Realtors break out drinks, limo in crawling real estate market

Two Metro Vancouver realtors are taking a group of about 30 potential homebuyers out for a night on the town that includes drinks, appetizers and a limo ride. Along the way, the group will visit The Pint pub, as well as five funky homes that are for sale in Vancouver.

The “crib crawl” is an attempt by realtor brothers Jordan and Russ Macnab to attract potential buyers in a slow real estate market. It’s not the only tactic realtors are trying — others have offered kayaks and bicycle giveaways and free gym memberships with home purchases.

The two brothers, realtors at J.K. Cooper Realty, along with Greg Eidsness and Jason Carroll, partners at magazine, were brainstorming ideas to drum up business when they seized on the idea of fusing a pub-crawl with open houses. Later, when Jordan Macnab was on his honeymoon in Thailand, he said he coined the name crib crawl.

“The market is really slow and we’ve been trying to come up with a way to get more attention,” Macnab explained.

The Canadian Real Estate Association said on Thursday that both the dollar volume of sales and the number of sales in Vancouver in October were down more than 16 per cent from October 2011, while the average price dropped 2.5 per cent.

“The market is dead right now, so we’ve got to do something. Buyers are really hesitant,” Macnab said. “We’re trying to generate some traffic by thinking outside of the box.”

At The Village in False Creek, Rennie Marketing Systems started offering an incentive package to buyers about a year ago, said Lesli Boldt, communications consultant at Rennie Marketing. She said only two buyers have taken the package, with hundreds of others choosing a $5,000 discount offered in lieu.

The incentive package, which ends Nov. 30, has included various items over the past year, but now includes a kayak and a bike, a one-year family membership at Science World and vouchers and gifts from nearby retailers, Boldt said.

The idea was to attract attention and motivate buyers, Boldt said, but it was also designed to shine a light on retailers in the neighbourhood, as well as the waterfront lifestyle.

At River Green, a 27-acre condo development on the Fraser River in Richmond, buyers are given two complimentary one-year memberships at the Olympic oval, a sports and wellness facility next to the development where the 2010 Olympic speed skating events took place.

On the crib crawl, the owner or listing agent will serve food and drinks at each apartment, and try to persuade the buyers why they should make an offer on the property.

“Each agent will be hosting their own little party,” said Macnab, 33. “A lot of the stuff I sell is cool, funky lofts to people around my age, so we always get the question about how a suite would be for a party.”

The event will show potential buyers not only the features of each home, but also the potential for entertaining a large group, Macnab said.

Macnab hopes the crib crawl will result in at least a couple of sales, and if it does, the team plans to make it a regular event.

“This is going to be our little test,” he said. “We could do a Coquitlam crib crawl, a North Van crib crawl, or a townhouse crib crawl. We have big plans for this.”

Macnab said he’s heard from several other realtors who are hoping to have their listings included on the crib crawl.

“I want to select the best ones in different areas,” Macnab said. “I’m getting tons of calls on this.”

The event will include properties in Yaletown, Gastown, Mount Pleasant, Olympic Village and downtown, Macnab said.

People interested in joining the Nov. 29 crib crawl should be seriously interested in buying a home in Vancouver, he said. It’s $20 to sign up; visit



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