QueenBee1 Posted 23 Jul 2012 , 8:10pm
post #1 of

Considering approaching local realty offices to pitch products & services. Wondering whether others have had success offering desserts to realtors for (i.e. refreshments at open houses, thank you's to their potential or existing clients, or "Welcome Home" gift baskets to new home buyers.)

23 replies
jeartist Posted 23 Jul 2012 , 8:18pm
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Retired after 30 years in Real Estate. Very good idea, especially if you're in a small enough area for the agent to order as housewarming gifts and you deliver.
Go for it.

QueenBee1 Posted 23 Jul 2012 , 8:49pm
post #3 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeartist

Retired after 30 years in Real Estate. Very good idea, especially if you're in a small enough area for the agent to order as housewarming gifts and you deliver.
Go for it.




Thank you for the reply and the encouragement! I live in Chicago, but I'm planning to keep my target area small (for now). I like the idea of delivering. That could be a good selling point.

Thank you again

QueenBee1 Posted 23 Jul 2012 , 8:56pm
post #4 of

[quote="QueenBee1"]

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeartist

Retired after 30 years in Real Estate. Very good idea, especially if you're in a small enough area for the agent to order as housewarming gifts and you deliver.
Go for it.




jeartist, another thought . . . Who would be the best contact person in a realtor's office? Would it be the "Office Manager", perhaps?

QueenBee1 Posted 23 Jul 2012 , 9:30pm
post #5 of

UPDATE: Just made a few quick calls. So far, nothing positive but I'm not giving up that easily. The last person I spoke with is a real estate broker who told me she could not help me. She said that she doesn't do open houses anymore. According to her "nobody does". I don't believe that to be true. I think I might need to contact offices in more affluent areas. I think this is just another indicator of the struggling economy and real estate market. That's o.k. though. I wanted to get my pitch perfected first anyway.

LNW Posted 23 Jul 2012 , 10:23pm
post #6 of

I own a rental business; I am NOT a realtor, just an owner and landlord of several properties. Sometimes we sell our homes though and we work with a several agents in different areas that we like to buy houses in. In our area they most definitely do open houses but they dont get a lot of turnout to be honest. Our realtors do an open house on a Sunday from 2-4pm (which is pretty typical of ALL the realtors in this part of my state). People will wander in off the street, look at the house, take home a flyer with all the home info on it and leave. Its nothing formal. For those our realtors sometimes buy a bag of candy and have it sitting out. I offered to bake some cookies once for an open house and that realtor told me that in the past she used to put out a spread and most people wouldnt touch the food. Then she tried just a simple cookie tray from Wal-Mart and once again nobody wanted to eat. So now she also just uses candy in a pretty dish set up on the table with all the house info, like everyone else.

However, with one house we sold when we DID get a bite on it (a serious bite) I did bake homemade cookies. I didnt tell the realtor, I just did it. I put them out on a pretty serving platter with a pitcher of lemonade and plenty of little paper plates, cups and napkins. Also a little sign encouraging the potential buyers to help themselves and a little warning that those particular cookies contained nuts (just in case). They didnt eat many cookies but they did leave behind a note thanking us for the goodies and then their realtor contacted us to compliment the cookies and bragged on how impressed the folks were that Id done that. They did end up buying that home though I dont think it had anything to do with the cookies lol. They bought it for their mother who wasnt even present.

While I think its a cute idea I dont think it will get you much business. People want to see the house. Some people are there to steal valuables and drugs from the home (we were targeted for something of that nature with a house wed staged pretty well, probably too well). People dont want to sit and eat cookies, brownies or whatever other goodies you have sitting out. They want to see the house, speak with a realtor if they are interested and get out of there. Now if youre going to offer an assortment of cookies on a platter at a very reasonable rate (why spend $30-40 on a tray of cookies that will barely get touched when you can buy a $5 bag of candy and plop it in a bowl and if they dont eat it youre not out any serious money?) then that might work. In your case Id target higher end homes. Seek out those realtors who sell the really expensive house and work with a clientele that is expecting to be fussed over. If Im dropping a million or more on a house (which in my area would be a castle lol) I expect a spread. Maybe even a pony icon_razz.gif

QueenBee1 Posted 23 Jul 2012 , 10:34pm
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LNW, I can't thank you enough for your reply. It was thorough and so helpful, without being discouraging. I appreciate the perspective about the potential buyers and their motives (both good and bad) when attending the open houses. This is info that I will use to adjust my approach and (as I mentioned previously) my target market.

Thank you again!!

FromScratchSF Posted 23 Jul 2012 , 10:50pm
post #8 of

If you really want to try this, grab your paper, get a list of all the open houses and go meet each Realtor - maybe even bring them a sample. Realtors are independent contractors and stuff like refreshments come out of their own pocket, so that's where you need to make the connection.

But honestly? Thumbs down. I was an agent for several years then transitioned into making cake.

Food at an open is a nightmare. People are pigs and would just throw their trash or 1/2 eaten food on the floor and walk out. So there I'd be in my Sunday best on my hands and knees cleaning up mushed up food from carpets and floors, slimy fingerprints off glass and doors, etc. Plus, it's an unnecessary expense that isn't going to sell the house to the general public. The only time I'd have food or snacks is during Realtor caravan (a weekday when all the Realtors in the city drive around an check out the new inventory). Sweets don't work. Realtors are vain about their clothing and figures - they don't want to eat with their hands and they watch their weight so they will bypass cookies, cake, candy and so on. Prepackaged granola bars, bananas, and bottled water is more the right speed for something like that. At least in my area.

akaivyleaf Posted 24 Jul 2012 , 1:41am
post #9 of

Now my mind, when I read the original post went to the "thank you" gift the realtor gives the new buyer versus an open house refreshment.

Now I've not bought property during the slump, but every piece of property I bought (commercial, rental, personal) the realtor always presented me with a gift for purchase. I've had elaborate gifts to simple thoughtful grocery gift cards. I would have welcomed a beautifully crafted cake had a realtor presented me with one...

Do realtors still present their buyers with a gift? If they do, I would target my pitch to on-site realtors of communities. Do they still have model homes? When I used to take tours of them, there was always something "refreshment like" in the home with the on-site agent.

KLCCrafts Posted 24 Jul 2012 , 2:11am

Thinking of thank you gifts, when we bought our new car several years ago, the dealership sent a reusable tin (with the dealership logo on it) of homemade chocolate chip cookies as a thank you. They were really good, I still remember them! And this was just for a Toyota. Maybe upper end car dealers in your area would be interested in that type of service, instead of or in addition to the realty market. Especially if it was packaged with a reusable branded plate or tray with the dealerships name etc on it. Just an idea...

FromScratchSF Posted 24 Jul 2012 , 2:51am

Closing gifts vary, each state has a guideline for how much you can spend on them (more specifically, how much you are able to deduct on your taxes thereby putting a cap on how much the realtor will spend). I (and the agents I know) would normally do hardware store gift certificates or something like that. The cap in CA is $50.

I only occupy a tiny speck on a map so maybe there would be realtors out there that would be into this!

jgifford Posted 24 Jul 2012 , 3:43am

When I was on the mortgage side of the real estate business, one thing the realtors would do to "encourage" a sale was to have the homeowner bake bread or an apple pie or chocolate chip cookies just before a showing or open house. Smell is a powerful motivator and tends to make a house seem more like a home. Maybe something along that line. . .

FromScratchSF Posted 24 Jul 2012 , 3:52am

Now that's an idea - I did bake cookies for opens, I would just get the premade dough from the store. I cold have made them from scratch but I didn't care. Anyway, maybe you can sell cookie dough to them!

Jess155 Posted 24 Jul 2012 , 1:48pm

When we closed on our house, our realtor gave us $100 gift card to Menards. That's the best gift for a new house in my opinion. I wouldn't have turned down a cake, but a gift card for new paint was the best.

pinkfluffycupcake Posted 24 Jul 2012 , 5:11pm

When I sold my house last year, my realtor gave both me and the buyer a package of coupons and gift certificates for local businesses. It was awesome! Maybe you could offer a coupon for a free dozen of cookies or small cake. That way, the realtor doesn't have to mess with a perishable product and your clients can use your services when it works best for them.

jason_kraft Posted 24 Jul 2012 , 7:20pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jess155

When we closed on our house, our realtor gave us $100 gift card to Menards. That's the best gift for a new house in my opinion. I wouldn't have turned down a cake, but a gift card for new paint was the best.



Same here, when we closed a few months ago we got a $100 Home Depot gift card, much more practical than cake.

I also don't recall seeing food of any kind at any of the open houses we went to, but that could just be the market (inventory is low and demand is high so any decent non-short property was off the market within days).

QueenBee1 Posted 25 Jul 2012 , 12:16am

Thanks to all of you for the great feedback, advice and ideas!!

goodvibrations Posted 25 Jul 2012 , 5:12am

I do cakes for a realtor and two mortgage companies. They give me a list of their client's birthdays in January. Minimum 50 cakes per year. Their clients get a very small (6" two layer or 9" 1 layer) and very simply decorated cake delivered on their birthday.

I only charge $36.50 so I'm not making loads of $$$ for sure! However, flavors are my choice so it's a good way to use up extra batter, no waste. Also getting lots of "real" business from this because my card goes in the box!

$12.00 of the total is delivery within 10 miles of my house. $1.50/mile, round trip, over 10 miles. I pay the girl next door $10.00 to do the deliveries for me.

jason_kraft Posted 25 Jul 2012 , 5:28am
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodvibrations

$12.00 of the total is delivery within 10 miles of my house. $1.50/mile, round trip, over 10 miles. I pay the girl next door $10.00 to do the deliveries for me.



This is somewhat OT but you should make sure you have workers comp coverage for the girl next door if she makes deliveries for you on a regular basis. If she has an accident while delivering one of your cakes and you don't have WC coverage you could be liable for repairs and medical expenses.

CWR41 Posted 25 Jul 2012 , 7:17am

Texas law does not require workers' compensation.

jason_kraft Posted 25 Jul 2012 , 3:23pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by CWR41

Texas law does not require workers' compensation.



I made that suggestion not because WC is required, but because it's risky not to have WC coverage for employees, especially when they are driving around regularly. A single car accident could potentially bankrupt the company.

cupadeecakes Posted 26 Jul 2012 , 1:27pm

when I first started my cake business, I had a good friend that was working as a realtor. He asked me if I would do a gift basket for his customers. I made up some banana bread, cookies, and cheese straws (think things that can be frozen easily) and made a basket. They were a real hit and word spread. Soon I was making gift baskets for realtors all over town. It helped get my business off the ground. I don't do them anymore, because it was never the business I wanted, just the business I fell into.

I can tell you that if you're thinking of gift baskets, fins a source for your baskets first. I spent every waking moment finding deals on baskets, because I could never find a great basket wholsaler. That was 6 or 7 years ago. HTH!

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