Real Estate Needs TLC, Too

Real Estate Needs TLC, Too

[Note from editor: We publish Bi-Weekly Transmissions for paying members of the GEM Crystal that consist of long form articles covering the spectrum from shipping container co-living spaces to the battle for listing acquisition in the first iBuyer world war.

Below is a sample Transmission about a company I’m a massive fan of: Resident, an experiential dining company that hosts bespoke, culinary events in underutilized residential spaces. In January, they put on a founders dinner in NYC for Geek Estate members + guests, so a few of us were fortunate enough to experience the magic firsthand. —Drew Meyers]

Drawing attention to real estate assets for sale or rent is hard.

As the market turns from favoring sellers to buyers, that’ll get harder. Marketing will actually mean something again. Those with a proven ability to draw buyers to their inventory will reign supreme, cleaning up on listing appointments against those with few skills and no track record of success. The bar will be raised.

Initial eyes are great, but deep engagement is even better.

It’s also significantly more difficult.

Leveraging unique partnerships to encourage more attention on a property is not new. I’ve previously discussed the value in applying the pop-up concept to real estate listings rather than retail storefronts.

Eyeballs are important. That said, they are only the first step to engagement. A mini museum or charity showcase would drive more foot traffic to listings while providing a cost-effective way for brands and charities to get face to face with potential customers and donors. Showcasing art collections draws interest from art buffs, and photoshoots and private concerts offer a special allure.

Multi-family units–either apartments or condos–come with the added benefit of being equipped with shared common spaces for residents to use. That adds the possibility of leveraging corporate events in the lease up period. Or meetups. Or documentary screenings.

Each of these approaches meets the creativity test: It’s a way for agents and owners/operators to get unsuspecting buyers/renters jazzed up about a new space.

But what if you could take it deeper? If you could pair a creative approach to draw more eyeballs with a chance to deeply engage potential buyers and tenants. The results would be nothing short of magical.

The cornerstone of a great real estate experience is one that fosters human connection and showcases great design, in an intimate and safe setting. What’s come out of the industry so far just hasn’t worked–and trust me, many have tried and proved that old models aren’t working. formed a partnership with Airbnb. Not long after that, RealStir tried a “Try Before You Buy” pop-up short term rental concept.

Neither worked. Then again, both were additional verses of the same old tired refrain with no experiential angle to them.

But what if the experience was a three-hour dinner, rather than an overnight stay? That would accomplish the same goal: Getting the potential buyer in the door. With top rate execution, the dinner could actually be more intimate. All the while, decreasing the seller’s risk. The same concept applies to luxury rentals.

While I attended CREtech New York, I came across Resident (through Brian Mommsen), a hospitality company empowering the next generation of talented chefs to create unique dining experiences for enterprise communities. It works with real estate partners to transform underutilized residential spaces into vehicles for innovative property showcases, community building, and leading-edge amenities. Now THAT is experiential.

It’s a clear winner for tenants, who have a fundamental need for human connection. Resident taps into the growing need for connectedness to combat loneliness by strengthening communities and infusing energy into a space by having a chef on premises. Plus, it’s an asset-light model in an era where asset-heavy models such as WeWork are imploding before our eyes.

One multi-family owner/operator using Resident highlighted how experiential programming is, for them, the next evolution of amenities. It provides them a unique way to enhance the living experience.

And it makes money: dinner attendees either pay their own way or corporate funding supports the entire private experience.

The number of winners in this scenario circle the block. Chefs need opportunities for exposure. Consumers crave meaningful experiences that inspire and connect. Corporations must deliver unique experiences and entertain their key stakeholders. Owner/operators and agents need creative ways to drive foot traffic to their assets.

Resident is a differentiator in an industry stagnating and defaulting to the same type of open house experiences. From what I can see, the company has created the perfect storm for the underlying real estate assets where those experiences take place.

Agents and owner/operators have one cornerstone element of their job–finding the best way to draw eyes–and, importantly, engagement–to assets.

Those who solve this dilemma–either through connective dinner experiences or some new innovative ideas on the horizon–will come out ahead no matter which way the real estate winds blow.