A Monumental Opening For BAM

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It all comes down to the opening. The creative, the website, the ads, the digital marketing strategies – everything. True success hinges on the number of interested names we generate, and how they react when they visit our Presentation Centre. It’s literally the culmination of all of our hard work. And it can be quite overwhelming, especially when the results exceed our expectations. This past weekend, my team and I proudly held the opening for the upcoming 6000-home community Queensville, located in East Gwillimbury. From top to bottom, it was easily the biggest and best sales centre we’ve done here at BAM.

When we were first approached this project, I had a vision of it being a new benchmark for how Presentation Centres should look and operate, and the result has far exceeded what I dreamed. From a digital standpoint, it’s loaded with incredible features, such as touch screen displays and real-time site maps that allow homebuyers to view and select available lots, which simultaneously update online when they’re sold. There’s also an interactive community video, light-up scale model, and video screens around the space, just to name a few.

From a purely aesthetic perspective, the Presentation Centre is flawlessly designed, and effectively showcases all three of the communities’ builders – Aspen Ridge, CountryWide and Lakeview. To say it’s beautiful would be an understatement.

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It was an incredibly large undertaking for us here at BAM, and I couldn’t be more proud of my team for all their hard work. The proof of our vision, strategy and commitment is the sales – in fact, numerous home styles sold out this weekend. It’s more than that though, because we’re not just selling homes; we’re providing opportunities, bright futures, and new lives to families.

Eventually as a result of our efforts here at BAM, Queensville’s community store will facilitate the sales of 6000 new homes, and I just couldn’t be more honoured to be a part of it.

Could Virtual Reality Be The Future Of Real Estate Sales?

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For the past few years, the technology industry has been buzzing about the imminent consumer release of Oculus Rift, a new virtual reality headset that allows users to enter virtual worlds. In 2012, Oculus VR, the company behind Oculus Rift, began releasing developer kits to allow developers ample time to create innovative applications for the product before its release. Applications developed thus far range from medical testing to games – but more exciting to me is the potential for real estate. 89% of homebuyers say that virtual tours are either very or somewhat useful, so it stands to reason that they would find tremendous value in virtual reality tours that could take standard web tours to the next level.

One company already employing these types of tours is Arch Virtual, who has been working with Chicago-based Panoptic Group to create virtual reality experiences for all of their upcoming development projects. This allows investors, and homebuyers, the opportunity to explore their forthcoming living and/or office using the Oculus Rift headset. When watching the video version of their latest project, we can see full scale, rendered examples of how a homebuyer can see fixtures, furnishings and finishes in the unit.

Potential homebuyers of the (not so distant) future could visit sales offices, and be escorted to an Oculus Rift station where they can explore home designs, and sample features. They could be updated in real-time, allowing them to sample everything from flooring to cabinet colours on the fly. To take it a step further, the sales office itself could be an exclusive downloadable application allowing Oculus Rift users to attend openings virtually, should they have the hardware. This could potentially eliminate the need to construct physical home models, which would present a significant savings to builders. The possibilities are endless.

Statistics show homebuyers who used virtual tours as a significant portion of their home-buying experience spent an average of two weeks with a realtor looking at homes, compared to those who didn’t – they spent an average of seven weeks looking for their homes. It seems like this type of technology has incredible potential, so it’ll be exciting to see how it grows.

BAM Is Headed to the BILD Awards

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Each year, the best of the best from the building and development industry are recognized at the BILD Awards. I’m happy to announce that we’ll once again be standing with our clients this year with 13 nominations in total – and we couldn’t be more excited.

Last year, Brookfield Residential and BAM were awarded with the newest BILD award – Best New Video. This year we have two clients up for the same award as a result of videos we created: Brookfield (again) and Empire Communities. Innovative Barrie builder Sean is up for 9 awards total. His community of smart towns, which is the first for Sean Homes, is definitely a success story for us here at BAM. We’re very proud to see this innovative project receive so much praise. We’re also quite pleased that Sean, along with Empire Communities, is in the running for Green Home Builder of the Year as a result of innovative campaigns we developed. If you recall, Empire won that award last year.

Here’s a list of all of the awards BAM is up for:

  • Best P2G Community of the Year – Low-Rise – Sean
  • Green Home Builder of the Year – Low-Rise – Sean/Empire Communities
  • Project of the Year – Sean
  • Best E-mail Marketing Piece – Brookfield Residential/Sean Mason
  • Best Brochure – Sean
  • Best Project Signage ­– Sean
  • Best Video – Brookfield Residential/Empire Communities
  • Best Website – Sean
  • Best High-Rise Sales Office – Fram Building Group

The only award that isn’t decided by a panel of judges is the People’s Choice award. The people decide, and we’d appreciate your support in helping Sean take the award home. Voting is currently open, and will remain as such until April 2nd.

It’s always an honour to see our clients – and our work – recognized amongst our industry peers at the BILD awards. Historically, BAM has had tremendous success, and I’m optimistic that this year will be no different.

Good luck to all of our clients from the whole team here at BAM!

Could Prefab Be The Future Of Residential Home Development?

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These days, builders are constantly raising the bar on green development. According to a Canada Green Building Trends Report conducted by Canada Green Building Council, 56% of the Canadian respondents reported that over 30% of the projects they build are green – and that number is constantly increasing. By 2017, it’s expected to be closer to 60%, which is exciting. Aside from the obvious health benefits of greener building, there are also other incentives such as lower operating costs and overall more efficient building.

In China, developer Xian Min Zhang is taking green/efficient building to the next level. A video made its rounds on social media this week showing his latest project: a 57-storey skyscraper completed in just 19 days. The building has 19 10-meter-high atriums, 800 apartments, and office space for 4,000 people. How was this possible? The building was completed using prefabricated materials, which during the construction phase were attached together. Think of it as a large-scale Lego project.

This method, according to Xian Min Zhang, reduced the use of concrete by 15,000 trucks, which eliminated the release of dust into the air. With the high levels of air pollution in China, this is a big deal. He also claims that all of the air inside the building is 99.9% pure thanks to the tight construction and built-in air conditioning system. The building has quadruple-pane glass and will reportedly save 12,000 tons of CO2 emission annually.

Could this technique be the future of development? Could this technique be applied more widely to residential housing here in Canada? Well, it’s already a movement that is slowly becoming more popular. In fact, in 2012 factory-built units accounted for 11% of all new single-family homes; however, much of the resistance to the growth in this movement is routed in stigma. Much of the criticism centers on the actual quality and structural integrity of the construction. That is changing though. For example, Landmark Homes and Summerhill Homes in Edmonton are now erecting all of their houses using prefab technique – and they’ve collectively built approximately 300 prefab homes thus far. Another builder who has applied this methodology for over a decade is Mattamy Homes, who built 200 of their 300 homes in Hawthorne Village inside of a factory located in Milton.

Whether prefab will grow in prominence remains to be seen. There are many benefits, and potential drawbacks, that need to be fully considered. One thing is for sure though: Xian Min Zhang’s latest project is extremely impressive.

We’re Growing…Digitally

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It’s no secret that digital marketing is becoming the main focus for many agencies. There are many reasons for this: it’s more immediate, innovative, cost-effective and impactful. With the average Canadian spending 41 hours a month online, Canada ranks second across the globe in Internet usage, behind only the United States with 43 monthly hours on average. These numbers show that the bulk of the country’s consumers are living their lives online. Marketing has becoming more regionalized, and more localized – even more individualized. Breaking free from the constraints of traditional advertising is allowing marketers (like us) to create immersive experiences that take campaigns to the next level. This means that in lieu of static solutions, we have an opportunity to really interact with homebuyers in ways that we never could before. We can deliver tailored content to the right audience, at the right time, which amplifies our results.

We embarked into the digital realm years ago, and it’s thrilling to see how it’s paid off. As an example, I spoke about marketing automation a few times last year – and I can tell you that as we continue to develop and implement it into our clients’ campaigns, the results we’re achieving are everything we hoped they would be.

The numbers don’t lie: print is in constant decline, and digital media is now bigger than national TV advertising. Here at BAM, we’re extremely passionate about digital – and we’re not just talking the talk, we’re walking the walk. Currently, we offer a number of services to our clients, such as personalized web experiences and email campaigns, innovative social media advertising, digital/interactive site plan tables and much more. We’ve grown, and are continuing to grow, our team as well as our capabilities. Digital, as we predicted, is proving to be the future of our company. I’m excited about the projects we have on the horizon.

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