Most sellers stick to the standard marketing tactics: predictable listing descriptions, palatable social media posts, dull double-sided flyers… But you’re not most sellers. You’ve always had a penchant for flair, an appetite for risk, a desire to stand out from the crowd. Why not channel that panache into your house sale?
We’ve rounded up 9 truly creative ways to market your house for sale so it can get the attention it deserves. All our strategies are backed by real-life examples of creative genius and fresh spins on old tactics to sell your home at any price point.
For added expertise, we co-created this list with real estate marketing aficionados Valerie Garcia, business consultant and speaker, and Annette Wilcox, a top selling real estate agent and social media marketing specialist in Norwalk, OH.
Without further ado, let’s get the creative juices flowing.
1. Stand out with a gimmick like an inflatable dinosaur.
Nothing stands out more in a listing than a unicorn in the bathroom. That’s exactly how homeowner and Realtor Lynn Keyland marketed her home in Lexington, KY. Each photo included an inflatable unicorn and dinosaur in the scene, highlighting the home’s spacious rooms.
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Come see the T-Rex & Unicorn live in person THIS THURSDAY 6/27/19 from 5pm-7pm as they host a LemonAiD Stand during the Open House! Last year the Salvation Army’s Emergency Homeless Shelter here in Lexington was a safe haven for over 1,500 homeless individuals, including 260 homeless children. This is something near & dear to my heart as I was once one of the homeless children residing there. YOU can make a difference, no matter how small the donation to this LemonAiD stand to support our local homeless children, all while empowering young people to make a positive difference in our community. https://lbarmls.rapmls.com/scripts/mgrqispi.dll?APPNAME=Lexington&PRGNAME=MLSLogin&ARGUMENT=Iq+u3AANKVzDNxJKOvrFJ0D4WJSBDG9EOjL32udGJN8%3D&KeyRid=1 #LemonAiDStand #OpenHouse #Thursday #5pmTo7pm #TeamUnicorn or #TeamTRex #castyourvote #8595536802
A gimmick is a trick or device intended to draw attention. They’re strangely attractive, highly memorable, and sometimes a little bit repulsive. Nonetheless, if you know your audience, a gimmick is a fun way to create buzz for your house for sale. In Lynn’s case, her inflatable friends drew the biggest open house she’d ever held. Her home sold for only $2,000 less than the asking price.
2. Market around non-traditional holidays like National Cheeseburger Day.
Garcia recommends marketing your home around oddball holidays:
- National Cheeseburger Day, September 18:
“National Cheeseburger Day is a great one,” Garcia endorses. “So your house is three blocks from a place that makes amazing cheeseburgers — now you’ve got a holiday that you can tie into your marketing without it being super obvious.”
- Earth Day, April 22:
Highlight your home’s green features such as solar power, double paned windows, LED lighting, and low-water plants in an e-blast or ad in the local paper. A 2019 report by the National Association of Realtors reveals 59% of buyers are very interested or somewhat interested in sustainability. Don’t forget to boast the utilities savings that come with the territory.
- National Donut Day, June 5:
Share the five best places to get donuts near your house on social media with #nationaldonutday.
- National Origami Day, November 11:
Pass out house flyers with instructions on the back to fold a paper into a crane. Bonus points if your house flaunts Japanese architectural elements or landscaping.
3. Make a video that’s short and sweet.
Create a short video highlighting your home’s best feature. A study on user attention span by Hubspot reveals these are the best video lengths for each platform:
- Instagram: 30 seconds
- Twitter: 45 seconds
- Facebook: 2 minutes
- YouTube: 2 minutes
Choose a theme for the video considering your overall marketing budget and audience:
- Music video:
A little lip syncing goes a long way on the internet. More of a dancer? Show off your best moves like this San Diego Realtor flossing to a-ha throughout the whole house.
- Aerial adventure: Fly buyers over your home’s
- Home tour:
You don’t need a massive budget to pull off a home tour video. Just invest in an iPhone stabilizer to shoot smooth footage. Enlist a tour guide with a social media following or irresistible on-camera personality, like this Canadian real estate agent who sells condos with his dry sense of humor.
- Luxury lifestyle:
If you’re selling a luxury home in a competitive market, consider hiring a video professional to showcase the property’s unique features.
4. Partner with micro influencers in your community like your dog groomer.
Spread some local love and cross market your house listing with a local legend on social media. Connect with a business or person of interest with at least 1,000 to 100,000 followers (the micro-influencer range) for an “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ arrangement.
You share a post tagging their business to your/your agent’s followers and in return they repost or create a corresponding post directing their followers to your listing.
Consider teams ups like these to expand your listing’s reach:
- Your interior designer or architect:
Post a photo of your home’s sophisticated living room design or beautiful backyard decking with a shout-out to the designer in the caption.
- Corner taqueria:
Promote your open house as a bonafide fiesta with a taco stand from the best Mexican restaurant in town. Request attending buyers RSVP or arrive with representation to save the salsa for the serious. Post pics of smiling attendees after the event to give those who missed out some serious FOMO.
- Dog groomer:
Shamelessly use your dog’s cuteness to market your house. Share a funny or precious photo of the pup in the house with a catchy caption to match. Tag your dog’s groomer, a nearby shelter, or a local pet influencer and ask for a repost.
5. Photobomb your listing posts on social media for mega shares.
“People tend to interact more if there’s somebody in the picture they know,” shares Wilcox, who sells 77% more properties than the average agent in her market. “So if you have a well-known agent in the picture, it tends to get more traction on social media than just copying and pasting a URL from the MLS.”
The more interaction and shares your post gets, the farther it journeys through social media networks, appearing to friends of friends who could be prospective buyers.
Wilcox attributes 8 of her home sales last year to a buyer finding the listing through social media.
6. Sell the real lifestyle, not the whitewashed version.
Your house comes with a lifestyle — yes, even yours! Don’t try to sell the six hour drive to the nearest ski resort. Instead focus on what’s special about living in your house day to day. Like the cozy living room with a wood burning fireplace, perfect for board games. Or the spacious kitchen you douse in flour each time you make one of Gram’s recipes.
“Really tie in those stories of what it’s like to actually live there…I’m all for staging and making the house look beautiful, but sometimes those little imperfections can be some of the most charming,” says Garcia.
Make buyers feel warm and fuzzy inside with creative details like these in your listing and social media posts:
- Read a book (or fall asleep trying) rocking in the hammock on the side of the house.
- Wine snobs and BevMo!-bottom-shelfers alike will appreciate the closet converted to wine room under the stairs.
- When Fido tires of chasing squirrels in this fenced backyard, take him to the 5-star rated dog park only five minutes down the road.
…just don’t get too personal
Remember, your goal is to appeal to the most buyers. Zoom in on a lifestyle that’s too specific, or too…peculiar and your marketing backfires. Take for instance this lovely 5 bedroom, 2.5 bath home in Upper Dublin, Pennsylvania which featured not only a home gym in the basement but also a full-fledged sex dungeon à la 50 Shades of Grey.
Naturally, the house received mega press, with local to national coverage from publications like BuzzFeed, iHeartRadio, and VICE. However, marketing this X-rated lifestyle ultimately backfired: The MLS removed photos of the den, neighbors were outraged, Realtors shamed the listing agent, and the house never sold. After 4 months on the market with no desirable offers, the owner delisted the house, returning it to its previous status as a full-time BDSM rental.
7. Create shareable GIFs and memes for free.
“Make a quick GIF with a bunch of kids jumping in the pool. It doesn’t have to be this long video. People are losing interest in those four minute videos that are staged like Hollywood movies. I think people are more like, ‘show me something quick and funny that I can share,’” Garcia advises.
If you’re a master of internet culture, create a meme relevant to your house with a free meme generator like Imgflip. Confused on how this works? Ask your agent. Realtors love a good meme more than anyone.
8. Tell stories about the local history on your house flyers.
Design a double sided flyer, one side showcasing your house and the other telling a story that ties back to the history of the local area. Research your region’s history at a local library or museum and find old photos on websites like What Was There to get started.
Your home doesn’t need to be a century old to use this marketing strategy. Tell a story from the nifty 50s, groovy 60s, or any decade you find a spin for. Here’s some angles for inspiration:
- Compare then and now photos of the house and nearby attractions.
- Pull your house’s original blueprints from the closest historical society.
- Detail the past and current effort to protect a nearby nature reserve.
- Summarize the history of your town’s establishment.
- Congratulate an athlete or Olympian who hails from your city if your listing aligns with a sporting event.
- Create a listicle of world events that took place in the year your house was built.
9. Send postcards with something of value
When it comes to postcards, put yourself in a stranger’s shoes and ask, “would I keep this or throw it out with the rest of the junk mail?”
Split your postcard space between your listing details and a valuable extra:
- Local events happening in the next three months
- Cookie recipe with a photo of the beautiful kitchen
- Custom crossword puzzle or sudoku
- NFL or MBA schedule featuring a logo of your local team at the top
- List of the best movies on Netflix right now next to a pic of the living room or home theater
Survive the mail sorting and your postcard will make the rounds.
“I do a postcard mailing for every listing,” says Wilcox. “If you get a postcard at your house and you love your neighborhood and you know a neighbor’s house is up for sale, how easy is it to take that postcard to work, share it with your friends, or have it on your refrigerator.”
With endless ways to market your house, why not think outside the box
Today, your house has the potential to reach more buyers than ever. 72% of Americans are on social media, the majority visiting these sites at least once a day. So go ahead, add some spice with one of these creative ways to market your house. Make your listing materials irresistibly shareable. Your buyer might just be a few likes and a repost away.
Header Image Source: (Sebastian Sørensen/ Pexels)