No matter how amazing your home is, let's be honest: Real estate is a drag-down, stops-out, winner-take-all competitive market. It can take some true ingenuity to steer prospective buyers through your front door.
Well, to help get your creative juices flowing, here are some off-beat sales tactics that some slightly daring home owners and real estate agents have tried. And they swear they work!
Offer a cash reward
If you use Facebook or Twitter to stay in touch with friends or share photos, then there's no reason why you can't use it to share the news that you're selling your home!
In order to sweeten the deal, one Canadian family decided to offer a $1,000 "reward" for any "share" that led to the sale of their home. There's no word yet on how well it worked, but it makes sense: Why not take that split second to spread the word to your pals if cold hard cash hangs in the balance?
Have an over-the-top open house
"The days of the wine and cheese open house are over," pronounces Alexander Ali, CEO of the Society Group. What's taken its place are open ceremonies -- basically, open houses on human growth hormones, complete with live entertainment, catering from In-N-Out Burger, mermaids in the pool … you get the idea.
These bigger and usually more upscale parties are often pricey, but they don't have to be. The key is to make it all sound unusual and fun -- all the better to cut through the open-house clutter. Just ask Wendy Flynn, a Realtor in College Station, TX, who spent a mere $200 to hire a snow cone truck to park in the driveway of a home she was trying to sell.
"Instead of the typical two to five visitors, over 50 adults and countless kids attended the open house," she recalls. "Of those who visited, five demonstrated serious interest in the property -- proof that creative marketing can help garner attention for a home." Hey, who doesn't like snow cones?
Create your own reality show
You turn on a camera, set up a channel, and let people peek into your home -- all in an effort to help them imagine what it would be like to live there in the future. Crazy? Maybe. But live-streaming is a way to get prospective buyers to see the inside of your property without ever leaving their couch.
"Live-streaming video is a great tool: Facebook Live, YouTube, Blab, Periscope, and Meerkat are all emerging big time for real estate use," says Ellen Cagnassola, social media manager for HouseMaster Home Inspections.
Feel a bit awkward being the "star"? Hold an event such as a live show, or hire local talent like stand-up comedians to do a short skit in your home that you can publicize. It'll get your home in front of more eyeballs, honest! Keep the adult humor to a minimum, please.
Play the celebrity card
Does your home have a celebrity who once slept there? Or perhaps it served as the backdrop for a movie at one point? Or maybe it evokes a certain TV show or movie? Whatever makes your property special, use it to your advantage. And if you don't have any celeb stories, then consider hiring actors to set the scene.
Jaisa Bishop, an associate partner at Partners Trust, did just that when representing a Victorian house in San Diego that wasn't getting enough attention.
"I employed my family members to dress in period costume and be in character. They sat in the garden while a local artist painted and brought a few of his pieces to sell. It was a great success," says Bishop. "Guests were able to sit and have tea in the garden and eat finger foods with the characters while taking in the home. 'Downton Abbey' meets real estate!"
Try a little magic
When all else fails, it might be time to call in help from the invisible fairies or forces you believe in. Kooky, sure, but it can't hurt and it just might help. Just ask Ellen Shaikun, a broker associate with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Parks & Weinberg Realtors, who had heard that burying a statue of St. Joseph upside-down in your yard is supposed to bring a quick sale.
"I had a client who did it. When the house was still on the market two weeks later, my seller kicked into desperation mode and dug up the statue -- having determined that it was buried in the wrong place for maximum impact -- and moved it next to the mailbox. My seller was correct: We got an offer almost immediately. As we all know in real estate, it's all about location, location, location!"