Realtor Tours of Public Schools

 

What is a Realtor Tour and why should my Friends Group consider organizing or participating in one?

 

  • Realtors are often the first point of contact with a prospective school family. Many Realtors know little or nothing about your school and may be influenced by the broader doom-and-gloom stories they see in the mainstream media.  It is up to us to help change the narrative, neighborhood-by-neighborhood.

 

  • Realtor tours bring local agents into a group of nearby neighborhood schools so they can see first-hand what’s going on.  What follows is a step-by-step guide intended to help you work with principals and other Friends groups to plan a successful tour.

 

Step One: Identify 2-3 Achievable Goals

 

For example, change the narrative among Realtors about neighborhood school(s), introduce the principals to the wider community, get a minimum of 15 Realtors to go on the tour.

 

Step Two: Logistics and Planning

 

  • Decide who will drive the project, who can organize and execute.

 

  • Identify 3-5 schools in the general vicinity of each other who will commit to being a part of the tour.  If you do not have contacts at nearby Friends groups or with nearby principals, contact FONE at info@philaFONE.org.

 

  • Once you have identified your universe of schools, identify who will be the point person for that school.  One person per school is easiest to manage.  Will probably be an active Friends of member.

 

  • Decide how you will communicate - include face to face time and what electronic tools you will all use (face to face meetings, google drive, doodle, etc.)

 

  • Identify the real estate firms that you will invite to participate: which firms tend to represent buyers and sellers in your neighborhood?  Are the Realtors in your Friends Group?  Which firms advertise in your neighborhood paper or newsletter?

 

  • Lay out the tasks and timeline (simple excel sheet or google doc, project management software, or paper & pencil).

 

  • Decide what the tasks are, who will take them on, and what the deadlines are.  Note it all on the system you decided to use.

 

Step Three: Map Out the Key Tasks

 

  • Determine the tour date with each Principal (give yourself 3-4 months to work on this if possible)

 

  • Schedule a 3 check confirmation on the date (the district calendar changes, and could impact your determined date)

 

  • Determine where the tour will start and stop inside the school (keep it simple - one or two key areas of the school)

 

  • Determine who will speak and when at each site (consider having each Friends of representative introduce their Principal)

 

  • Get Principals to commit to 3-5 talking points ONLY.  Allow 5 minutes maximum for Principal presentations.

 

  • Layout the tour details with specific timing and allow extra time for everything.  Allow some time for meet & greet and chose someone to open the event (2 min.) and someone to close it (2 min.).

 

  • Schedule the bus service.  Actual yellow school buses are fun and inexpensive.

 

  • Invite the Realtors. You may need to limit the number of agents per firm – you don’t want one firm to fill the whole bus.

 

Step Four: Media & Communications

 

  • Decide on a logo(s).

 

  • Create a teacher/school introduction letter - to communicate to the location’s teachers and staffs what we’re doing and why.

 

  • Create electronic invite (Event Brite)

 

  • Build invite list

 

  • Write press release

 

  • Create survey to send out post-event

 

  • Create Attendee Packet: Catchment map, School info sheets - include logo/photo, Principal contact info, upcoming school events, web site, Home & School info, Friends of info, and a short paragraph highlighting strengths and school vision.

 

  • Create communications schedule - when what will go out and how often.

 

  • NOTE: DO NOT publicize exact timing on locations.  You really want to get folks on the bus, not jumping in and out of their own cars if possible.

 

  • Decide who will be the press contact from your group. 

 

Step Five: Budget & Sponsorship

 

  • The goal for your group is to make this revenue neutral.  We have discovered that Realtors and local businesses will help defray costs.

 

  • Decide as a committee who will handle the money (maybe one of the Friends of groups already have a 501c3), how it will be handled and how any leftover funds will be handled.

 

  • Ask Realtors to sponsor to cover refreshments, bus rental and packet material printing.

 

  • Other businesses to approach include neighborhood doctors such as pediatricians, or dentists, retailers of toys or children’s clothes. etc

 

  • Be prepared to create Thank You for sponsors - an official letter saying thanks for X amount of money.  It’s nice but it’s also critical for purposes of tax deduction. 

 

SAMPLE DAY-OF AGENDA

 

The general goal here is to get folks to meet at School #1, park their cars, get on the bus, and be part of the group for the duration.  Success depends upon keeping things moving and getting people back to their cars more or less when you said you would.  We are all busy people!

 

Here is the schedule for one recent successful tour:

 

8:45     Arrive for coffee and donuts @ School #1 (address, leader’s cell #) 

9:00     Welcome by Friends Group leader

9:10     Remarks and school tour led by Principal - programs offered including in school clubs, student gov't, technology & growing community engagement etc.

9:25     Walk/bus to School #2 (address, leader’s cell #)

9:40     Welcome by Friends Group leader

9:45     Remarks and school tour led by Principal

10:00   Walk/bus to School #3

 

Etc

 

12:00   Bus back to School #1

 

Good luck!

 

Thanks to Sasha Best and Katey McGrath for compiling this document.

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