Houses come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and layouts. Most follow standard building methods and aesthetic trends of their era, but some are designed by dreamers, artists, or eccentric homeowners. When those unusual homes go up for sale, it’s up to the real estate professional to know how to market the property to get it sold. That can be a tough road when no one has ever seen such an abode. To get potential buyers in the door to experience a unique home in all its glory, it takes imagination—and sometimes a little luck—to pull it off.
Several top-notch broker-owners and team leaders have shared stories of how they managed to move mountains and find buyers who couldn’t wait to live in these uncommon and somewhat odd properties. Even if a property isn’t too unusual, these tips may help you and your agents market a home more strategically.
Stairway to Heaven
How do you entice buyers to visit a house with 104 steps to its front door? The team at Nourmand & Associates in Beverly Hills, Calif., managed to attract the perfect buyers by suggesting that they get their groceries up all those steps by shopping with AmazonFresh. “We would say, ‘Yes, there are a lot of steps; it’s a built-in gym and security system,’” says Michael Nourmand, president and designated broker.
His agent, Levi Freeman, had listed the four-bedroom, four-bath home with a pool and incredible views of the city skyline and mountains. With no garage or driveway to the home, the biggest catch was all those steps from the street parking spot. While that steep obstacle did prolong the sale of the property, Nourmand says they were able to position the home’s assets to find the right buyer. “Once you were up there, nestled in the trees, the home was paradise,” he adds.
A 10,000-square-foot, custom-built bachelor pad became a tough sale in an Arlington, Va., neighborhood that mostly attracts families with small children. Two other agents had it listed for 438 days before the Keri Shull Team at Optime Realty took a stab at it. “We got it under contract in 88 days,” says Keri Shull, CEO and team founder. “In those 88 days, we had 130 people tour the home.”
Listed at $1,949,000, the house was designed for entertaining with multiple living and gathering areas. Some of the features included a mezzanine style layout with much of the upper level open to the lower level, dark finishes and trim throughout most rooms, two full kitchens, and a wet bar on the upper level.
While the team boasted about the custom steam showers with mood lighting and sound systems in their marketing, Shull says they knew driving agent traffic would be critical to getting results for their client. Their creative solution became assembling a panel of the top agents from Washington, D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area for a REALTOR® event inside the house. Shull promoted the panel and they were able to get about 100 area agents to attend. “We sold the home to one of their clients,” she says.
Marketing the most unusual feature of a home became key to getting it under contract for Ryan Fitzgerald, broker-owner of Raleigh Realty in Raleigh, N.C., and a member of REALTOR® Magazine’s 2018 class 30 Under 30. “We had over 40 private showings in five days on this home with multiple offers—one of the best turnouts we have ever had on a listing,” he says.
The four-bedroom, three-bathroom home had been built with a courtyard and swimming pool smack in the middle. Highlighting the custom design brought out curious prospects and drove traffic to the listing, Fitzgerald says. He used retargeting on the property website, which allowed him to display ads to those same web visitors on Facebook. That helped Fitzgerald keep the listing in the front of people who are already actively home shopping, which ultimately led to all the private showings.
Because the home was a ranch style, it attracted older folks who didn’t want stairs as well as other buyers who were drawn to the courtyard for entertaining, Fitzgerald says. The most difficult part of the process was figuring out which offer was the best. There were all sorts of different terms and conditions with a variety of loan types. The seller chose the quickest close, Fitzgerald says, for $265,000.