Variety Article: The (Open) House Party
July 15, 2013 - August 15, 2013
| posted by: Jory Burton
Drinking on the Job
From Variety; February 6th
Two weeks ago, nine Westside brokers laid down their
rivalries for a block party.
It was all in the name of sales, of course. Faced with a
spate of big-ticket Venice properties, they decided to pool their efforts by
advertising and hosting a progressive lunch that took brokers through all nine
Realtors’ catering bills may be the best new indicator of a
cooling real estate market. While inflated housing prices are keeping inventory
tight, brokers are discovering that moving pricey properties can mean digging
deep into their bag of tricks – and sometimes inventing new ones.
“I’m not just going to throw an assistant in an open house,”
says Jory Burton, an agent in Sotheby’s Rodeo Drive office. “I’m going to make
it an extravaganza.” His tactics have included omelet and waffle stations, as
well as Dom Perignon door prizes.
These lavish presentations aren’t meant to lure weekend
looky-loos. Most brokers save the action for Tuesdays, when hundreds of
listings appear in two trade publications, Caravan Express and the MLS Guide to
That’s because their intended audience is not so much buyers
as other brokers.
A single broker can represent dozens of house-hunters. And
once a Realtor is enjoying a flute of Champagne by the pool, the odds are good
that they’ll take time to visualize clients in the property.
Prem Joshi, a broker with Mossler & Doe in Beverly
Hills, took it a step further last fall when he advertised a Saturday night
party in Caravan Express, inviting brokers to bring their friends.
The location: an early 1960’s ranch house owned by a pair of
nightclub designers. The Los Feliz Oaks listing had steel floors and an outdoor
“martini deck,” so the broker threw a party befitting the space. An amateur DJ,
Joshi spun tunes all night; his brother, who is also his assistant, mixed
drinks for nearly 100 people over the course of the night.
“I figured the typical Sunday open-house (crowd) weren’t the
people who were going to buy a house like that,” Joshi says, and he was right.
The 1,795-square foot property sold for $2 million, a record price for the area
per square foot.
Who bit? A rock musician/producer – no stranger to the fact
that partying can make good business sense.