In this week’s edition of BuzzTalk, we get the buzz from Cristy Edmonds, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at the Surrey, BC-based residential project marketing company, Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing.We chat about Edgewater, the unique condo project in South Surrey that Fifth Avenue is collaborating on with Barber Creek Developments, and discuss the potential for Surrey to shed its reputation as a Vancouver commuter suburb.
BuzzBuzzHome: How did you get your start in the real estate industry?
Cristy Edmonds: I started when I was a teenager working with my mom who was a realtor. I first got exposure helping her on different projects — she was a project sales specialist — working weekends and summers and I started to get a feel for what the industry was like. So I went to university and then after university I got my real estate license and started as a salesperson.
BBH: Tell us a bit about Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing.
CE: Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing has been in the industry for about thirty years now. Fifth Avenue got its feet wet when it realized that there were these big projects that were being constructed, not just single family home developments, and that realtors were basically trying to handle the sales and form some type of marketing.So they saw a niche and an opportunity to establish an all in one sales and marketing firm that could do everything for them and add some value with a brand to the project, creating buzz and hype and getting people excited about buying into a development or a community rather than just buying a home from a realtor.
BBH: And what’s your role at Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing?
CE: I’m Vice President of Sales and Marketing, so I work with the President and meet with developers who are maybe looking at purchasing a piece of land. They’ll start the discussion with us as to what we think they should build on the land to maximize the value and what buyers in that area would want.We try to identify a unique opportunity for that project, maybe a niche market for a particular type of housing that’s not currently in the market place and how we could potentially maximize revenues for that developer. We also try to bring forward a product that the market is waiting for.
I start on that level and then from there I’ll start the whole marketing process for the developers before they launch a project. And then I’ll even hire the sales team and help the strategy behind the whole project launch.Also, once we move from the launch phase then I’m involved with the strategy behind the tempo pace of sales — if it’s a two year build out time, it’s obviously not just going to be all glitzed up at the beginning. They’ll have a strategy involving keeping people engaged and interested as the community’s being built out to get them to keep coming back to the community and keep the sales pace going.
It’s a pretty broad spectrum of work, which is why I enjoy it.
The kitchen in an Edgewater suite, a collaboration between Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing and Barber Creek Developments.
BBH:Let’s talk a bit about Edgewater. What exactly is Fifth Avenue’s role in this new project in Surrey?
CE:We’re involved in the whole process. When the developer first bought the land they consulted with the President of Fifth Avenue, Mark Belling, who’s been the president for 30 years, to figure out what should be built there.Initially it was zoned for townhomes, but we saw an opportunity to create a unique offering for that marketplace that was untapped and people were waiting for. We went to three storey condos, so there’s 201 units over 5 buildings on a 14 acre site.
It’s a unique offering in the South Surrey marketplace that hasn’t been seen in a long time. That’s also one of the reasons why we’ve been so successful and have had about 54 sales to date because there’s been people waiting for something like this.
Another beautiful interior shot of an Edgewater suite. The development is currently in its registration phase.
BBH: I’vebeen told that Edgewater is debunking some of the common stereotypesassociated with suburban developments in the Lower Mainland. Couldyou go into a bit more detail about that?
CE: We’ve really tried to create a community that’s for people who live in that neighbourhood. You’re not just putting an attractive price out there and trying to get people who want to purchase a home to move from Vancouver, but still commute into the city and come back and forth.
We’ve actually created a lifestyle in the community with the fact that the majority of the development overlooks the Nicomekl River, so there are a lot of view opportunities. Also, on a 14 acre site, 80 per cent of it is reserved for green space, so that’s also quite rare — something you’d never find in Vancouver. We’ll also be building an independent, freestanding clubhouse which will feature an outdoor pool, a chef’s kitchen, a media room and also an indoor/outdoor fireplace lounge.
The concept is you come home from work, you head out to the pool, you meet with your neighbours and mingle. It’s really about community.
BBH: There has been a flurry of sales activity during Edgewater‘s VIP preview week. Why do you think it’s been such a big seller?
CE: Again, just the fact that nothing’s been on the market like this in probably 5 or 6 years. So there’s been a pent-up demand for that type of offering. There’s been a lot of townhomes and single family homes and a lot of smaller condos that have come to market, but nothing of this size, where it offers the lifestyle and the luxury.For example, the kitchen in the Edgewater units, when you’re standing in it, it feels like a single family home, it doesn’t feel like a condo. I think that’s part of the appeal. When we designed them, we really thought about the people who are coming out of larger single family homes — they don’t want to compromise.
This way they’re not downsizing in their buy. They’re not having to compromise on the finishing and features that they’d have in their high end single family home, they’re getting those in their condo now. They’re getting the added benefit of the lock-and-go lifestyle, not having to deal with the maintenance anymore of the single family home.
BBH: It’sno secret that the housing prices in Vancouver are high. Do you thinkthese trends will continue, and if so, will South Surrey and FraserValley’s popularity as an alternative to living in Vancouver willincrease?CE:
Definitely! Also, when you look at the job growth that’s in Surrey too, I think you’ll find a lot of people will be coming out this way.
To stay in the city and to commute to work in the city is just becoming more and more out of reach for a lot of people and there’s nothing left over for them to have some form of a lifestyle. When you consider that you’re not having to put all your money into your mortgage by coming out to Surrey, but you’re not having to compromise your lifestyle.There’s these little pocket communities forming everywhere that have a more walkable, urban type of feel. So people are starting to get that out here and they’re seeing added value in that.
BBH: What’s your favourite part of your job?
Sales, to be honest. I truly enjoy seeing the sales success of project, especially when you sell to end users, people who are going to live in the home, not just investors.You see that you’re actually improving people’s lives. You’re making their lives easier, safer, most people are quite happy when they’re making a purchase. You’d think that taking on a big mortgage would make people nervous, but it’s the excitement of it that I enjoy.
I also like getting to know the people who are actually buying. You learn about them and why they’re moving there. It’s quite nice.