Ten Minutes with Graham Carter

When Graham Carter, Trevor St Germain, and Patrick Uy teamed up to create Vertex Developments, they had a clear vision: build the best, most imaginative multi-family homes on the market — homes where families put down roots and dreams are realized. This issue, we chat with Graham Carter about selling during the lockdown and creative design in the future.

Q: You stuck to your original schedule and began previewing Hillcrest in April, right in the middle of the lockdown. How did you navigate this challenge?

A: We knew that if we let the [buying] momentum slow, it would be really difficult to get it back when things do turn around. So we took a couple of weeks to pivot and went 100 percent virtual. We even worked it into our marketing with a new tagline: “buy a townhome from the comfort of your couch”. It was actually a great time for us to go this way, because lots of people are now relying on FaceTime or Zoom so they’re already used to the virtual environment.

Q: How did you create a virtual sales environment?

A: Two of the most successful things we did were 3-D fly throughs and using Zoom so buyers could interact with our sales team. People like to buy, but they don’t usually want to be sold. With a digital walk-through, they can “visit” the presentation centre at whatever time is convenient for them — they’re totally in control of the process.

The downside, of course is that people still want to touch the tiles or open the fridge. We’re seeing a lot of people who took the virtual tour and are now coming into the presentation centre.

Q: Did people actually buy during the lockdown?

A: Yes. We launched in May, and by mid-June we had three sales — which is remarkable since there are only 17 homes in total.

Q: You’ve said creativity is the currency of success — especially in pivotal times like these. How are you applying that philosophy to the Hillcrest townhomes?

A: This is a very “foodie neighbourhood,” so we partnered with Chef David Robertson of the Dirty Apron cooking school who designed the kitchens. You need to find innovative ways to differentiate yourself, and I believe this type of partnership is an excellent way to achieve that.

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