Agents turn broker’s open into virtual reality happy hour

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The idea came to him in the middle of the night.

Ohio Coldwell Banker Hunter Realty agent Anthony Colantuono was having a tough time pinning down his seller, a retired doctor, on date and time for the broker’s tour of his $1.65 million luxury home in Cleveland’s Moreland Hills.

Colantuono and his business partner on the property, Mike Crimaldi, had seen a presentation at a Coldwell Banker conference on how virtual reality (VR), and the franchisor’s relationship with Samsung, could impact an agent’s business.

They decided to put this into action with their own spin on it. With the seller’s blessing, after spending several hours filming the property with their Matterport camera, the agents visited a local AT&T store to inquire about the cost of Samsung phone and VR headset rentals.

Could you pass the tour, please?

Colantuono is now holding an event next Thursday where 120 agents from all around the Cleveland area have been invited to a local restaurant, the Burntwood Tavern.

From 3 to 6 p.m., they will enjoy happy hour and see the home using the Samsung headsets, phones and the tour from Colantuono’s Matterport camera.

Around 10 agents will be hooked up to the tour at a time, which is likely to take around five to 10 minutes.

“We will have stations set up with VR headgear putting them on stools that swivel and turn for safety,” said Colantuono. “There will be five on one side of the room, five on the other side.

“The VR tour will enable them to see the flooring — even a small stain in the carpet, you can pick that up. Even when you come down the circular stairs, you see people reach out for the hand rail.”

From happy hour to happy client

The event has enabled Colantuono and Crimaldi to reach out to agents and brokers from a 20 mile radius covering the affluent suburbs, with the goal of increasing the attendance count from a regular open house.

Local media are invited, too, and after the election and the Indians losing, they will be looking for something new, he said.

He has organized to have people interview agents after they have experienced a tour. These will be shared across Coldwell Banker and Colantuono’s social media platforms.

Colantuono has also managed costs on what could be a pricey event by negotiating sponsorship from First American Title to pay for the hors d’hoeuvre. Samsung is providing the equipment for free as part of the Coldwell Banker program — though the agent may end up paying for the happy hour drinks if another sponsor doesn’t come through for that.

The Cleveland agent is hoping this will create some good excitement and a broader audience for the 9,000 square-foot, six-bedroom, seven-bathroom property, which was on the market for a year before changing agents to the Coldwell Banker pair.

Colantuono has invited his seller to come along and enjoy the event incognito. “No one will know who they are, and they will hear the feedback,” he said.

“The sellers are relieved, their response has been: ‘We don’t have to take our dog and leave for three hours.’”

Email Gill South.