At a fall open house for Realtors, visitors to Oakland Park received pedicab rides through the community.
At a fall open house for Realtors, visitors to Oakland Park received pedicab rides through the community.

Realtors are one of the most important sources of introducing home buyers to new communities. However, motivating or enticing them to visit a new community can be difficult, as they are bombarded with invitations to events, mixers, and industry meetings, especially during the busy spring selling season. So how can you stand out and woo real estate agents to your new developments?

Thom Cunningham, vice president of development firm Crescent Communities, has a few ideas about enticing Realtors. An “Oaktoberfest” event at Crescent's Oakland Park community attracted more than 40 area Realtors to the Winter Garden, Fla., development last fall. Here he provides some tips from the event, which was planned by Orlando-based Prismatic, Crescent Communities’ marketing agency for Oakland Park:

--Add a personal touch to the invite: Realtors were invited by invitation only through personal calls from the builders and developer in addition to print invitations and email blasts. On the day of the event they were given a useful swag bag, which included a branded Tervis Tumbler, among other things.

--Bring in local flavor: The event not only focused on Oakland Park, but also highlighted the charm and convenience of nearby downtown Winter Garden. Selling the local area adds strength to the message you want real estate agents to take from the event. As an example, two seasonal beers were served from a local brewery and food was catered by a family-owned local restaurant.

--Include giveaways: Realtors who visited all of Oakland Park’s homes were entered to win a “local flavor” basket that included a $150 gift card to a downtown restaurant, 50 cans of the seasonal beer and a $25 gift card to a downtown coffee shop. All the businesses are only a short bike ride away from the community – another selling point promoted during the event.

--Offer a unique twist: Rickshaw rides were provided for visitors and Realtors to easily tour the community in an interesting and fun way. The rickshaw drivers took the visitors on a tour that included the model homes, lake view lots on Lake Apopka, the newly completed phases of the community, and all of the amenities – the community garden, multiple small parks and green spaces, the neighborhood pool and the site of the soon-to-be-constructed amenity center. 

During the tour, attendees experienced a short section of the popular West Orange Trail, which runs through the community and provides a convenient walking and biking connection to downtown Winter Garden. The rickshaws were a comfortable way of highlighting the recreational opportunities in the community while adding to a memorable visit.

--Make a special announcement: Crescent Communities used the invitation-only event as an opportunity to unveil a new amenity center to a targeted audience. The amenity center is representative of “Old Florida” with a farmhouse style clubhouse with large sitting porches and an exhibition-style kitchen. The clubhouse is located on a sprawling eight-acre site that includes a zero-entry pool, event lawn, playground, game pavilion, chiminea, fishing pond, and trail, with large oak trees and even a remnant citrus grove. The building design matches the community’s neo-traditional architecture, drawing its inspiration from a historic estate located within the community that was built in 1877. 

The agents were the first to see the renderings and learn about what the new amenity center will offer the community, which they are now able to promote as a selling point for prospective buyers.