On May 20, 2020, Facebook Messenger alerted me to a new note from my college sweetheart, Peter. He and I had met in Southern California circa 1991 at a collegiate Speech & Debate tournament (where I trounced him in the category of Speech to Entertain), and we have remained friends. Peter sent me a link to a stunning home that he had found on Zillow. “Is this in your neighborhood?” he asked. I responded in the affirmative, and asked how a guy living in Oceanside could happen upon a house for sale in Felton, of all places. He and his family were looking for an investment property in Northern California, he said, and this one caught his eye. Was it the stunning interior? The wrap-around deck? The stand-alone cottage that adorned the property? Nope. “There’s a picture of Bigfoot in the backyard, and that’s a first,” said Peter.
Daniel Oster is the realtor who put the home on Hillside Drive on the market, and although the house featured five beds, three baths and plenty of room to roam, Oster felt it needed…a hook. Oster decided that this was the property where Bigfoot would make his debut, and sure enough, the hook worked. “We had over 800,000 views on Zillow...one of the top 3 in Zillow’s history,” Oster said. “Bigfoot was seen making the best of the shelter-in-place…reading, baking, exercising, gardening, working in the home shop…” In the end, the property had multiple offers and sold for $101,000 above list price (sorry, Peter). Read on to learn about Oster’s advantage with his innovative Sasquatch placement.
Press Banner: When did you start using the Bigfoot costume in conjunction with your business?
Daniel Oster: This was the first, and perhaps, the only time Bigfoot made an appearance at one of my listings. The response was overwhelming, so perhaps he'll show up again in the future.
PB: How did you come up with the concept?
DO: I was inspired by a listing that made the real estate news that featured an inflatable T-Rex... Bigfoot seemed more relevant to the house I was marketing at the time. It was set in a beautiful stand of redwood trees in Felton.
PB: Are you in any way affiliated with the Bigfoot museum in Felton?
DO: No affiliation, but they are certainly a landmark.
PB: Do you hear directly from clients that you were selected as their realtor based upon that fun element of your business?
DO:Bigfoot was a conversation starter, but people primarily value working with me for local expertise with a combination of responsiveness and creative problem solving. I did connect with quite a few new clients as a result of this going viral, but my business is almost entirely repeat and referral clients. I always try to have fun along the way, so the silliness factor of Bigfoot certainly resonated with my core group of clientele.
PB: What’s the best story you can share regarding your wearing of the costume?
DO: We wanted to bring attention to the property, but we were also trying to bring a bit of levity to folks in the real estate market. The pandemic is stressful for all of us, and we are all trying to make the best of it. I received calls from people all over the country just to let me know that this made them smile. That was the best.
PB: How do dogs react to you?
DO: The seller's dog, Max, was a bit curious, but I was surprised he wasn't frightened by the costume.
PB: What is the best lesson you've learned from your cross-over of Bigfoot and real estate sales?
DO: This is really twofold: 1. No matter what is happening in the world, our community is bigger than we realize. Each of us has the ability to impact others in profound ways. 2. Take action. If you have an idea, or inspiration, act on it. We are surrounded by opportunity, but it takes action and follow-through.
PB: And the question we all want to ask you: Do you believe in Bigfoot?
DO: I did not believe in Bigfoot before this, and now, I'm sure there's no real Bigfoot. I'm still cleaning hair from my car and office. If Bigfoot was real, there'd be hair all over the forest!