RE: Promotional literature: marketing stuff
From: Rob Sandelin (Exchange) (
Date: Wed, 5 Jun 1996 12:50:04 -0500
One idea which may be helpful is that in many places there is something
called the Multiple Listing Service, which is how realtors get info
about homes for sale.  In the Seattle area this is on a computer network
and new listings are updated freqently (4 times a day). Spend some time
talking with a Realtor and see if you can get a multiple listing. This
will put your project at the same level as all the other housing
projects around. 

The rules vary I guess about how different MLS systems works, and there
is usually a FAQ for owner/ sellers.  In our area there is a pretty well
organized owner seller business which charges a flat fee for services
such as multiple listings. Are you listed each Sunday in the Real estate
section of the local papers? This is hugely effective at reaching large
audiences, and a well worded ad will do some screening as well.

 You may also find some advantages to listing with a realtor, especially
if you are very clear about the community aspect of the place. You will
have to pay a percentage, but if you want the sales it might be worth

I have seen a great reluctance amoung cohousing types to use
"traditional" real estate venues for fear of attracting the "wrong" type
of people.  I think this is kind of silly, especially if YOU write the
ads to INCLUDE the important screening facts about your project. People
will self select based on what they want and it is not likely a person
who is anti-community is going to move in with you unless you don't tell
people about it.   They may come for an orientation tour, but they won't
buy in.

A foreclosed home at Sharingwood was sold by a Realtor who worked very
closely with us, and when the community found a buyer (who responded to
an ad in the paper) she split some of her commission with us since we
essential did the house show (and a whole lot more).

Spend some money on advertising.  Large ads in the Sunday paper command
a lot of attention. be willing to spend $2500 to sell your units. In my
area, $250 buys a 1/4 page ad in the Sunday real estate section. That's
a huge place to run your message to a large market.

Sharingwood's realtor ran a regular cheap column space ad that was
buried in the Sunday paper realty section for an open house ($12) and
got 40 people on a Sunday in Feb when it was snowing!. A 1/6th page ad
full of the joys and goodness of cohousing community in spring would
probably cause so many people to respond, we'd have a riot. 

However, I am not sure this strategy would work for projects in the
"dream stage". I think you would need at least unit plans to sell before
mass advertising would be successful. 

Rob Sandelin

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