prospects also receive a computer-generated tour of the project and models on DVD for their reference.

The project sold out in less than 18 months and is the cornerstone of a revitalization effort near the city's historic Japan Town district.

By creating a model mock-up inside its street-level sales center, Markethouse Lofts was able to give first-time buyers a true sense of condo living.
Courtesy Sares-Regis Group of Northern California By creating a model mock-up inside its street-level sales center, Markethouse Lofts was able to give first-time buyers a true sense of condo living.

Campaign Details

Program: Sales center; Cost: $50,000; Developer: Sares-Regis Group of Northern California, Foster City, Calif.; Consultant: Edwards & McClasin, Danville, Calif.; Interior designer: Creative Design Consultants, Costa Mesa, Calif.