Can discount new development marketing take off?

RealDirect launches sales at two Brooklyn projects
By Konrad Putzier | November 24, 2015 12:50PM

As apartment towers sprout up across the city, new development marketing firms like Douglas Elliman and Corcoran Sunshine are seeing their profits rise. Now a Manhattan-based tech company is trying to get a slice of the pie by offering a discount alternative.

RealDirect, a five-year-old tech-focused real estate brokerage, launched its new development marketing business with two condo projects in Brooklyn: 375 Prospect Place in Prospect Heights and 213 Columbia Street in the Columbia Waterfront District, both developed by Sohne Brothers.

The startup offers basic marketing services – such as building a website, coming up with an online strategy and reaching out to databases and brokers – but lets developers handle sales themselves. Its fees are much lower than full-service marketing firms, argued Doug Perlson, Real Direct’s founder. Instead of pocketing a percentage of an apartment’s sales price – typical among marketing firms – RealDirect charges a flat fee based on the work it does.

Perlson, a trained real estate lawyer, said the offering is designed for small to mid-sized developers who “have unique expertise to sell their product or just want to save the money.”

“Our service is to work with our sellers the way they want to work with us,” he added, explaining that the firm adjusts its services depending on how much of the marketing process developers want to handle in-house.

RealDirect’s first new development projects are small, with eight units each. But Perlson claimed he is currently in talks with several other developers for projects as large as 50 units.