Antonio & Alexia's Blog


Build a Pirate Ship and rescue lost home buyers... and Pirates of course!

About a year ago, my wife and I saw the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean" We both liked it, and as the movie ended she turns to me and says "Wouldn't it be nice if we make it look like a Pirate ship in front of our house for Halloween...? I turn to her and starting to say... "Are you craz... you know what? That is a great idea!

Before I knew it I was looking at pirates' ships on line, at dead captains, anchors, cannons and all kinds of nautical paraphernalia. The summer of 2007 found me at sitting at open houses with the plans of a Pirate Ship on the table. It was a perfect time to do that since nobody was coming thru the open house. I figured I could do that at home, but why not do it at a listing on a Sunday afternoon... with the door open... just in case.

Because of the lack of buyers, I was able to come up with a detailed plan. My wife who is also a Realtor and I wanted to make sure the ship was recyclable; after all, what would you do with it after Halloween? We live on a busy street, and our house has a 100' frontage so we had plenty of room. The ship building project sort of took a life of its own; we would be watching a movie and making the dead captain out of paper mache or measuring a sail.

After months of work there were pieces of the ship scattered all over the house, in the middle of our ballroom was this huge piece that one day be the bow, almost like looking at us asking "are we ready yet...?" I wanted to make sure we photograph every step of the way so we could create a virtual tour of the entire project. The idea was to turn this into an advertising campaign.

October 1st 2007 was a Saturday, this was the day we will finally see what we had created, and here it is:


A 40 foot long, 8' wide with 3 masts, a 20,22 25' tall made out of wooden pallets, burlap, aluminum, paper mache. You have to go the web site, look at the list of virtual tours and find "The Pirate Ship" to see more pictures.

As we started putting the ship together, people stop by and ask questions, children wanted to be photographed on the ship, neighbors wanted to know if we had permits... then we hung a plaque that said "WANT TO KNOW HOW WE BUILT THIS SHIP? GO TO WWW.LISTEDBYANTONIO.COM " Our web site traffic went from an average of 4,000 hits a month to 18,000 in October and over 20,000 during the next 2 months. 

People still remember the ship today, on Halloween we had over 2,000 people come on board to collect the candy. Dressed as a pirate I greeted everyone on the gangway with a postcard of our web site inviting them to go look at the virtual tours, on the other side my wife gave out the candy. People actually had to come on board!

The result was not only a huge PR campaign, the local paper put a picture of the ship and named the street where it was, (somebody tip them off ;-) the traffic was incredible, especially at night when the blinking eyes on the captain quarters were visible. We had 3 listings and 1 sale out of this project.  Our ship become our Open House... finally we were busy! we were talking real estate!

 This was an inexpensive yet very powerful advertising campaign and we had lots of fun. At the open houses we only had 2-3 people in 4 hours Sunday after Sunday. Working on the ship outside our house we actually had an audience, people will stop and chat, we will invite them to come inside the house to see our private ballroom... and our real estate home office. The name of the ship? "Homebuyer" and we explained why... then turn the conversation into real estate.

I CHALLENGE YOU TO GO BUILD A SHIP FOR THIS HALLOWEEN! Build it at the local park, invite the neighborhood children and parents to help...  Build it in front of YOU OFFICE... in YOUR PARKING LOT... Go to my web site and see what you need and how to do it. I offer you "technical support" ... in exchange for referrals of course!

What happened to the ship after Halloween...? well, that might be a subject for my second blog... if this one is read by more than 100 people.

The Realtors In Motion       Antonio & Alexia Cardenas   

                  "The Realtors In Motion" 

         CRS, GRI, E-Pro Certified. SFR (Short Sales, Forclosure Resource) Serving the east shores of the San Francisco Bay, Alameda county: specially the following cities: Castro Valley, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Hayward, Oakland, Pleasanton & Dublin.

                  Visit us on line at: or call (510) 326-4263

                     Call us, We'll come and TANGO with you!

Comment balloon 8 commentsAntonio & Alexia Cardenas • August 20 2008 12:05AM


Just making sure all is where it is supposed to be... seems to be sailing O.K.

Posted by Antonio & Alexia Cardenas, "The Realtors In Motion" (Alameda County - San Leandro, CA.) almost 12 years ago

Okay, we need 99 more comments. I'm intruiged by this powerful promotional opportunity. Sometimes I need help getting "out of the box"

Posted by Vickie Nagy, Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) almost 12 years ago

That is the most awsome thing I have ever seen...and I can't believe it was strong enough for people to walk on! You are PR geniuses!

Posted by Paula Swayne, Realtor-Land Park, East Sac & Curtis Park -Dunniga (Dunnigan, Realtors, Sacramento (916) 425-9715) almost 12 years ago

That looks like it was a project. It turned out really nice.


Tom Braatz

Posted by Tom Braatz Waukesha County Real Estate 262-377-1459, Waukesha County Realtor Real Estate agent. SOLD! (Coldwell Banker) almost 12 years ago


You've been featured on "Just Real Estate, The best of ActiveRain for the hard core real estate fanatic. No recipes, no jokes, no SEO, no fluff"  

I'm using the new ActiveRain reblog tool to create a blog of reblogged posts that just focus on real estate.   

I thought your post was good and wanted to get you a little more exposure.

Great ship.  You've given me some great ideas.

Posted by Tim Maitski, Editor of ( almost 12 years ago

What great imagination you have, its simply swash buckling!!

PS: I wondered why you had a ball room, since I followed your link I know why!

Posted by Mary Strang almost 12 years ago

Vicky: Thank you for getting the counting going.

Paula, Yes, it was strong enough to have people come on board but only in one area. We wanted to make it "Interactive" rather that something to look at. It make it more interesting.

Tom, Thank You

Timothy, Thank you for the "reblogging" since this is my first post, I need all the help I can get. how do I join the blog of reblogging posts...?

Mary. Thank You

Posted by Anonymous almost 12 years ago
WypNf1 nnceycmihpxz
Posted by kvcpnqkt about 8 years ago