Promoting And Selling Airpark Homes To Keep The Airport And Pilot Community Strong


Most pilots would love to live next to their plane and have a runway in their backyard. Sometimes, though, the rest of the family has other ideas—the driving commute time to jobs is too far, homes are too big or too small or too old or too expensive or not updated enough etc. So, depending on overall market conditions like mortgage rates and general housing supply, homes in an airpark can be slow sellers with owners anxious to unload it to anyone (including none airplane owners). Of course, the airplane loving neighbors and the association of like-minded airpark airplane owners want to only see an airplane lover buy it. There are many ways that an Airpark Association, homeowners and listing Realtors can promote homes to airplane lovers, pilots and families. Here are some ideas for associations first and then some that have helped me sell about a dozen hangar homes, as a flying, airplane owning Realtor with 30 years’ experience:
  • The association should make it a fun place to live and promote the convenient aviation lifestyle to families and outside pilots through parties, dances, pig roasts, picnics, pancake breakfasts and seminars.
  • Consider getting the whole family involved with the association’s promotion, technical, day to day operation and events like airplane washes. News of good times and friendly airplane lovers spreads quickly to other pilots and their families.
  • A larger association should form their own Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Vintage or Warbird Chapter and reap all the benefits of the EAA family.
  • Have a social director and helpers to organize and publicize meeting and events will help get the word out.
  • Have an airport blog, internet site, social media sites and email newsletter, which have now become almost mandatory.
  • Many airparks have a colorful brochure highlighting the features and making a great handout at events that pilots attend.
  • Contribute an article to about how nice the airport and lifestyle is here.
  • Have a booth at local FAA safety days and maybe giving away raffle tickets can be fun and keep people talking.
  • Consider having the local schools take a tour of the airport and get kids excited about flying.
  • EAA Young Eagle rides would be a great way for the kids and adults to love the airport.
  • Consider allowing a Scout Troop and pilots to have a camp out at the airport.
  • Consider allowing other groups to use the association meeting room (VFW, American Legion, scouts etc…).
  • The association work needs to be spread out and delegated, and someone should be a public relations person to get some press and positive feelings in the community.
  • Bigger AIRPORT, CAUTION and NOISE signs may make non-airplane owners think twice if this is the right location for them.
  • When the time comes to sell the house, the Realtor that an owner chooses to hire should know some basic facts about the airport, planes and the targeted aviation market. The Realtor ideally could be an aircraft owner, pilot, EAA Chapter Member, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Member, or Oshkosh attendee.
  • There are certain entries in the Realtor MLS that advertise the landing strip, so another Realtor can easily find the right hangar properties for their pilot clients. Saying the right words at the beginning of the description (hangar, airstrip, private airport, runway etc.) is better than burying it at the bottom or trying to hide it.
  • Post an old-fashioned flyer at the area airports, which would display directly to the target audience. I do that regularly.
  • Allow the Realtor to fly in and park while showing the home to a pilot is a nice courtesy and I have enjoyed doing that at several airports. Allowing the buyer to fly in and making it easy to get permission makes a great addition to the friendly atmosphere that awaits them.
  • The last few years, I have been holding an Airpark Home Info table at the DuPage Pilot’s Airport Safety Seminar, passing out info on the areas eight airparks and the homes for sale there to pilots.
  • There are Airpark forums held at Oshkosh where I have picked up some good info for airpark sellers and buyers.
  • A Realtor dealing in airport homes should blog about the homes and airparks to be raised higher in the search engine ratings and to generate pilot inquiries.
  • There are Q and A real estate websites that occasionally have pilot buyer inquiries about airpark homes. I have answered some of those recently.
  • I put together an Illinois Airpark Homes Presentation and spoke at my EAA Chapter Meeting, along with actual residents from about four airports.
  • Over the years, I have collected about 20 airpark home buyer prospect’s name/numbers/emails and will call them when I see one hit the market that matches up.
  • When an owner hires a non-airpark specialist, the owner and the association miss an opportunity to more directly market the home to the pilot community and to someone with all the pilot contacts.
  • The rules and by-laws should be easily available to buyers, so that the right expectations are known from the start. What the runway dues cover should be spelled out.
  • Of course, normal smart real estate marketing applies, like proper pricing and great photos (including the hangar). I carefully measure the hangar and door to be sure a pilot with a bigger plane will be a good fit.
  • The sales brochure and airport info should be displayed inside the home on the kitchen counter, which emphasizes that this is a perfect fit for aviators who will use the airport for its intended use.
  • After the closing of the pilot’s new home, a hearty welcome from neighbors and the association would be priceless and may even get the next volunteers for the association.
  And if a non-pilot does end up buying a home in an airpark community, the level of aviation excitement should soon become high enough that someone in the family will get their license soon.

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