"Get rid of the clutter, rearrange the furniture, bake some cookies, and put out the fresh flowers to attract buyers and get your home sold."
While the above home-selling tactics are decades old and might still work in today's real estate market, some home sellers and real estate agents are doing more. They are using unusual marketing methods to create a real estate buzz and get from "For Sale" to "Sold."
From clever to off-the-wall marketing, here are some examples of what sellers and agents are doing:
- Open house parties. Wine, catered food and live music are being offered to attract buyers and agents, and to make the home special and more memorable. A number of local listing agents are offering a chance to win prizes if agents visit the open house and provide feedback.
- Extreme home staging. Traditional home staging has been proven to help sell homes faster and for a higher price. Now feng shui, a Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing people with their environment, is being utilized to improve a home's energy and make it more appealing to potential buyers.
- Assistance with financing. Getting a mortgage these days is touchy, so some sellers are offering assistance to serious buyers, including paying for closing costs, obtaining a lower interest rate, rent-to-own deals and seller financing.
- Include substantial incentives. Sellers are offering buyers attractive incentives, such as big screen televisions, decorating allowances, paid association fees, golf carts, cars, vacations and homes that are fully furnished.
- "Win that home!" Some sellers are also holding raffles with their home being the grand prize that goes to the winner. This method draws a lot of attention, but check your state's regulations as home lotteries are illegal in many states.
- Start weaving the web. While some sellers are offering their homes to the highest bidder on eBay, others are trading their properties on Pad4Pad. In addition to local and national multiple listing services, online real estate directories like Trulia, Zillow and many others are also used.
- Let buyers spend the night and day. Offering serious potential buyers some real living time in your home might be just what they need to decide to sign on the dotted line.
I have read that a woman in Florida even offered herself as an incentive, hoping to marry the man who bought her home. With a good realtor, though, you shouldn't have to take it to that extreme.
Larry Stoller is a broker-owner and Realtor with Real Estate Five of the Lowcountry. Larry@RealEstateFive.com or www.RealEstateFive.com