We know a thing or two about marketing. Before he got into real estate, Dennis spent most of his career managing advertising projects for a sign company – not just stand alone signs, but convention booths and tables, where his work had to be good enough to lure people in without the promise of free pens or letter openers. Before I got into real estate I helped other real estate agents develop ad campaigns in print and online – alerting them to new techniques, strategies and technologies that were having success in other areas of the country.
I say this because I’m about to reveal one of our best marketing secrets. It’s something I picked up from my days at the advertising firm, and if I hadn’t lucked into it, I probably never would have known how important it could be to our business. It’s responsible for our greatest volume of lead calls every month, and helps us secure buyers by getting them to respond emotionally not just to a home, but to an idea. Our secret? The log home.
We try to feature a log home in almost every form of advertising that we do. If we don’t have a log home listing, we look through all of the log homes available, pick out a few of our favorites, and ask the listing agent for permission to advertise their listing for free. Why do we do this? Simply said – we get more calls on log homes than any other niche home: more than waterfront homes, more than view homes, more than cheap homes, more than equestrian homes.
I think that we have Michael Landon to thank. TV shows like Bonanza and Little House on the Prairie showed several generations of viewers that log homes were: (1) impervious to attacks from wolves, (2) too thick to be pierced by arrows,(3) great for escaping from blizzards, and on a sub-conscious level – (4) kept families together (at least that’s true of the Cartwright and Ingalls families).
I’m being a little cute, but my point is true: people respond to the qualities of a log home much differently than any other home. I would argue that this isn’t necessarily because of its architectural style, but because of everything it embodies. A log home is like a sculpture that begs to be touched ; I’ve been a kid playing in a log home, and we grabbed every beam and truss as we raced and played – something I never would have done on the sharp edge of drywall. Log homes are their own deodorizer – the natural smell of pine and cedar is a part of the sensory appreciation that gets people to call on log homes. And the setting! Imagine if you will a log home and everything around it. Now imagine a brick home. It’s not the same is it? Log homes evoke a sense of privacy and a sense of nature – and for good reason: the log homes for sale in Snohomish County average a lot size of 3.9 acres.
My wife grew up in the house log business. At one time or another all of her brothers worked in her dad’s log distribution business, and every family member helped in the construction of the three log homes that lived in at one time or another. Her brother Casey now owns his own log distribution company, so I asked him why he thought people bought log homes:
“The biggest benefit to a log home over the many alternatives is probably the value that they hold. Although there is a lot of work involved in keeping any kind of wood siding maintained, the fact is that a log home is almost always worth more in any market area.”
I tested his theory. It’s too comprehensive to test the available log homes in Snohomish County against the remaining available listings, so I compromised. I took available homes with a similar average lot size (around 3.9 acres) and that weren’t log homes or have log siding, and I ended up with about the same number of listings (about 40). Log homes for sale in Snohomish County average $287.94/square foot, while the sampling of homes without log siding average $258.87/square foot – a difference of over 11%.
We love listing and looking at homes that we would buy ourselves, and we like listing and looking at log homes most of all, for all the reasons I stated above. I’ve put together a link with a map search of all the log homes available in King and Snohomish Counties, so if you want to feed your log home fantasy a little bit, click on the links below.
September 12, 2009
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