• Expert Tips

Farming 2.0: Better Acceptance for New Developments

  • Expert Tips

Farm­ing 2.0: Better Accep­tance for New Developments

This issue of our Valdivia Expert Tip is about a market­ing method which orig­i­nates in the real estate sector: farm­ing. The term was coined in the US with its gigan­tic market for private resi­den­tial prop­er­ties. By now, this type of market culti­va­tion has not only reached Germany, it has also taken on a new and impor­tant role in our metro­pol­i­tan areas with their strong build­ing densi­ty – an extreme­ly fasci­nat­ing topic, as we at Valdivia see it.

The Key to Success: Be There

Farm­ing, in its orig­i­nal form, is inten­sive, region­al market­ing through a local real estate office, with the ’farm’ being the region, ideal­ly a mix of resi­den­tial and commer­cial areas. A good farmer’s key to succes is their strong famil­iar­i­ty with the area. They know many resi­dents person­al­ly and play an active part in local life. Farm­ing, there­fore, is much more than your stan­dard market­ing activ­i­ties, such as drop­ping leaflets in mail­box­es, a newslet­ter for the resi­dents, or putting up ’For Sale’ signs on prop­er­ties to be market­ed. The real estate agent will partic­i­pate in local clubs and soci­eties, engage in public peti­tions, and person­al­ly attend local festiv­i­ties with snacks, drinks, and a tent for consulting.

So farm­ing is a type of market­ing that does not only cost money but also time. The upside is that there is only mini­mal wastage: A real estate agent, success­ful­ly estab­lished as a good neigh­bour in their ‘area of farm­ing,’ will face little compe­ti­tion in their sales and aqui­si­tion activ­i­ties. Howev­er, the meth­ods of system­at­ic farm­ing have gained even more in impor­tance in past years, espe­cial­ly in Germany: for the devel­op­ment of small­er or larg­er developments.

Good Neigh­bour­hood: Farm­ing 2.0

Why would German devel­op­pers today follow the – very US-Amer­i­can – idea of farm­ing in the first place? The answer is in the struc­ture of our settle­ments. Popu­lar metro­pol­i­tan areas offer very little free space, which means that most new devel­op­ments need to be built right into exist­ing neigh­bour­hoods. And more often than not, there will be resis­tance. Of course, market­ing can never replace thought­ful region­al plan­ning, let alone poli­tics. Yet, it is in everybody’s inter­est to real­ize projects with­in a reason­able time frame.

’Farm­ing 2.0’ includes involv­ing those in the close surround­ings. Often it is that feel­ing of being left out that leads to initia­tives and peti­tions stand­ing in the way of planned projects. The aim of farm­ing 2.0, there­fore, is to first and fore­most win over the resi­dents of the neigh­bour­hood by show­cas­ing the bene­fits of the planned devel­op­ment – not in a way of talk­ing “from the outside“ or talk­ing “down to“ them, but much rather in a combi­na­tion with local engage­ment. People want to feel they are taken seri­ous­ly. Open commu­ni­ca­tion is just as funda­men­tal as invit­ing wish­es, sugges­tions, propos­als as well as crit­i­cism or reservations:

  • Arti­cles in local media, leaflets, or a local equiry office for visi­tors to drop by for an espres­so can all make for a good first step.
  • As to online activ­i­ties, the project website will be essen­tial, but so will social media – a Face­book fanpage and group as well as a site on neigh­bour­hood networks such as nebenan.de and nextdoor.de.
  • These media can also be used to arrange for live infor­ma­tion and debat­ing events, as soon as this will be possi­ble again.
  • Just like in clas­si­cal market­ing, person­al engage­ment is an inte­gral part of farm­ing 2.0, e.g. partic­i­pa­tion in and support for neigh­bour­hood festivities.


Ideal­ly, the district manag­er will be the go-to person for the entire neigh­bour­hood and become the social centre of the new devel­op­ment, even before break­ing ground. In any case, trans­par­ent farm­ing 2.0, always open for commu­ni­ca­tion, will take the wind out of the sails of all those who oppose the project just for the sake of opposing.