Agent Essentials

Real Estate Agent Blog


How to Market a Unique Home
January 24, 2022

How to Market a Unique Home

by The CE Shop Team

Some Unique Homes With Quirky Listings Find Viral Internet Fame

If you’ve spent any time on the internet over the past few years, you’ve probably seen a few real estate listings go viral, drawing attention for their unique features or creatively written listings. 

Maybe it was the house in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that was described as a “little slice of hell” and “every landlord’s nightmare.” Or perhaps it was the 18,777-sq.-ft. Woodstock, Connecticut castle, complete with a moat, that was listed for $35 million.

Interest in unusual home listings has been encouraged by social media accounts like Zillow Gone Wild, which features homes that are totally one-of-a-kind, from their architectural design to the way in which they were staged. As of January 2022, the Instagram account had shared hundreds of listings with its 1.4 million followers.

Marketing a unique home can be a challenge, and while we can’t promise viral posts or internet fame, we can offer a few tips on how to get started if you’re asked to sell a house that comes with a few quirks.

Zillow
Image source: Zillow

Buyers Are ‘Open to the Idea’ of a Unique Home

Some homes seem destined to make headlines. You probably aren’t going to be tasked with selling a home built to look like a boat or a house that some say looks like Darth Vader’s helmet, for example, but you’re sure to come across homes that would appeal only to a very specific buyer.

Some real estate agents say that unusual homes have been attracting more attention since the COVID-19 pandemic began, a trend that stems from “a combination of a frenzied housing market, a shortage of housing supply, the ability to work from anywhere, and an opening of the mind to new ideas,” The Wall Street Journal reported

“People have a heightened sense of dislocation,” Erik Gunther, a senior editor for Realtor.com, told The Journal. “They’re saying ‘I can be anywhere, why not a yurt in Montana?’

“Weird homes have always been on the market, but people are more open to the idea now of taking them on.”

Melissa Tindall, an agent with Compass Mountain West in Sun Valley, Idaho, told The Journal that the trick to marketing an unusual home is to help the buyer envision themselves there. She recently listed a futuristic home that she’s marketing as “the Sun Valley Starship.” The 12,550-sq.ft. house, which has a rooftop pool and an outdoor amphitheater, is listed for $5,950,000.

“The right buyer is out there,” Tindall said. “It’s just a matter of evoking the right emotion.”

Developing a Marketing Plan

If you’re struggling to figure out how to market a one-of-a-kind home, don’t worry! For every unique home, there’s a buyer who’s a perfect fit.

Unique properties can take longer to sell than their more conventional counterparts because “it takes a little extra effort to market a unique property, to which fewer people may be attracted or can afford,” according to a Washington Post column

To start, identify the kind of buyer who would be interested in the property and determine how to target them, The Post column says. For example, if the property is a hobby farm with ample acreage, but not enough for the owner to make a living as a farmer, take that into account. 

In that scenario, “a perfect buyer could be a weekend farmer or rancher, or a person looking for outdoor space and with lots of land,” the columnist suggests. “Perhaps someone looking for a rural lifestyle, with plenty of room to roam (a hot commodity during the COVID-19 pandemic), someone who might want to own or train horses, rather than cattle, or someone who wants to be able to shoot on their own property.”

As you’re considering your marketing plan, one of the questions you might have is how to accurately price the home. After all, for especially unique houses, there likely won’t be comparable properties nearby that you can use to determine pricing like you would with a more conventional home.

“It’s almost like appraising an antique,” Boston-based agent Michael A. Pallares told HomeLight. You should use the home’s architectural era or origin story to your advantage — lean into what makes the home one-of-a-kind!

But be careful not to overvalue the home’s unique features and overprice it, either, HomeLight advises. It might help to start with the basics: What is the home’s square footage and lot size? How many rooms does it have?

There are a few other factors to keep in mind when representing either a buyer or a seller in the sale of a one-of-a-kind home. Some parts of the homebuying process — like the inspection and appraisal, securing insurance for the home, or even finding a lender willing to work with the buyer — might be more difficult, Rocket Mortgage says.

For example: “A potential buyer may have a hard time finding comps in the area to get approved for a home loan. An appraiser might have a hard time appraising the home for building code and quality because of [its] unique features.”

There’s also a chance that the seller won’t get back what they put into the property, especially if they put a lot of time and money into customizing it, Rocket Mortgage says.

The bottom line: Make sure that your client understands that the process might be slightly longer and more challenging than if they were buying or selling a more conventional home. But for some, owning a one-of-a-kind home is totally worth it.

Have you ever facilitated the purchase or sale of a unique home? Let us know what worked and what didn’t in the comments down below.

Ready to Get Started With The CE Shop?

Whether you’re a new agent looking to start award-winning Pre-Licensing education or an experienced veteran wanting to finish your Continuing Education, we’ve got a 100% online curriculum that’s one of the most diverse and groundbreaking in the industry. And if you want to network with your peers, join our Facebook group and get connected!

Comments