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87. IdeaSpark*: Open House Crawl December 13, 2006

Posted by Matt Fleming, PsyD in Experience, Food and Drink, IdeaSpark*, Service, Website.

Sunday, 1-4 pm. Typical open houses, with their lingering agents, are ineffecient and a bore. Imagine an Open House Crawl: a festive, social, and more informative way to check out open houses, with drinks and food.

Read on for more details and background…

As a prospective home buyer, you start by registering at OpenHouseCrawl.com, indicating your general house style, neighborhood, and price preferences. You are then emailed a map and directions to, and through, a loop of 5 similar open houses.

That Saturday evening, at 5 pm, you go to the first house on the list. There, you will find complimentary cocktails, a chef from a local restaurant serving passed hors d’ouvres, and a real estate agent who leaves you alone, but provides guided tours every 15 minutes.

Also present are local neighbors (wearing nametags), who are invited to enjoy free food and drink, meet their fellow neighbors, but are primarily there for prospective buyers to ask questions about the neighborhood, schools, local businesses, etc. Some of the houses could have local artists displaying their artwork, a solo music artist playing, small vendors, local business pamphlets, and a demographic neighborhood map (e.g. indicates ages of kids in the area, etc.).

Each house on the loop will have different food and drink (with good non-alcoholic beverages for the designated driver). As a money-making idea, OpenHouseCrawl will get a small percentage of the sale if a house is sold through the crawl. If it becomes a hit, registering via a specific real estate agent will prevent non-prospective buying freeloaders from making an evening of the crawl.

Background: While in Louisville over Thanksgiving break, my wife and I went to an open house where the real estate agent poured us some wine and shot the breeze with us. And last weekend, I experienced the synergy of a gallery showing in an open house. Various Vietnamese paintings were placed in all the rooms of a $1.5 million brand-new, green, single-family home. Champagne and Vietnamese appetizers were served to the same wealthy demographic that would be most likely purchase the art and/or the house.


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