Posted on August 27, 2018 by Katie Shapiro
Photo Courtesy: Aspen Core
In a place tucked into one of the most majestic pockets of the world—surrounded by natural beauty, national forest land and protected open space—living green is the way of life. With renewable energy roots dating back to the 1980s when the city built the Maroon Creek and Ruedi hydroelectric plants, Aspen is undoubtedly a model citizen in how communities can reduce the carbon footprint of its residents.
In 2015, Aspen reached a major milestone in achieving 100 percent renewable energy to power its electric utility—the third city in the nation to reach such a designation. While the City of Aspen’s Climate Action Office leads the charge, the Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE) —an independent non-profit organization— has helped teach Roaring Fork Valley residents how to conserve energy in their own homes. In 2000, this became the first program of its kind in the world.
Funded in part by the Renewable Energy Mitigation Program (REMP), CORE distributes funds in the form of rebates and grants and has awarded more than $8.2 million to the community for smart energy compliance. In 2011, CORE launched its official home energy assessment program to increase efficiency awareness and implementation even more.
With Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty's prospective homebuyers weighing sustainability in their purchasing decisions now more than ever, we reached out to CORE’s Kate Henion, BPI (Building Performance Institute) building analyst and marketing manager for her advice. Here are Kate’s top tips to help clients going through the process of selling or buying a property in Pitkin County:
- A home energy assessment is the first step. The assessment looks at the whole picture of your home— heating systems, windows and insulation levels. It provides you with a comprehensive report outlining opportunities for energy improvements that are specific to your home. Plus, homeowners get free “quick fix” installations and combustion analysis testing.
- Once you get the report, give CORE a call to go over the top priorities for the home. CORE offers free energy advising and cash-back rebates and its knowledgeable Energy Advisors can connect you with local, qualified contractors and help you with utility rebates.
- Easy projects to knock-off first include air sealing & insulation. By air sealing and insulating your home correctly, you can establish a thermal boundary, heating and cooling only your desired living spaces.
- Swapping out your incandescents for LEDs is another no-brainer, considering they use 75% less energy.
- Controls, like programmable thermostats, can save on your monthly utility bills. Smart thermostats provide you with those same savings, but with the added convenience of controlling your home by phone.
Since the program’s inception, CORE has performed 2,106 assessments and issued 1,380 rebates in the Roaring Fork Valley. Homeowners are eligible for up to $1,000 in rebates for energy efficiency upgrades, up to $5,250 for renewable energy, and larger properties are offered custom rebates.
Thanks to Aspen’s forward-thinking approach to sustainability and the work being done by organizations like CORE, new-build homes are also incorporating environmentally-conscious design elements from the start. One standout example of just how green a residential project can get? “Game On,” the personal home of John Rowland and Sarah Broughton, principals of their eponymous, award-winning architecture and interior design firm Rowland + Broughton.
Spanning 4,291 square feet on a small parcel in Aspen’s idyllic West End, the “modern interpretation of the historic homes from the turn-of-the-century that comprise much of the neighborhood” is LEED Gold Certified—the most widely used green building rating system and a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement.
It’s a rare residential designation, with commercial buildings more commonly applying for LEED Certified status, but one that the couple decided to take on themselves.
Inside John Rowland and Sarah Broughton’s LEED certified dream home of their own in Aspen’s West End neighborhood. Courtesy: Rowland + Broughton
“We wanted to put our money where our mouths are with this particular project. Sustainability is in our firm’s DNA,” says Rowland.
Siting the home strategically to avoid energy-draining appliances like an air conditioning system in favor of cross ventilation, he adds, “We went to great lengths on our insulation, so not only do we have a really tight envelope, but the house stays very cool all summer long.”
Also mindful of indoor air quality, Rowland explains that in selecting interior materials, “It means really understanding every little nuance that goes into the production and that no chemicals are ever used to avoid off-gas. Start by asking where the materials are coming from … are these supply companies green leaders in their own right? Do they practice sustainability in the harvesting of their raw materials?”
Inside John Rowland and Sarah Broughton’s LEED certified dream home of their own in Aspen’s West End neighborhood. Courtesy: Rowland + Broughton
Inventive elements like a gravel and sand bocce ball court in the backyard that doubles as a water filtration system for the home were matched with more traditional energy-saving tools like LED lighting and solar panels by Carbondale-based company, Sunsense.
Now, nearly three years after completing a dream home of their very own, Rowland is proud to report that, “We haven’t replaced a lightbulb since we moved in."
Posted on July 19, 2018 by Katie Shapiro
Whether you’re a budding collector looking to add art to a new home, a realtor with staging needs or an experienced enthusiast shopping for a new piece, there is no better time to visit Aspen than late summer.
In recent years, Aspen has solidified its position on the international scene as one of the leading art destinations in the world. But its high-brow reputation has roots dating back to 1949, with the start of one of design’s great movements—the Bauhaus.
Now, the Bauhaus movement is coming full circle thanks to longtime local Lissa Ballinger, curator for The Aspen Institute. In 2019, the world will collectively celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Bauhaus with a slew of special events to partake in locally.
Ahead of official festivities next year, the 1978 sculpture created by renowned Bauhaus architect and artist Herbert Bayer, was unveiled on Aspen Institute’s West End campus. Bayer hand-selected the Carrara marble from Central Italy for this seven-piece geometric sculpture that measures 32 x 8 x 8 feet. The sculpture was acquired from the Denver Art Museum in 2017, through the support of Melony and Adam Lewis, Aspen-based philanthropists and members of the Aspen Institute Society of Fellows.
Aspen Institute President and CEO, Dan Porterfield, shared in a statement, “The Anaconda sculpture is a wonderful addition to the Aspen Meadows Campus for the enjoyment of the whole community and to share in celebrating Herbert Bayer’s legacy. We are thrilled to install this sculpture as we gear up for next year’s celebration of the 100th year anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus School.”
Prior to spearheading the Bauhaus centennial exhibition, Ballinger worked with private clients, local galleries and non-profit organizations through her company, Walnut5 Art Advisory. Ballinger started her company in 2010 and offers services ranging from collection management and preservation planning to curation and placement consulting.
Photos courtesy of Aspen Institute and Lissa Ballinger
Before her “An Introduction to Bauhaus” art talk on Wednesday, July 25 at the Wheeler Opera House, we caught up with Ballinger to get tips for collectors, her favorite spots for finding art and learn what sets Aspen’s art scene apart from anywhere else in the world.
Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Real Estate: What first brought you to Aspen?
Lissa Ballinger: The reason that I came to Aspen [in 2002] is because there is literally no place on earth—that is also a mountain town—which has this range and quality of cultural opportunities. Period.
ASSIR: What sets Aspen art scene apart and how has it changed over the years?
LB: I wrote my thesis on the visual arts in Aspen [she obtained her Masters of Art Administration from Columbia University] and at that point, I was talking about this influx of second home owners and how that had changed the viability of it being a year-round community. But now, 15 years later, it’s so interesting for me to reflect about how much it has changed since then. Art is all over the Roaring Fork Valley, our artistic achievements are being recognized on a much higher level and we’re truly a cultural center destination.
ASSIR: Where are your local, go-to spots to shop for art?
LB: The recurring shows at the Red Brick Center for the Arts and the Aspen Chapel are stocked with work from local artists. Anderson Ranch’s “Lunchtime Auctionette” every Friday in the summer is the biggest gem! And I always find something at their Annual Community Picnic. Downtown, Maker + Place and the Skye Gallery are each owned by young women entrepreneurs and Aspen natives. And the level of art-making down valley is incredible! The ArtBase in Basalt has a fantastic rotating gallery of local artists. I also love The Launchpad and SAW [Studio for Arts + Works] in Carbondale.
ASSIR: And on the gallery side?
LB: Gallery Maximillian, Baldwin Gallery, Harvey/Meadows Gallery and Boesky West.
ASSIR: What trends have you observed in the past year? Do you think the societal shift in the preference of “shopping local” has affected the art world?
LB: I would love that to be an art trend, especially as prices continue to go haywire…the relationship between money and art fascinates me. While Aspen has a thriving scene, there just haven’t been many venues for local artists to showcase their work. I’ve seen that change recently, which is really exciting. Overall in contemporary art, there was this departure from photography for awhile—it can be ubiquitous and people seemed less interested, but it’s coming back around.
ASSIR: What’s your biggest piece of advice for new collectors?
LB: Entering the world of art collecting can be overwhelming, intimidating even. My first thing I tell new collectors is to do research and be curious. Find out what specifically you’re interested in to keep your search narrow. I also encourage people to study art movements, which can help influence decision-making. Unabashedly right now, it should be all about the Bauhaus! And for more serious collectors, art advisors can play a really important role in helping guide you to discovering your personal taste. If you’re just beginning to collect, there are so many unbelievable and affordable experiences here to discover art if you seek them out.
UPCOMING ASPEN ART HAPPENINGS
16th Annual Aspen Arts Festival
Saturday, July 21–Sunday, July 22
Rio Grande Park
An Introduction to Bauhaus: Lissa Ballinger Art Talk
Wednesday, July 25, 5:30pm
Wheeler Opera House
Friday, July 27–Sunday, July 29
Aspen Ice Garden
Aspen Art Museum ArtCrush 2018
Wednesday, August 1–Friday, August 3
28th Annual Art Auction and Community Picnic
August 4, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Anderson Ranch Arts Center
Aspen Chapel Gallery Artist Talk
Wednesday, August 15, 5:30 p.m.
Art and Walking Tour of the Aspen Institute hosted by Lissa Ballinger:
Herbert Bayer Mountains and Convolutions, 1944–1953
September 12, 11 a.m.
Meets at the Aspen Institute Resnick Gallery
Every Friday through September 21, 11:45 a.m.
Anderson Ranch Arts Center
Posted on June 8, 2018 by Katie Shapiro
Aspen was the first-ever resort community in the country to adopt an official bike sharing system in 2013. Fast forward five years later and it’s hard to imagine Aspen and Basalt without WE-Cycle and its many docking stations around town.
And Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty has been along for the ride since the very beginning, supporting WE-cycle as its first corporate sponsor in a partnership that’s now in its sixth season. This year marks another milestone for the non-profit organization: it’s the first bike sharing program in the world to be completely free for all users (for rides 30 minutes or less).
Made possible from a $145,000 grant from the City of Aspen, $45,000 each from Eagle County and the Town of Basalt along with robust sponsor support, WE-cycle ridership has already soared since it’s reopening on May 1— ridership is up 197 percent in Aspen and 44 percent in Basalt during the same time period last year according to director and founder, Mirte Mallory.
“Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty has been the most tremendous supporter from the very beginning. As our earliest adopters and believers, joining us as a system-wide sponsor has been transformative for what we’ve been able to accomplish at WE-cycle,” says Mallory.
Inspired by the benefits she saw bike sharing create for cities like Paris and Amsterdam, the Aspen native wanted the same solution available in her hometown. “Although we are a small community, we still face a lot of big-city challenges — traffic, air quality and especially parking,” she says. “Our hope is to continue to build on the bike culture that had already existed here and have both locals and visitors use WE-cycle as a viable transportation option.”
She credits Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty co-owner Ernie Fyrwald’s similar vision from having experienced bike share programs in cities he had visited over the years as the impetus for such a successful relationship. “He truly values the importance of supporting bike vitality and what it can do for a community’s livability,” says Mallory.
What started as a 12-station system in Aspen has since grown to more than 40 stations stocked with 190 bikes to work in conjunction with the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) bus system, plus the implementation of access in El Jebel, Willits and Basalt.
Under Fyrwald’s leadership, Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty has aligned with the program way beyond just putting branded panels on the back of WE-cycle’s bikes. For many brokers, using the system is essential in their daily commutes and also in showing clients prospective properties around Aspen and Basalt.
"Doing most of my business in the downtown core and adjacent neighborhoods, WE-cycle has been a great way to get around. It's also a handy way to show clients a new neighborhood and how accessible it is,” says Lex Tarumianz.
Chris Klug, a passionate pedaler both on and off the clock, explains, “I have toured downtown and the West End together with my clients on WE-cycle bikes … they absolutely love it. Not only does it help reduce cars on our roads and lessens the impact on our spectacular natural alpine environment, but it’s also a far more efficient way to get around town during the busy summer months when you’re in a hurry. Overall, it just further sets our community apart and makes Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley such a special place.”
For Craig Ward, WE-cycle has been on his “must-support” list since the inception of the program. "I am thrilled that it is now publicly supported, so the bikes are free throughout the community!” he says.
Although she often tours clients around on WE-cycle bikes, supporting bike sharing for Tory Thomas isn’t just about “what it does for me and my business. What I love most about WE-cycle is what it does for our community and environment at large.”
If you haven’t already, sign-up for your free WE-cycle season pass and download the mobile app here: we-cycle.org.
Special thanks to Craig Turpin for photography of WE-cycle bike sharing in Aspen and Basalt, Colorado.
Posted on May 25, 2018 by Sara Kurz
The beautiful renovation of our Aspen Hyman Mall office is finally complete! The entire first floor was stripped to the studs, knocking down all of the nook-like offices with dark, heavy finishes. Now, the space is has an open floor plan that flows naturally from the entrance and lobby at the front, all the way to the new staff kitchen in the back.
Broker offices are now lined up against the outer walls of the space and separated by glass. A sleek new conference room with a luxurious marble table will feature touchscreen technology for virtual reality property tours of prospective homes. The new lobby also features touchscreen technology and a comfy couch for visitors.
Stop by the new office today, or check out the 3D Matterport Tour below!
Special thanks to
Sherlock Homes, Builder
Forum Phi, Designer
AV Tech, Daryl Mackie
Furniture, Sandy’s Office Supply
Window signs, MicroPlastics, Inc.
Posted on May 15, 2018 by Sara Kurz
In January 2018, East West Partners Snowmass Base Village released fourteen whole ownership residences, with eleven residences at the new Limelight Hotel Snowmass and three luxury residences at Lumin. Since then, they have released eleven more whole ownership residences at One Snowmass West. Below is an update on the inventory for sale in all three buildings, as well as exclusive details for One Snowmass West.
SNOWMASS BASE VILLAGE INVENTORY
ONE SNOWMASS WEST
11 Units For Sale
One Snowmass West residences currently for sale include two 2-bedroom units, six 3-bedroom units, two 4-bedroom units and one 4-bedroom plus den penthouse.
One Snowmass West residences feature:
- Spacious floor plans
- Natural wood detailing throughout
- Floor-to ceiling window walls to showcase sweeping up-mountain views and the plaza
- Generous private balcony
- Kitchens with contemporary European appliances from Gaggenau
- Spa-like master bathroom
- Rooftop terrace with infinity-edged spa and firepit
- Smart home thermostat and lighting control
- Private ski storage locker rooms that connect directly to skiway
- Fitness center and yoga studio
- Turnkey property management availability through Snowmass Mountain Lodging
Additionally, all One Snowmass West residences are pursuing a LEED Gold certification with a Healthy Living designation. Interior finish options include: mountain modern, alpine refined or contemporary rustic. Renderings of each option are shown below.
CLICK HERE to view the Brochure.
CLICK HERE to view the Floor Plans
CLICK HERE to view the Pricing Sheet
CONTACT one of our Sales Associates today for more information.
Posted on April 27, 2018 by Sara Kurz
Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty has been awarded a 2018 Top Workplaces honor by The Denver Post. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by research partner Energage, LLC (formerly WorkplaceDynamics), a leading provider of technology-based employee engagement tools. The anonymous survey measures several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few. Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty ranked 31 on the list of mid-sized companies.
“Top Workplaces is more than just recognition,” said Doug Claffey, CEO of Energage. “Our research shows organizations that earn the award attract better talent, experience lower turnover, and are better equipped to deliver bottom-line results. Their leaders prioritize and carefully craft a healthy workplace culture that supports employee engagement.”
“We feel it is important that our staff and brokers are acknowledged for their contributions to Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty. It is because of their professional commitment to excellence that our company continues to thrive,” says Gary Hughes, Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty CEO/President. “This is our first time on Colorado Top Workplaces and we are proud to be the only real estate brokerage in the Roaring Fork Valley to make the list.”
“Becoming a Top Workplace isn’t something organizations can buy,” Claffey said. “It’s an achievement organizations have worked for and a distinction that gives them a competitive advantage. It’s a big deal.”
For more information, visit: https://www.denverpost.com/2018/04/20/top-workplaces-2018-companies/
Posted on April 20, 2018 by Katie Shapiro
“Never judge a book by its cover” is an invaluable old adage— except when it comes to selling a property.
When a prospective buyer walks through the front door for a first showing, it’s an agent’s singular opportunity to make a meaningful first impression. Upon entry, a value perception is immediately formed and most importantly, the idea of whether or not the buyer can picture themselves actually living there.
That first showing has a lot of impact – once you scratch below the surface (number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, square footage, etc.), buyers subconsciously search for emotional appeal, seeking out a feel for the home. Buyers do this by gathering a large amount of superficial information in a short amount of time—known as a “thin slice” as coined by Malcom Gladwell in the book, Blink.
In addition to making the home feel comfortable to the buyer, staging can also provide aspirational cues, showing buyers what sort of lifestyle they could have in the home. In the Roaring Fork Valley, buyers very well choose to move here or purchase a home here, because of the kinds of lifestyle and outdoor activities that surround us. That is where the art of home staging comes in.
For longtime local and Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty broker Laurie Laing, “It is a game changer when done right.”
Last year, Laing took over an unsuccessful, stale listing in the Aspen Highlands area, customized an interior refresh and had new photography shot, which enabled her to sell the property within a couple of months for $5.3 million.
The property was previously a rental, “So when I took it over and walked through it for the first time, it really felt like a rental. There was no personality, no charm. It just didn’t pop,” she explains.
Photos courtesy of Laurie Laing.
With a goal to “appeal to the widest range of people possible” Laing worked with the seller to determine a staging budget, which varies from listing to listing and typically lands anywhere between $5,000 and $20,000. Her staging style is subtle, focusing on main pieces that anchor a room. Working with local design resources like Cathers Home in Basalt, she curates furniture and accessories “to bring out the great qualities of a home that have always been there, but make them shine.”
Laing believes that at least 25% of the homes in the Roaring Fork Valley market need staging. “There is always something to enhance and improve with any property, which is how to gain a competitive advantage to set your home apart from the rest.”
The main challenge can be the expense. Many sellers may be reluctant to agree to the additional investment and it also requires a further detachment from any emotional connection to their home.
In such a competitive market, staging is also an essential tool for selling spec and rebuilt homes. Garrett Reuss, who specializes in new construction projects, thinks about the end result from the beginning. For a recent full-scale renovation of 955 Fox Run Drive in Snowmass Village (under contract), Reuss enlisted locally-based interior designer Barbara Goldman to collaborate on creating a complete lifestyle within the home.
Photos courtesy of Mike Lyons Photography and Mountain Home Photo.
Principal of her eponymous firm, which offers upscale residential design in New England, Florida and Colorado, Goldman says, “ In staging, you want to appeal to the masses, rather than just one particular style. Leaving the palette clean enough is essential so that the future owner can have the flexibility to further customize things to their specific taste.”
Goldman, who relocated permanently from Boston to Snowmass Village in 2016 after living here part-time over the years, calls out the area as a completely unique, concentrated market.
“The spec house business in Boston is nowhere near the level it is here. Sellers just aren’t willing to put in the kind of money for updates that we see done here in order to sell a property. Here, it’s all about selling an idea of what life can be like in the mountains.”
Mountain-town-specific design elements like a perfectly positioned hot tub, extra garage space for gear, a mudroom with boot-heater capabilities and fireplaces in multiple rooms matched with using a neutral color scheme and incorporating views of the outdoors as much as possible are Goldman’s secrets to staging success, to which she says “can quickly flip a switch in a buyer’s mind.”
But her biggest piece of advice? “Don’t be so attached to your past and don’t ever take suggested aesthetic changes personally. You’ve already moved on by deciding to sell.”
Learn more about Laurie, Garrett and Barbara here:
Posted on April 3, 2018 by Sara Kurz
We are proud to present exclusive data on the buyers we represent - what their primary use of the property will be and what state they come from. See below to read more.
Disclaimer: The data shown here is derived from the Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty Post-Closing Survey, an optional survey our brokers have been filling out upon closing since December 2016. The data shown here does not represent all closings in the MLS, only those within Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty and furthermore, not all closings within our company. The information provided by the brokers does not disclose any personal information about our clients; just the demographics the broker may be aware of.
Posted on March 20, 2018 by Sara Kurz
INTRODUCING THE TOP PLACES TO LIVE & SKI IN THE US
Every aspect of your home should be a reflection of who you are, where you’ve been, and the life you aspire to live. Your best life begins with a home that inspires you.
SEARCH SKI PROPERTIES ON SIR.COM
YEAR-END 2017 RESORT REPORT
Our Exclusive Market Comparison
We are proud to release our annual Resort Report comparing real estate market in Aspen to other mountain resorts in the US. Resorts included in this report include:
Colorado: Vail Valley, Breckinridge, Aspen, Telluride, Crested Butte and Steamboat Springs.
Other States: Lake Tahoe, NV & CA, Park City, Big Sky, MT, Jackson Hole, WY, Sante Fe, NM and Sun Valley, ID.
A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO
To All of the Sotheby's International Realty Affiliates Who Contributed to the LIVE Ski Video:
And Aspen 82 for Producing & Editing the Video
Posted on March 14, 2018 by Katie Shapiro
Here in Aspen, searching for properties remains “on mountain time.” That is, while residents and visitors alike might be internet savvy, traditional methods are still used to market properties. Whether in one of two daily newspapers, nearly ten glossy magazines, or in locally produced television commercials, the audience is broad. Targeting a specific geographic location, age demographic, or lifestyle interest of a buyer in such a saturated and transient market is much more of a challenge.
As 2017 was winding down, Inman, a leading real estate resource and media outlet, released a report begging the question “Is Facebook coming for Zillow?”
The social networking authority unveiled a major update to the Property Rentals section of its Marketplace, implementing a new front-end interface allowing mobile users to search for properties using more filters than ever before. In official partnership with Zumper and Apartment List, potential renters can search directly through their Facebook newsfeed with the touch of a screen or click of a button.
And for sellers? Posting and advertising listings on Facebook is an ever-growing opportunity to reach more eyes than ever before. A Zillow/Facebook relationship like the one already established for rentals could change the way buyers search for property online.
Inman reports two strategic points for sellers of the future to note:
User experience is key, pitting search versus match. The current consumer experience on real estate portals, such as the Aspen Glenwood MLS or Zillow itself, is focused around searching and browsing. Visitors scan a map, enter search criteria or browse through featured listings. It’s the equivalent of flipping through a glossy magazine or scanning the pages of a newspaper classified section.
The innovative nature of Facebook advertising lends itself to a matching experience. In the future, real estate listings will be targeted to consumers based on what Facebook knows about them (in the same way it already targets advertising).
This targeting is among the most sophisticated in the business given the amount of information Facebook knows about its users. The majority of Facebook users won’t be searching for real estate. Instead, they will see real estate presented to them.
All-of-market versus some-of-market. Real estate portals maintain their reputation as the best place to find a home because they have all of the inventory available in the market. When a consumer is searching for a new home, he or she wants to look where all of the properties for sale are available.
Facebook’s marketplace strategy, on the other hand, is not predicated on having all of the available real estate listings. At least for the foreseeable future, until a Zillow/Facebook, or similar, integration happens, the listings available on Facebook will only be those uploaded and posted by brokers or companies. So while the consumer experience on Facebook today can target and match listings directly to visitors, it doesn’t represent the entire market of possible houses for sale.
But, as the Inman article suggests, change is on the horizon. What are brokers today doing to keep up?
Top producing Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty broker Pat Marquis has emerged with a competitive edge by investing the majority of her marketing efforts away from print into social media channels and custom produced content.
“Historically, we have to admit that advertising and engaging on social media reaches more people period,” says Marquis. “I’ve quickly found that it’s faster and more beneficial for my clients. It’s only the beginning here in Aspen of how things are changing.”
Her first major new media project in embracing her new focus was a full-scale film shoot to highlight her highest profile listings. After meeting top-producing Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty agent Seth O’Byrne last fall during a social media seminar he hosted, Marquis was instantly, well, sold.
Regularly traveling to teach tricks of the digital trade to Sotheby’s International Realty offices across the country, O’Byrne has skyrocketed to success through storytelling. For many of the O’Byrne Team’s properties, he plays director/producer for mini-films enlisting high profile industry crews and actors from nearby Los Angeles to shoot, produce, and collaborate. A self-described “shameless self-promoter”, he often steps in front of the camera with his marketing director / photographer Frank Glaser capturing every behind-the-scenes moment for even more content. He’s amassed more than 20,000 Instagram followers for his electric persona, honest commentary, date nights, travelogues, and dream-worthy real estate posts.
What triggered O’Byrne's interest in social media as a venue for real estate? “What happened for me—in 2010 when the market started turning around—I had a revelation to start advertising my listings on Facebook when it first started fixed $5 ads. I was one of the first paid advertisers on Facebook…ever!…in the City of San Diego. It started my fascination with digital marketing,” explains O’Byrne.
Also a content consultant for “social media rebrands”, and rightfully so, O’Byrne was hired by Marquis to spend a few days in Aspen last month. With their Los Angeles camera crew in tow, the crew set out on ATV’s in Aspen’s backcountry and even up in the air with Aspen Heli Charters over the course of two jam-packed days of shoots.
O’Byrne and Marquis on the set of their shoots in Aspen in February.
After wrapping their first day on location, I caught up with both O’Byrne and Marquis in the Mountain Social lounge at the St. Regis Aspen Resort to get some tips and tricks of the trade to help sellers understand the role of social media in property advertising.
“It's not the market scene,” says O’Byrne, it's the market research and the market data social media provides. What I find, and why the revolution has become so huge is the marketing that we do on social media, is that it aggregates attention and it's measurable. You get instant, incredible feedback—it’s why social media is just so much more powerful.”
Marquis adds: “Our clientele has changed significantly over the years and we have to up our game to really meet their needs. They’re coming to us now already having done their research online—they’re knowledgeable and they know exactly what they’re looking for.”
Going forward, brokers like O’Byrne are embracing change. “You bake the cookies, you do the flyers, you do the open houses. That is marketing without any market research. And that to me is an enormous waste of time. I think what the last generation of realtors has had a hard time reckoning with is that what they used to do that worked doesn't work anymore.”
To that, Marquis adds: “We have to really open up our minds as far as change and we have to listen to our clients. One certain thing we can count on is change.”
The future is in video, according to O’Byrne: “It’s a medium that people are willing to consume. The written word, although I get a lot of response from it, people don't really absorb or connect in the way they do through video.”
And in teamwork: “What I always advise brokers, when they think about content creation is, if you're not great at creating content, work with people who will help pull it out of you. O’Byrne also says, “You don't necessarily need to be the one creating all the content but the content needs to be unique to you.”
Follow the creative folks mentioned in this article on Instagram:
For a PDF download of the full Inman Article, CLICK HERE.
To watch the behind the scenes video of O’Byrne and Marquis’ video collaboration project, The Edge of Aspen, click below.