Typically there are family and friends pre-sales and then sales to major clients. Some investors on these priority lists purchase bulk orders of units from specific developers that they have relationships with and some of the top agents that are invited in the door early have large client lists that purchase in bulk (i.e. only a small minority of the top agents, not the heards that line up in the streets).
These two groups typically get in the door first as priorities and the units are geared towards that market segment. Following these pre-sales it gives the development team and their sales and marketing firm an opportunity to step back and re-evaluate the project and make any necessary tweaks or adjustments prior to the broader public launch and marketing campaign. This stage also can determine how quickly or slowly the development team must move forward on working drawings, construction related contracts, finalizing planning approvals and financial management issues. At this stage there are obviously a lot of professional people in the know, but they aren't going to spill the beans on public forums... (although as more people are brought in the loop that may change, for all I know the next post after mine will be a leaked rendering or price list or whatever).
I would like to support what Mike in TO has posted. And my information has come straight, as they say,from 'horse's mouth'.
I own a unit in RoCP1. I was regularly sent emails and encouraged to register for AURA sales. It was said in the emails that because I had already purchased a unit from Canderel, I am a VIP and I will be given a first crack at the purchase of a unit in AURA.
On the invited day, we were told that only a certain number of units are avilable for us. I, then, asked a very senior manager -- I will not give his name in public -- present in the sales office as to what happened to our VIP status and first crack at buying a unit of my choice.
His answer, in front of everybody, was blunt: we have to take care of some individuals first -- our employees, employees of our bank, lenders, lawyers, our main suppliers, architect and others.
Then comes VIP agents who have given them good business earlier.
That exaplains as to why ' good' units are sold even before a project is offered to the public