Mike Conner, Real Estate Pro in Olympia, WA

Real Estate Pros....I need your help! How would you market this home?

Asked by Mike Conner, Olympia, WA Sat Feb 6, 2010

I have a listing that is set up for disabled access with the wide hallways & doors, an oversized shower that is accessible by wheelchair, and a ceiling mounted multi-room chair lift system. It is a very unique home with many features that would be very valuable to the right person. How would you go about reaching the right buyer for a home like this?

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18
Sonsie Conroy, Agent, San Luis Obispo, CA
Sat Feb 6, 2010
Good ideas! Also, try going about it from the other end. Try targeting handicapped persons who are looking for a new home. Advertise in the newsletters of local associations that assist handicapped persons, find websites directed toward wheelchair-bound folks, and so on. One investor in my town built a terrific ADA-compliant apartment building and got the local newspaper to feature it in the "homes" section. You can be that place was fully rented in a heartbeat. There are not nearly enough homes equipped for persons with limited mobility...once the word gets out, the home will sell itself.
2 votes
Mike Conner, Agent, Olympia, WA
Sat Feb 6, 2010
Thanks everyone for your input on this! I am awaiting response from the legal hotline with their take on what is or is not acceptable. I think, as Erica said, that advertising a material fact about a home (chair lift system) is in no way walking a fine line with Fair Housing laws. However if I were to advertise in a way which led a certain group of buyers to feel like they were being excluded then it could definitely cause some trouble.

In the case of this home, the value is strongly driven by the renovations and equipment that make the home 'ADA Compliant' (Thanks Mack, I like that terminology!). So, most buyers who don't need those features will likely rule it out because the price won't make sense to them.

I have been marketing the home through all my usual outlets, but I am looking for creative ways to get the information to the right people instead of hoping they will find it on the MLS. I like the ideas from Sonsie, Grace and Lori, thank you all very much. I'll try some of your ideas! And once I get an answer regarding the legal perspective on this I will post it here.

Thanks again everyone for your thoughtful answers!
1 vote
Lori Jeltema, Agent, Newport News, VA
Sat Feb 6, 2010
Contact the agents that are accredited senior specialists in your area and let them know about the property.
1 vote
Grace Morioka, Agent, San Jose, CA
Sat Feb 6, 2010
Hello Mike and thanks for your post.

I tend to agree with Sonsie on this one. If you've worked with anyone with a disability of have had a client with a disability, you know that they do not always look at the "conventional" areas for listings or information about homes. Most know that the MLS is pretty useless for them, as it would mean they are buying a home that must undergo thousands of dollars of work in order to make it handi-capable for the family. My suggestion is to--of course--advertise the home through the usual marketing routes, but also to utilize a method of targeted marketing for your potential clients. Drop flyers about the home at nursing homes, in-home nursing companies, senior centers, in-home medical supply companies, etc. There are buyers here, and many do not know how to reach someone who has a "turn key" home that might fit their needs.

Good luck!!

Sincerely,
Grace Morioka, SRES
Area Pro Realty
San Jose, cA
1 vote
Lori Jeltema, Agent, Newport News, VA
Tue Feb 9, 2010
Here's what I put in the description section of a visual tour of a listing of mine from several months ago that had a first floor section designed by the seller when it was built. We met with the builder prior to construction to make the changes since they knew that a parent would be w/them.

'Perfectly planned first floor bedroom! The private entrance to the FULL bathroom has a custom designed, extra-wide access door and wide shower with bench seating. The entrance to the bathroom from the hall is standard size to better flow with the remainder of the house. This room is located near the laundry area and both the garage and backyard doors for convenience.'

It actually drew a buyer who had the exact same family dynamics as my sellers and worked out perfectly.

I would put in the features but like mentioned below, not so much as to put off other buyers.
0 votes
Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Tue Feb 9, 2010
Great question and really good responses. Keep all descriptions focused on the tangible assets of the house...never address the buyer in the advertising or description.

When I encounter unique properties, such as one with exceptional lake waterfront, I need to take into consideration the seller needs. Are they able to wait for the buyer who 'must have' great fishing, boating and recreational waterfront or accept the first reasonable offer? Does the seller have the luxury of waiting for the perfect buyer? If not, I would consider configuring the home to appeal to the largest buyer population in the Olympia market, then execute the proper marketing campaign.

If you need to stay the course, it's a perfect situation for a new ad-words campaign. Think about it.
0 votes
Dianne Hicks, Agent, Rancho Bernardo, CA
Tue Feb 9, 2010
Mike
I would advertise and drive the focus on wheelchair access and all the benefits this home offers within that parameters. Like great Fantastic Wheel Chair access Home.... This great home has.........

I would put pics together in a real estate show with word captions. Like.. Great extra wide hallway for wheelchair access.

I would not state only for handicap but instead just advertise by playing up all those features to attract those in need of these features. I always think it is smart to photograph and play up features that a home has. I had a home that was nothing special but great facilities so I started the introduction with all of those features.


Good Luck!
0 votes
Mike Conner, Agent, Olympia, WA
Tue Feb 9, 2010
I did get a response from our Realtor Legal Hotline regarding this question. While I am not allowed to reproduce the answer, I will summarize and say they are in agreement that material facts about a home (in this case wheelchair lift, etc.) are perfectly fine to advertise. Terms that should be avoided are those that attempt to describe the ideal buyer. They did include a reference to a publication entitled "Fair Housing for Real Estate Industry professionals, Top 100 Frequently Asked Questions". You can view the publication at the link below.
0 votes
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Sat Feb 6, 2010
Mike, since it's your question or Mack--please do post the answer from the attorney--it's an excellent question.
0 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Sat Feb 6, 2010
Anna, I'm sure he will - she broadcasts a weekly Hotline Q&A, and this is really a good question for her.

The NWMLS has a limitation of 500 characters - about 100 words - in the public remarks section. So you can easily eat that up if you're beating around the bush, but if you can say, "ADA compliant," you can then sell the other features of the house, too!
0 votes
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Sat Feb 6, 2010
Mack, I agree with you -- if it is ADA compliant it is something the Fair Housing Act encourages---however, there may be people out there who could consider an ADA compliant property simply as a feature of the house, why leave this group out when advertising--when running targeted ads one could be walking a fine a line-- did Mark ask the Washington Realtor's attorney--curious on the legality.
0 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Sat Feb 6, 2010
I know Mike has already asked the Washington Realtors(r) attorney about this.

Anna, I share your concern, but I'm willing to bet that noting that the unit is ADA-compliant is actually something that the Fair Housing Act ENCOURAGES, rather than discourages. A large part of the FHA is about expanding and creating more ADA-compliant housing, so I think that noting it would not be considered discriminatory.
0 votes
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Sat Feb 6, 2010
Just be careful when advertising and targeting any one single specific group.
0 votes
Sonsie Conroy, Agent, San Luis Obispo, CA
Sat Feb 6, 2010
Anna, of course you are right, but I think you can cover both of these concerns by advertising in the usual meda (whatever works for your area and population) but also reaching out to the specific population that this home would appeal to.
0 votes
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Sat Feb 6, 2010
Advertising and targeting the property for the handicapped population only, may result in the breaking of Fair Housing Laws--Dan's answer is a great one--advertise it as you would any other property and include features that interest everyone, not just the one segment of the population.
0 votes
Dan Chase, Home Buyer, Texas City, TX
Sat Feb 6, 2010
I believe I have either seen this kind of property listed as handicap accessible or wheelchair friendly.

The person who buys it may not care at all about the lift system.

Yet someone buying now thinking about retirement later on could see those things as built in plusses.
Ready for old age living, just in case...
0 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Sat Feb 6, 2010
ADA-compliant or "partially ADA-compliant," in my non-legal judgement, should work fine. You could check with the Multiple and see how they feel about it.
0 votes
Erica Ramus,…, Agent, Pottsville, PA
Sat Feb 6, 2010
I would prominently display the handicapped accessible features! You cannot market "perfect for handicapped person" but you can advertise the FEATURES that make it handicap-accessible.
0 votes
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