Using Diamonds to Lure Real Estate Buyers

Isaac Mostovicz writes...

The New York real estate market has been hit hard by the credit crunch, experiencing a dramatic downturn in sales, to such an extent that realtors are turning to extreme and unusual methods to attract buyers for their homes.

Hall F. Willkie, president of Brown Harris Stevens, is holding a number of sophisticated events at his new residential developments to lure in the luxury buyer. He accepts that with slow markets there is a call for price cuts but still feels that there is a place for unique events. Recently, the firm has tried exhibiting a range of expensive jewellery, with a diamond expert on hand to offer advice. He has also joined forces with Christie’s, to hold a preview for an auction of modern South Asian art in their luxury apartments.

A different approach to securing a buyer could be offering one’s house as first prize in a raffle. This is indeed what Tim and Zoë Bawtree are in the process of doing. After the £850,000 house, which featured on Grand Designs, failed to sell through traditional methods, they dreamt up the contest in a bid to beat the housing slump. Each ticket has gone on sale for £25; however there is a catch – the three-bedroom “eco-home” home will only be given away if at least 40,000 tickets are sold. This is to cover the costs of stamp duty, furnishings and a donation to Cancer Research as well as the value of the house.

However, Michele Kleier, president of Gumley Haft Kleier, believes that the luxury buyer will not be seduced by gimmicky special events, calling it ‘a waste of time’.

“Nobody who’s spending $13 million on an apartment cares about your free vacation to Disney World or Chocolate tasting with five different chocolatiers. If you need a gimmick to get me in, there’s something wrong with this apartment”.

Only time will tell whether the gimmicks will lure and secure luxury house buyers, but in a period when the housing market has reached an all-time low, it might be worth staging fashion shows, art exhibtions and book signings to get the prospective buyer in.

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