There’s Nothing Scary About a Great Marketing Strategy
Perhaps you don’t believe in ghosts, but you still can’t shake the feeling that you’re being watched as you tour your latest potential listing. The homeowner refused to join you, insisting instead on meeting at a small coffee shop down the street in an hour or two.
You’re alone as you tour the 4 bedroom, 2 bath Tudor. So why do you hear footsteps coming from upstairs? And… are the walls oozing?
If you’ve ever witnessed something strange in your neighborhood and didn’t know who to call, don’t worry. We’re here to help you market every haunted house you stumble across.
Fall Through the Veil
Before we begin, don’t be put off by the supernatural. As an agent, you’ve already learned how to survive the competitive real estate market — a little dose of the dead should be a walk in the cemetery in comparison. Besides, a home with a little extra flavor (à la beyond the grave) could give your listing an edge.
In a survey conducted by List With Clever, 44% of respondents reported that they believed in the supernatural, and one in four believers stated they’re more likely to buy a home if someone died there, it’s haunted, or it’s located next to a cemetery. Millennials, who currently make up the largest percentage of homebuyers, are 13 times more likely to buy a haunted house than baby boomers. They are also 17 times more likely to pay more for that house compared to older house hunters.
In other words, a lurid listing might be more treat than trick. Gather your holy water, salt, and as much gumption as you can muster — it’s time to market this petrifying property.
A Home With Great Bones
Good news! Preparing a haunted house to go on the market follows many of the same steps that you would take to get a specter-free space ready to sell:
- Older properties, like those beloved by ghosts and ghouls, may benefit from a pre-sale home inspection. This step is optional, but understanding what potential buyers may want repaired or exorcised can help your client come out ahead. Just be sure to have your local clergy on call in case the inspector goes missing after visiting the second floor. You may need to enact a pre-sale poltergeist removal.
- Have the seller complete any necessary home improvements. If they’re too scared to step inside, consider hiring a ghost-friendly renovation team to get the job done.
- Once the dust settles, the staging can start. Feeling some stage fright? Check out our in-depth guide to home staging. (We recommend perusing the top home trends ghosts hate too so that you can avoid any faux pas.) Just be careful not to disturb any artifacts that the ghosts treasure. If you find that you’ve disrupted the dead, say by accidentally removing their favorite sconce from the wall, apologize immediately and return the item. We hope and pray that they’ll accept your apology. If not, consider changing careers. Have you ever wanted to become a mortgage specialist?
- Bolster the home’s curb appeal. Remember, some buyers are specifically interested in haunted houses, but that’s no excuse to let the exterior look haggard. Trim the hedges, polish any onsite gravestones, and clear any dangling cobwebs.
- Capture the spirit of the house with top-notch photography. While you may be tempted to edit out any floating orbs or spectral figures from the final images, we would recommend that you let the dead lie — and look faboolous.
- Run a comparative market analysis and determine a fair price for the property. Afterward, write the listing description, highlighting what makes the home unique. For example, you might point out that the Tudor sits on 2 acres of land, only a quarter of which is used as a cemetery. Get creative, but be honest in your listing. The only thing scarier than a haunted house is an unethical real estate agent.
The bats have been relocated from the belfry, the ghouls are no longer groaning now that you’ve replaced their favorite sconce, and you even got the walls to stop oozing. Congratulations — it’s time to go to market!
Maniacal Marketing Made Simple
Despite the supernatural nature of haunted houses, you can employ all your typical marketing tricks to get the word out. Post the listing on your website, local MLS, and all over your social media. Even homes described as a “little slice of hell” have fared well in the current market, so don’t be shy. Beyond your normal marketing procedures, consider pulling out the following bag of tricks:
- Share your property with local supernatural groups. Those who are open to life beyond the grave are the perfect buyers for a haunted property. Search Google, Facebook Groups, and MeetUp to find believers near you.
- Post photo and video evidence of anything paranormal you encounter. It’s important to lean into what makes a house unique. Don’t be afraid to document all of the creepy happenings you endure while trying to sell this home. Your social media audience may not be 100% die-hards, but providing proof will at least tickle their curiosity. With that said, be careful about showing only the worst scares; you’re still trying to get someone to buy the home, after all! Try something constructive instead. For example, invite the ghouls upstairs to have a personal conversation and share the results to your social media. (For your safety, we don’t advise recording the conversation without consent, regardless of the laws in your state.)
- Host an open house. While you’ve likely hosted open houses before, there’s nothing quite like inviting prospective buyers inside a haunted house. Schedule your open house to begin just before dusk and use mood lighting to set the scene. If the natural creaks of the house are too quiet, feel free to play a Halloween soundtrack in the background. Prepare some festive snacks (pumpkin cupcakes and mummy brie, anyone?). Just remember to warn guests not to touch the spectres’ sconce as they arrive.
Marketing a haunted house doesn’t have to be scary. Focus on doing your job to the best of your ability, follow our tips, and everything else will fall into place. If you haven’t had your fill of spooky stories, we’re serving up plenty of screams. Check out our compilation of real estate agents’ haunted house stories and listen to the petrifying podcast below… at your own peril. Happy haunting!
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