CHALLENGE: How to sell 85 residential homes in six months Solaire at the Plaza, a 31 story, 300 unit residential building located in the heart of Orlando’s financial district, launched its marketing and sales campaign in 2005. Almost immediately, the building sold out in just 3 weeks at preconstruction prices. An astounding eighty percent of the purchasers were investors. However, when the construction of the building was completed in 2007, only two thirds of the units closed. As the market receded and prices dropped by an excess of 25% from peak pricing, the developer was only able to close 65% of the building as investors fled. Consequently, 85 units were left to sell once the building was complete. With this remaining inventory, Solaire faced the problem that is occurring in new urban core locations throughout the country, such as downtown Las Vegas, Providence, downtown Los Angeles, West Palm Beach and Miami’s Brickel Ave or river front, etc.. Developments in these environments occurred faster than the residential infrastructure. In so many of these locations, there are no residential amentities such as movie theatres, supermarkets or even book stores to walk to. The buyers that fueled these markets were predominantly investors. Orlando is one such market where the market values receded by over 25%, leaving half empty buildings as the investors fled. Solaire’s location offered no residential infrastructure, therefore there is no incentive for move down buyers to purchase. This left an end user market that was predominantly generation X and Y buyers, resulting in a narrow buying segment. With 85 units left to sell and the inability to cast the net to a varied pool of interested buyers, a very serious problem was created.
SOLUTION: Create an auction marketing event and develop a conventional marketing program. APPROACH & PROCESS TO SOLVE CHALLENGE: STEP ONE: Accelerated implemented an extensive press based marketing program using local paper, internet, television and radio outlets as the medium to launch Solaire’s story. To view the article from the Orlando Sentinel Click Here.A brief indication of the marketing program and the values potential bidders could achieve by participating in the auction were conveyed throughout a finely tuned press outreach. Within the span of one month , public curiosity about the auction process, the product available and the achievable discount buyers could receive at auction was highly peaked. Consequently, two years worth of site traffic was generated to Solaire’s sales center. STEP TWO: With the new, highly interested pool of potential homeowners, the result of the marketing program culminated in an auction marketing event. Thirty units were sold in ninety minutes at auction, for an overall gross sell out of just under $10,000,000---an outcome that would normally take developers in the Orlando market a minimum of over one year to achieve. In fact, twenty two of the thirty units sold at auction closed within fourteen days of the auction. Buyers established the local fair market value of the homes offered at auction. They set the value of the homes remaining throughout the building, enabling a price floor for the relaunch of the conventional program to be established. The Solaire Auction represented an outstanding accomplishment and proved that the buyers at auction were serious homeowners. Developer Wood Partners was extremely pleased with the event results that were produced and stated, “Accelerated’s marketing program was flawless.” STEP THREE: With the success of the auction results, a new price value was established as well as an even more targeted pool of interested buyers. Accelerated Marketing Partners then designed its relaunch of the conventional marketing program for the remaining homes throughout the building at Solaire. Using primarily the local print outlets, such as the Orlando Sentinel, Accelerated focused on the public perception of the strong discounts buyers received at auction. The revised pricing for the remaining units were also released and consequently, buyers continued to remain interested and lured to visit the Solaire’s sales office for tours of interested homes. Since the event, roughly $2,000,000 worth of inventory has been sold to new prospects, and in many cases, prospects who had previously toured Solaire through the auction marketing event process. The conventional marketing program at Solaire continues to be strong, meeting the developer's short and longer term strategy for this project.