RENTING out one of his company's first creations proved a crucial move in the success of Sunshine Coast builder Wayne Dwyer.
He and co-worker Pat Assaillit set up their office in the Ocean View Dr house in 1985 and opened its doors to the public as one of the first display homes on the Sunshine Coast.
Mr Dwyer and Mr Assaillit now oversee the construction of between 80 and 100 homes a year as owner and general manager of Dwyer Quality Homes.
Their early foray into display homes was an instant driver of results.
Mr Dwyer, 54, said his company needed to sell 12 homes in its first year to cover the $100 a week rent it was paying for the display home.
"We ended up selling 50," he said.
"As a marketing tool it was extremely strong back in the '80s."
He said there was a display home village at Mountain Ck and that was it.
The marketing tool has since become all but essential.
"You have to be in display villages otherwise you are just not seen.
"They are a big expense to have but without them you are not going to move any- where."
He said he had two display homes going up in the Aura housing development at Caloundra South.
With some villages having up to 40 homes, he said it was important to try to stand out.
That belief was behind his decision to hire reality television star Dani Wales from construction show The Block to style a new display home at Birtinya.
Ms Wales has flown from Melbourne three times during construction to have input into the Lighthouse Circuit home in Stockland's Oceanside display village.
She chose paint colours and flooring as well as kitchen and bathroom features that added a different touch to the display home's interior.
"With the furniture and styling pieces I went for a coastal vibe, but a modern coastal vibe," Ms Wales said.
She said she grew up in Townsville but lived in Brisbane for a while and often visited the Sunshine Coast.
Mr Dwyer said people tended to forget the names of builders after they had walked through more than a dozen display homes.
He hoped that would not be the case with his latest home.
"They might remember this one because it's the one the girl from The Block styled," he said.