What do Donald Trump, Barbara Corcoran and our very own Dean Jones have in common? They each offered expert opinions on the value of naming estates in The Wall Street Journal article called “A HOUSE BY ANY OTHER NAME” dated February 15, 2013. Among the famous property names showcased were “Mar-a-Lago” in Palm Beach, FL (once owned by Donald Trump), “The Manor” in Holmby Hills, CA (once owned by Candy Spelling) and “The Promise Land” in Montecito, CA (owned by Oprah Winfrey) – her homage to Dr. Martin Luther King , which she called “a fulfillment of the promise that Dr. King spoke of.”
The feature article also included reference to the “B2B Ranch” in Fall City, Washington. This was the namesake for Seattle Mariner’s outfielder Jay Buhner who was known as “The Bone” (derived from the song “Bad to the Bone”). RSIR broker Sam Cunningham of Citrone was responsible for the $5 million sale of this 9,500- sq. ft. home as blogged about last December among the top sales of the year (especially for non-waterfront). Crab-fishing mogul Tim Kennedy bought the property (and the property name) with plans to keep it, according to Cunningham.
“There’s no doubt The Bone will be forever associated with the legacy of this property and my client likes it that way – it’s a conversation piece,” says Cunningham. “Unique branding, a famous seller and distinctive property attributes combined with our global marketing platform to have a material impact on this record sale. It’s inspired us to leverage property names in other listings that we represent.”
Pictured above: A 9,500+ sq. ft. estate in Fall City was sold by RSIR $5,000,000 – among the highest price paid for non-waterfront acreage in King County since 2000. Photo courtesy of Jen Harper and Kara Wiper, listing brokers, Coldwell Banker Bain.
Jones generally supports property names provided the residence warrants that approach and the name is appropriate.
“I think (property) naming creates identify for the property and most importantly, a memory point for brokers, consumers and now for the media at large,” says Jones. “These all become part of the brand promise and can even evoke an emotional sense when referencing it and build pride of ownership – like a trophy. When you speak of the property it can make you feel something.”
However Jones thinks that a bad name could erode value. His pullout quote in the Wall Street Journal states “Tongue-in-cheek names should be reserved for boats and beach bars – not luxury real estate”.
One of Jones’s favorite property names is the Storybook Farm, yet another listing represented by Citrone at RSIR. The seller is Phil Condit of Boeing fame, who designed it as a “grandchild trap” and the name lives up to the fantasy. The sprawling estate features a life-size train and western village, a trout pond, waterfalls and a massive game room and theater. But wait, there’s more. Trap doors, hidden rooms, a vineyard, a perfectly planned snack garden (blueberries, peaches, strawberries along a winding trail lead to a playhouse), miles of hiking trails and quite possibly the world’s most beautiful chicken coop make this a great place to be a kid.
Such names can be highly effective for marketing purposes, agrees Andrea Savage, Marketing Manager for RSIR.
“Property names are much easier to remember than physical addresses or listing numbers – ideally the individual websites share the same name in their URL,” says Savage. “They can provide for excellent search engine optimization. If a property isn’t memorable or if isn’t found easily online, it may as well not exist in terms of selling it. In our global marketplace, the “curbside” appraisal has definitely been replaced by “armchair” appraisals.”
A favorite motto at RSIR is: “If you don’t ring true online, don’t expect your phone to ring,” Savage reminds brokers.
Below are a few select RSIR listings that feature unique property names:
Hidden Bay Retreat | Admiralty Island, AK (Coming Soon)
Discover your own private sanctuary unlike any other place on earth. A destination so remarkable – hummingbirds migrate thousands of miles each year to nest upon this natural haven. Perfectly centered between the conveniences of Sitka and Juneau in Southeastern Alaska, Hidden Bay awaits your discovery just three hours from major West Coast cities. A personal retreat gently sited upon more than 45 acres (8 fee-simple lots) behold nearly a kilometer linear feet of private shorelines protected by a National Monument that surrounds you.