Unusual and Creative Marketing Techniques

Services for Real Estate Pros with Zillow

Got to hand to some folks for the creativity they are expending when trying to sell a home these days.  Here are some of the more creative methods I have seen lately:

An Upside Down Auction - The owner is calling it the "Bothell Countdown".  Each week the price on this home goes down in increments of $5-10K.  As a potential buyer, you can sign up for email updates to keep track of price reductions and other updates. 

Win A Home For $200 - All you have to do is write a 100 word or less essay about your dream of owning a beach home on the Oregon Coast, pay a $200 entry fee, and the home could be yours! 

Buy One House, Get One Free - A developer in the San Diego area recently offered home buyers a free, 2,000 square foot home in Escondido if they purchased a home in the Royal View Estates development in the San Pasqual Valley of San Diego.

Jump On The Foreclosure Tour Bus - Spend the day on bus looking at Foreclosed properties.  This tour operator currently covers five states.  For a limited time they have reduced the cost of admission from $297 to $97.  Looks like you can not only get a bargain on a home, but on ticket prices as well. 

Go Green, Get A Prius - If you buy a green home in Encanterra (AZ), from Shea Homes, you get a free hybrid Toyota.  Hurry, this offer only good thru June 15th!

Finally, my personal favorite...

Stake Your Life On Your Home - The buyer of this home will be the named beneficiary to a 10-year, $500,000 term life insurance policy.  If the home owner dies in the next 10 years, the price of the home ($498,900) is covered.  In case you are a betting person and wondering about odds, the owner is 69.

Then of course, there are the incentives.  While this isn't anything new for, particularly for builders, home owners are now also testing this technique.  An article ran in the Boston Globe a few months ago quoting an agent who has sellers giving away things like: four sixth-row tickets facing the Lakers bench, VIP parking, and use of the "Royal Room" private lounge; a Harley-Davidson; a year's pool service; and association dues for a year.

I wonder if any of these homeowners considered the crazy marketing idea of pricing their home right with accordance to market conditions?  :)

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John Badalamenti
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, Realtors® - Wayne, PA
Associate Broker

Hi Sara,

Great post.

Obviously pricing the home right makes sense. Sometimes a property may need a little push, and if something creative gives it an edge, then so be it.


Jun 07, 2008 01:41 AM #78
Darin Haughie
Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell, Inc. (EWM) - Pinecrest, FL

To much, I have seen most of these before. The bus trip is wild, do you get lunch? Then it would be a buyers open? Caravan?

Jun 07, 2008 02:04 AM #79
Craig Lindgren Owner/Broker United Country Realty & Auction

Hats off to thinkers. Creative ways are what will make the difference. I am going to suggest a few of these out. After all, we are in the selling business. As long as integrity is not compromised it is great!

Jun 07, 2008 07:43 AM #80
Joe Boylan
SpringsHomes - Colorado Springs, CO

I always scoff at this sort of gimmick BUT I  am finding sellers are increasingly looking to Realtors to come up with these sorts of ideas. Always makes me feel a little like Crazy Eddie!

Jun 08, 2008 01:57 AM #81
Amy Dawson, Vancouver, WA Realtor
Vancouver, WA

These are a bit over the top, but fun to read! 

Jun 08, 2008 01:32 PM #82
Jeremy Blanton
Myrtle Beach Homes Blog - Myrtle Beach, SC
Myrtle Beach REALTOR®- myrtlebeachhomesblog.com

Those are definitely some interesting things! Thanks for sharing Sara!

Jun 09, 2008 07:26 AM #83
Kathleen Murray
Realty Executives Mohave - Kingman, AZ

Thank you Sara!  Fun, but is it legal?  I guess it depends on the state.


Jun 09, 2008 04:50 PM #84
Scott Schneider
PrimaVend - Portland, OR
PrimaVend is sales improvement, business process c

As long as you dont break the law...you gotta do what it takes to sell...I like the life insurance idea...I may steal that

Jun 09, 2008 06:07 PM #85
Jennifer Kipila
Van Dyk Group - Barnegat, NJ
The Muldowney Team - Ocean County Homes

Just yesterday I saw a listing where the seller was willing to pay one year of association  fees.  They seem a little too creative for me.

Jun 12, 2008 01:38 PM #86
Heather Park
Century 21 Wenda Allen Ltd., Brokerage - Pickering, ON

Unfortunately in today's fast paced world advertising is everywhere and consumers are assulted with something like 50,000 ads per day?? (don't remember the exact figure) Plus there are new agents emerging everyday to try their hand at the Real Estate game... how do you break the barrier consumers put up to not go insane? marketing gimmicks! The bigger and better ones get attention. Consumers these days don't care much about experience anymore or even well written advertising the only things that get attention are freebees and sex... While I personally dislike gimmicks, they are everywhere today, why not real estate too? This is the wave of the nex-gen generation, get used to it now before it's too late!

Jun 13, 2008 03:15 PM #87
Leslie Stewart
Oregon Licensed Broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Real Estate Professionals - Stayton, OR
Realtor, ABR, CRS, Oregon Licensed Broker

Interesting ideas.  We concidered the prius idea but dropped it.  Appraisers don't like this kind of stuff.

Jun 13, 2008 06:29 PM #88
Earleene Woods
Keller Williams Experience Realty - Murray, KY


The life insurance one kinda sppoks me.  Guess I watched too many scary movies.  I could just see some deranged, greedy person buying the house.


My luck, if I was the buyer, the seller would keel over within hours of closing and die in a very suspicious manner.

Jun 13, 2008 11:46 PM #89
Sara Bonert
Zillow - Atlanta, GA
Real Estate Internet Marketing

Thanks all for leaving comments and espicially to those who left ideas or examples of other gimmicks that have heard of in their markets. 

Recently came across two more unique ones:

1) Incentives are not just for home owners or real estate professionals anymore, townships are getting in on the action too.  "To help the local economy, for a limited time the Village of Manhattan is offering an economic stimulus rebate to all buyers who purchase a new home in Manhattan. A rebate of $3,500 for a new townhome or duplex and $5,000 for a new single-family home will be received at closing."

2) San Diego real estate company Wellsford Realty is offering an unusual incentive for gay couples in California or those who might venture to California to take advantage of the recently passed same-sex marriage law: If you buy a home (primary or vacation home) in the San Diego area through Wellsford Realty, you will get your wedding reception or honeymoon paid for by the realty company.

Jun 17, 2008 10:33 AM #90
Pedro Gonzalez

Great posts it seems they want to almost give the houses away right now

Jun 19, 2008 07:28 AM #91
Nicky Dou
Keller Williams Market Pro Realty - Fayetteville, AR
The BEST REAL ESTATE AGENT in Northwest Arkansas

How many people showed up for the tour bus deal? How did you advertise that? Sounds interesting. My husband just created a new site www.NwaFiresale.com which has been very popular and I think this tour bus looking at the foreclosures is a fabulous idea! thanks.

Aug 20, 2008 02:22 AM #92
Betina Foreman
WJK Realty - Austin, TX
Realtor, C.N.E., with WJK REALTY

These are some unusual gimmicks. I guess they must be working or else we would not be hearing about them....

Aug 20, 2008 02:26 AM #93
Cecily Parks
iMove Group, Knipe Realty NW, Inc. - Salem, OR

Great ideas! Love Sara's economic stimulus idea! I'm going to try that only from a single seller point of view...i.e "In an effort to support the community of Salem, the Smith's will be offering an economic stimulis rebate of $5,000 to the buyer at close of escrow."

Oct 09, 2008 08:18 AM #94
Not Yet Licensed

Thanks Sara,

Very creative.  I like the idea of that Upside Down Auction.

Oct 11, 2008 07:08 PM #95
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate www.ChandlerRealEstate.weebly.com - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

I have heard of some of these, but others I have not.  I am sure there are many others out there that we never even hear of, but are just as creative.

Nov 04, 2008 06:40 AM #96
Toners Dublin

Nice post, thank you for sharing. You have really imparted useful knowledge. A very useful post I must say. Awesome content. I bookmarked it for future reference.

Apr 12, 2012 08:14 PM #97
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