Condo Touring in Style with Blue Panda Realty

Photos by Andre Gagne

You get together with some friends and, smiling, you all file into a limo. One of you asks if any of the others would like a glass of champagne or perhaps some wine. Bubbly is poured and laughs are had as your stretched white ride heads towards downtown. If this sounds like a glorious way to club hop with socialites you’d be right but what didn’t occur to you is that it’s also a fantastic way to look for your new home.

No worries, the people at Blue Panda Reality are two limos ahead of the game.

The champagne limo condo tour is just one of the fresh ideas Maxime Damour and his team at Blue Panda are using to inject something fresh into a growing demographic of more progressive home seekers in Ottawa who also want more direct client services, distinctive designs and, of course, fun. With that in mind, Damour recognized there was something missing when it came to looking at condos by way of simply walking into showrooms.

“I created the brokerage because I felt there was a gap in the market for a boutique real estate brokerage focused on the growth and intensification of Ottawa’s urban core,” says Damour, the slick young founder of the company. Looking around at his stylish team you realize you are instantly not dealing with your average real estate agent. They look more like an indie-pop band.

“Blue Panda Realty was created to redefine modern real estate,” Damour adds. “It is defined by its boutique style – a trend is already apparent in major cities such as Toronto, New York, and London. Following in these footsteps, we are committed to developing new ways of looking at real estate in Ottawa.”

Last Saturday afternoon prospective clients mingled with the curious outside of the Blue Panda offices in Westboro talking about their current homes, what they were looking for in a future living space all while sipping beer and wine. It resembled more of a cocktail party behind friends then total strangers about to go look at condos. Then the limousines pull up with friendly drivers ushering you into your seats and off towards your first stop.

“Anybody want another drink?” one of the Blue Panda reps asks and all hands shoot up.

The tour came about in one of the team’s weekly meetings to brainstorm new creative ways to invigorate the business. Damour was tired of the predictable model most brokerages operate by. To him it was all old-school and was in need of a change.

“These brokerages view both clients and agents as statistics that can be used to support their public image,” he tells Ottawa Life. “They boast huge corporate structures and operate through conventional and outdated programs targeted at both agents and clients. We believe this approach tends to suppress innovation and forward thinking, while also limiting the potential reach and quality of client service.”

The tour was meant to be fun, not filled with paperwork and pamphlets. Their more laid back approach did not go unnoticed by those refilling their drinks while meeting new friends. While some might worry about the potential pressure one might be met with when purchasing a new home, this style relaxed clients with the unique celebratory vibe and by not pushing anything onto them except maybe a beverage.

“We developed this event to offer customers the chance to participate in a one-of-a-kind condo tour of properties around the city. The limo tour provides us with a platform to express our business philosophy and share our knowledge of the market with locals who are interested in buying property in the city,” says Damour.

Stops included showrooms for Minto’s Upper West 25-story landmark building in Westboro, the new Tamarack Wellington development, more drinks and local bites with Zibi and breathtaking downtown views from Richcraft's The Bowery. Even if you weren’t a perspective home buyer you couldn’t help but feel excited by what awaited you each time the limo stopped. Blue Panda reps were on hand to answer any questions, condo staff were present to provide facility tours but, for the most part, clients were allowed to move at their own pace.

Damour sees this as just one way to modernize how people look at real estate. His team is also developing apps that will be exclusive to his clients and cater to those new, more tech-savy buyers. After the success of the recent tour, Blue Panda are looking at having another one to kick off the summer as well as working to tailor other unique events to other types of properties.

“These types of services allow us to craft an identity for the brokerage that upholds a spirit of innovation at its core."