How to launch a property scheme

Developing a property scheme of residential homes and flats is a lot of hard work and a long process. From finding the plot of land, getting planning permission, building it and keeping it within budget takes some real expertise. The entire development project rests on the fact that the investment will be recovered upon selling the units and this is where launching a property scheme is so important.

A campaign from Long and Waterson in Shoreditch, East London

Our tips below offer the ultimate step-by-step process to making sure you can sell your units successfully.

The branding

A successful scheme starts with good branding and this is essential to engage and understand your audience. Did you ever notice how every property scheme has a strong name to it? Marketers will take even the dullest of areas and include words like ‘park,’ ‘trees’ and ‘lake’ to make a scheme more attractive.

The branding is key because it is represented across your billboards, marketing brochures, building boards and scaffolding. Setting the tone is important and whether you adopt a more family, suburban living or targeting the city-slickers in the heart of London.

Rather than just creating a brand based on assumptions, it is worth engaging in small focus groups in the target area to truly get an idea of what works and what does not.

The marketing showroom

A property scheme can take months or several years to develop but whilst all the building is going on, the best you can do is set up a marketing showroom. In a busy property market, the best accommodation is snapped up by those buying of plan.

When setting up a marketing showroom, this is your opportunity to sell the story and sell the lifestyle. Most showrooms are porta cabins on site that will be removed once the development has been completed, so you have to make do with the space and really make it look luxurious. The look and feel of the marketing showroom should keep in with the theme of the property, with similar decor and furniture. Making potential buyers feel at home is important which is putting on quality tea, coffee and even champagne can go a long way.

With the scheme likely to be a building site and bordered up, it is your opportunity to give as many visuals as possible. A 3D model of the scheme is usually very helpful as you can talk customers through a bird’s eye view of the place. Other aesthetics such as digital mock-ups, floorplans and 360’s walk through videos can help customers visualise the space.

In case anyone asks, it helps to have a yellow jacket and hard helmet on site in case they want to see the flat or house whilst it is still being built.

Partnering with an estate agent

Working with an experienced estate agent who knows the area can help give you that promotional push. They will regularly be speaking to people looking to buy or rent in the area and because they usually work on a commission basis, their team will be your army of soldiers putting your scheme out there.

In addition, you can benefit from some co-branding opportunities as they feature your properties online, in magazines and newspapers.

An online presence

If people have been hearing about you through word of mouth or have been reading about you, it is essential to have a website where they can contact you or find out more information. The website should be consistent with the branding of the brochures and be very clear where people can find you and make appointments. In addition, you should give potential buyers the opportunity to discover and found out more information such as offering images, videos, floorplans and prices on the website.

The PR push

Once your branding, showroom and online presence is set up, you can benefit from a real PR push. However, you need to make this targeted to your ideal customer. For instance, the Homes and Property section offered by The Evening Standard will be a successful route for capturing business people working and looking to live in London. But compared to suburban areas in Hertfordshire and Surrey, one is more likely to gain traction in local press.