Real-estate marketing technique #178 – Fake Families

This link was left in the comments yesterday by ‘anonymous’ (nice name by the way). The newest twist on house marketing in the U.S.A. is to go beyond ‘home staging’ and actually hire actors to play the part of a happy family ‘living’ in the house during a sales presentation. If you like reality tv, maybe you’ll like fake reality?

SANTA CLARITA – The scent of baking scones wafts through the house as children’s feet pound the floors.

“Dad” rushes to get things ready as “Mom” lounges on the couch.

It’s a birthday party for Camille Chen. “Husband” Jaason Simmons has breakfast in the oven and there’s about to be a surprise: He and the kids remodeled the den into a game room and won’t Mom, a notorious poker fiend, be pleased.

Except Chen and Simmons aren’t married, the kids aren’t theirs, they don’t really live in the house and they’re all Centex Homes marketing director Amanda Larson’s employees.

They’ve been hired to lounge around a model home, read magazines and occasionally pretend like they’re having breakfast.

Just how effective would this be? Do you think that the emotional connection is strong enough that people pretending to have a wonderful life in a house would increase the money paid for it? And how long till we see this technique put to work in Vancouver? Would you even spot it?

How much will you pay me to look at your condo?

Concord Pacific is having a ‘moving sail and sales’ promotional event on July 29th with ‘bbq, live entertainment, free parking and prizes’. Hmm. I thought this was a super-hot market where you just hang up a shingle and prospective buyers stomp all over each other for a chance to bid on your property. Why are we having to lure people to a condo sales event? Kinda smacks of desperation.

Here’s what I say: BBQ is good, but I think I’d rather have it with friends, thanks.. My time is worth more than free parking and the chance to win a prize, so what else have you got? I’ll be happy to come and look at your condo sales pitch, but time is money. So at the very least you should match the common time-share sales pitch you get in Mexico, that is:

1) free car rental for a day
2) free tours of the ‘ruins of east hastings’
3) free food and
4) as much free booze as they can try to get into you before they try to get you to sign the paper work.

This is where I’ll start to consider coming to your sales pitch, anything less than that and I’m afraid its just not worth my time.

UBC: out with the old, in with the new condos!

Last week saw the destruction of one of the first buildings built at the UBC campus to make way for a new high-end condo development.

The Vancouver School of Theology’s Chancellor Building, inspired by English architecture, was built in 1927 and was one of the first major structures to be built at the Point Grey campus.

The chairman of the Theological Neighbourhood Planning Group said it was a “painful decision” to demolish it, but says the school needs the money to renovate its main building.

“We had to make a judgment call between this building and the other building, because one of them had to help pay for the other,” said Bud Phillips.

There are no heritage protection guidlines on campus and UBC is not answerable to any municipality. Those clinging to the past should keep in mind that everything new eventually becomes old, and UBC’s heritage condo stock will flourish in the far-off future.

article on cbc

Looking for a way to pay the mortgage? Become an MP.

Say you own a condo in Vancouver and a house in Ottawa.. If you’re an MP that needs to move back and forth than you might need a little extra help covering those bills right? Well no problem! It turns out that MP’s get a $75 per day meal allowance that can be used to pay down the mortgage.

The per diem is in addition to a $25 daily accommodation allowance MPs receive year-round if they own a second house or condominium in the capital, and using it to buy a home is allowed despite a rule forbidding mortgage payments from a separate $24,000 expense allowance.

Combined, the per diem and the accommodation allowance could add up to $17,225 a year for house costs and mortgage payments if an MP spends only four days a week in Ottawa while Parliament is sitting.

The $25 daily accommodation allowance is available without receipts throughout the year as long as the MP does not rent out the residence.

Though the $75 per day comes from a meal allowance, I think it should be noted that eating houses is ill-advised and can lead to indigestion and nausea.

How to keep a global housing market boom booming.

Interesting article in the New York Times about owners refinancing with adjustable rate mortgages. $400 billion worth of this type of mortgage is resetting this year in the U.S., next year it’s set to be one trillion dollars worth.

It is the latest twist in the gravity-defying world of the high housing prices and exotic low-rate mortgages: As monthly payments on adjustable-rate mortgages are starting to balloon, many Americans have found a way to put off the day of reckoning.

They are refinancing with new adjustable-rate mortgages that keep monthly payments low — for now, that is, though their payments will likely rise even higher in the future.

I guess it will be easier to pay the full load of debt in the future?