This is the first of what I hope is a weekly blog highlighting some of the houses and condominiums that I see on caravan. A caravan or a broker’s tour is a weekly event where agents are invited to go from house to house in a certain area. It is a great way to see a lot of properties in a short period of time.
In Maui, we have caravans running in the different districts most weekdays, so you could spend most of your time on caravan if you wanted to. Just as an example, here is what our current caravan schedule looks like:
- Tuesday is South Maui and rotates each week between Wailea, South Maui and North Maui (including Ma’alaea).
- Wednesday is West Maui (covering Lahaina, Ka’anapali and Kapalua and rotating between North and South).
- Wednesday is also Central Maui every other week.
- Thursday is Upcountry and North Shore rotating between Kula, Haiku/Pa’ia, Makawao/Pukalani/Olinda.
On each caravan we normally have 10-20 properties and about 2 hours to tour them. Agents don’t always go to every property or in the planned sequence.
Why can understanding caravans benefit a buyer or seller?
- Agents who attend caravan regularly know their inventory! It is one thing to see an MLS listing and pictures. It is a totally different experience to experience a property. An agent who previews properties and knows the inventory will save you tons in time. When interviewing agents, ask them when they last attended a caravan. Many “experienced” agents never attend caravan but the top agents usually do!
- Ask your local agents about when caravans are held in your area. Although they are designed for agents only, they are usually “Open Houses” that are open to the public too. Here in Maui, you may be able to see places that are rarely available for regular opens due to having renters and bookings for vacations rentals. While this may not be as effective as having an agent set up a tour of homes, it may be good thing to consider if you are “just looking”. You can talk to the hosting agents and listen in on comments from other agents as they tour homes.
- Agents work to entice other agents to see their listings. Food and prizes are common. When you interview an agent, ask them about plans to put your property on caravan. For example, I had a listing last year in a condominium that most agents know well. Knowing that it would be tough to get people to see it, I offered a prize drawing and had 23 agents come through! Without the prize, I may have had 5. Of the showings that I had, about 75% were from the agents who saw it on caravan, and I sold the place in 77 days through one of those agents.
Aloha and happy caravan!