This month’s Associates Council column was written by HBAG Associates Council member from the HBA of Greater Savannah, Janet Melton, Broker & Owner of Footprint Realty. Janet’s firm is the only independent (not builder-owned) brokerage in the Greater Savannah / Coastal GA area that specializes in New Home Sales & Marketing.
Several times a year, the Sales and Marketing Council of Greater Savannah announces the location of one of their most highly anticipated events: the SAM Tram. Builders and agents sign up quickly, and a wait list inevitably follows. What is the SAM Tram? The short answer is a new homes tour via charter bus. The real answer entails so much more: energy, excitement, and entertainment for agents and exposure for builders. The SAM Tram identifies a geographic area in which to showcase new homes and communities. Once that area is announced, Builders enroll inventory or model homes as ‘bus stops’ on the tour, and real estate agents sign up for a seat on the bus. The builders pay a small entry fee and agree to provide coordinated food, beverages, and prizes. Each SAM Tram starts at a host location that offers ample parking and a gathering space to start the day. Tippins Homes hosted the most recent SAM Tram at a model home in their Emerald Plantation subdivision in Effingham County, but the host location isn’t always a new home. For example, Lamar Smith is always willing to volunteer his design center as a host location when the SAM Tram will be touring nearby. On the morning of the SAM Tram, real estate agents trickle in to the host location for breakfast and coffee (and often mimosas). A charter bus idles outside as they mingle and tour the host location. A ticket on the SAM Tram comes with instructions to bring around a dozen business cards, and these are gathered here and used at each stop, including the host location, for a prize drawing. Agents are encouraged to arrive by 8:30, but in observance of RST (Realtor Standard Time), the bus normally doesn’t pull out until