Groupon Comes to Real Estate: A New Way to Market to Consumers?

Now here’s a game changer in real estate marketing that ought to catch both consumer and agent with open ears: Groupon is offering on line real estate deals. A Chicago broker is the first known business to use the popular on-line discount coupon service to convert more web site visitors to buyers and sellers.

Frankly, I think this is genius!

Dream Town Realty of Chicago is offering $1000 cash at closing to buyers or sellers who purchase a $25 Groupon. The company launched the Groupon ad last Friday and by twelve noon had approached the 50-buyer minimum, not to mention generating a ton of publicity.¬† Dream Town’s founder, Yuval Degani, says Groupon is more than perfect for real estate because “there is no limit to what we can do,” unlike a restaurant which could get so crazy busy they overbook and, I guess, tick off all the customers.

Groupon works like this: you buy a Groupon ad for a certain amount of money and are promised a really great deal on something, from a meal out to a massage. In Dream Town’s case, consumers buy a $25 coupon and are promised $1000 cash at closing to buyers or sellers of homes valued at (at least) $150,000 for homes purchased by April 9, 2012. Sellers must list before that time. Real Estate experts have talked about Groupon-like offerings as a real estate business model, and a buying platform for real estate is already out there called HouseTipper, which negotiates deals with developers, real estate agents and¬† property managers. Of course, Groupon works on volume and there are way more people out buying dinner at a restaurant then they are buying homes. Dream Town, apparently has a huge data base based on it’s Virtual Office Website, which has been registering consumers to its website since the brokerage opened in 1998. Register with Dream Town so they can have your email address, they’ll send clients privileged information. So Dream Town’s email database is beyond huge. Oh, and caveat: the deal is only available to new Dream Town clients. The company is reportedly already handling 400 listings, so it could not afford to give away close to $500,000 in commissions to existing clients,¬† said Degani.

But here’s the kicker: Dream Town says it has never advertised in print media. Not even once!

“We are probably the only real estate company that’s never had an ad in the newspaper,” Degani said.

This could work because those who buy the Groupons will be highly motivated buyers and sellers, not passive lookers or dreamers. And that right there could be the very beauty of real estate Groupon: people who are serious will be plucked out of the masses the minute they buy that coupon. It could also get many buyers (and sellers) off the fence with the time deadline.

Do you think Groupon or a clone thereof will change the real estate selling game? Is this more effective than print advertising? What do you think about this as a consumer — is it a way to save $1000 or another gimmick? What do you feel as an agent?

And which Dallas broker will be first?

0 Comment