What is the best way to market a UNIQUE Luxury home?

Asked by Ruthless, 60558 Fri Aug 3, 2007

A famous Frank Lloyd Wright home sold in Jan '07 after 495 days on the market for 57% of it's asking price. Another famous architect's home sold in Feb '07 after 316 days at 70% of it's asking price. When you have something unique without comps, what should you do?

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Irina Netcha…, Agent, San Marino, CA
Fri Aug 3, 2007
Ruth, high end, unique homes do really well in Dream Homes International magazine. This magazine is mailed and distributed to people within a certain income bracket. It also has a very long shelf line. When I advertised my listings in there, I would get calls from all over the world sometimes 2 or 3 months after distribution.
0 votes
Aaron Wheeler, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Fri Aug 3, 2007
Here are some luxury home marketing ideas:

1. First, is your home price corrected? It will sit on the market forever if everyone believes it is overpriced. Find a good appraiser that specializes in luxury/custom/unique homes. Use that as a benchmark. You will save yourself a great deal of time and marketing dollars by pricing correctly.

2. Have a video produced telling the story of your home. Have the owners get involved and have them share why the home is special to them. I recently used Inman Stories/TurnHere to do this. Here is an example: http://www.oakvilleproperties.net/tours/17062Heatherwood/wat…

3. Have a private cocktail soiree. Invite area brokers and their clients. If you can partner with a luxury goods company to help sponsor the event, that is even better (it seems to create more interest in the event, too).

4. Send our a press release upon the home. You can do this through http://www.prweb.com and other sources. The advantage to using these systems is that they get indexed by the major search engines, thereby creating more exposure. You never know, the media may pick up up the story if there is something special about the home that they like.
2 votes
Jim Walker, Agent, Carmichael, CA
Sun Aug 12, 2007
Ruth, You gave me a very tough assignment.

I am stumped on Monty Burns mansion's value. I am pretty sure I don't want the listing though. I've seen how he treats poor Smithers. Can you imagine what awful things he would do to a real estate agent.

I have some ideas for prospects to market to if there is anyone brave and fictional enough to be his agent.

Prospects for Monty's mansion: Frank-n-Furter from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dr. Evil from the Austen Powers series, Edward Scissorhands, Batman and Robin, or any one of their nemises.

From Wikipedia :

"Burns resides in a vast, ornate mansion on an immense estate called Burns Manor, located at 1000 Mammon Street, on the corner of Croesus and Mammon streets in the 'Springfield Heights' district. It is protected by a high wall, an electrified fence, and a pack of vicious attack dogs known as "The Hounds" one; of whom is named Winston. . At times he has employed for protection a force of Wizard of Oz - style guards, a personal paramilitary force, a riot police squad, and a robotic Richard Simmons.

The inside of the mansion includes a room containing a thousand monkeys at a thousand typewriters, a bottomless pit, a human chess board, the largest television in the free world, a 'Hall of Patriots' commemorating his ancestors, a laboratory, a botanical garden of vultures bearing his likeness, a safe containing a Beefeater guard, and a theater showing round-the-clock plays regardless of whether there is an audience.

The mansion is also home to many rare historical artifacts including the only existing nude photo of Mark Twain, the suit Charlie Chaplin was buried in, King Arthur's mythical sword Excalibur, and a rare first draft of the Constitution with the word "suckers" in it"
1 vote
Carrie Crowe…, Agent, Southaven, MS
Fri Aug 3, 2007
You have to get the exposure. I would hold an event at the house for agents. Either have a semi-social event, or mix it with an educational event. The more people attend the more the home will get talked about. I would even make sure it got some publicity, either before, or after the event. You may want to consider what kind of people would live in that house an hold an open house event catered to that crowd with personal invitations to many influential people. Be creative it could be lots of fun. If it is an old house, you might post in on a historical site etc. Let the home help you sell it.
Web Reference:  http://carriecrowell.com
1 vote
Ruthless, , 60558
Mon Aug 13, 2007
By the way, the information on the square footage is deemed to be accurate but not guaranteed. Please verify all information and do not rely on it as factual. The television is a bonus for a signed contract by August 30, 2007 and the Beefeater Guard has a contract through the end of the year.
Web Reference:  http://www.oak-park-il.com
0 votes
Jim Walker, Agent, Carmichael, CA
Mon Aug 6, 2007
Ruth A company whose name rhymes with Old Swell Thanker used to have a training course for its agents called the "best buyer" program. the theory was that for any home, including and especially unusual ones, somewhere out there was a "best buyer" - for example, house next to the tracks - find a train enthusiast. - Next to an airplane hangar - find John Travolta.. For you, I would reccommend notifying architecture aficianados across the country about this house. Relevant website posted below.
0 votes
Ruthless, , 60558
Fri Aug 3, 2007
Ok, I probably should have asked two separate questions and made it more generic.

Question 1: Marketing. If you have a unique property that only 1% of the population might be a potential client, what sort of things might you do to market it? For example, a Frank Lloyd Wright home, a home on a private island off the coast of North Carolina, a 200 year old church that was converted into a home.

Question 2: When you have something unique without any comps, what suggestions do you have? For example: Monty Burn's 10,000 sq ft estate in Springfield when all the other homes within 200 miles are1800 sq ft. Or the reverse, a grandfathered one bedroom one bathroom home on a non-buildable lot in a subdivision with 3 bedroom 2 bath homes.

I haven't gone to the trouble (yet) of finding out who bought the Wright home, why and where they were from. But can you imagine being the home owner trying to sell it? It was just bizarre seeing a home have a price reduction of a million dollars, twice. Anyway, the purpose of these questions is for brainstorming or a case study.

0 votes
Bruce Lynn, Agent, Coppell, TX
Fri Aug 3, 2007
Play to the uniqueness. There are plenty of people who won't like it, but plenty who will. Some people don't want new and cookie cutter.
Web Reference:  http://www.teamlynn.com
0 votes
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Fri Aug 3, 2007
HI Ruth,
Unique homes often play to a smaller audience. Historical homes often take longer to sell. Any time I speak with a seller of a historical, notstaligic, or unique home, I stress that it could take longer to find the buyer. I have heard a rule of thumb of an offer in 10 showings. I don't use that rule of thumb, because I think it varies too much according to local markets and condidtions. When marketing a unique home, the number of potential buyers you must reach in order to secure a contract may increase 5 fold or more. You need to reach several potential buyers before you find your buyer.

You can try to reach buyers that might be interested in your unique home by marketing where that type of buyer might go. Try antique malls for historical homes, for example.
0 votes
Cathi Weaver, Agent, Chicago, IL
Fri Aug 3, 2007
Hi Ruth,

I am wondering how much the sold price of the homes you referred to compared to others with similar features. In other words, 4 bd. 3 bath, etc.. Many sellers think that their home is worth more than it is. The reality comes when you see what a buyer is willing to pay for it.

If you have a unique home be sure to get comps that are similar and perhaps the uniqueness will warrant a little higher price.

The goal is to have a home priced right and to get the most qualified buyers through your home as soon as you can. If you have a Realtor you are working with ask them to show you comps of similarly featured homes and then what they think the uniqueness might be worth as compared to other unique homes that have sold. Also, ask how they plan to market your home and being that Oak Park is a “no sign” village, they need to be even more aggressive.

If you don’t have a Realtor, I would be happy to meet with you and do a comparative market analysis. If you would also like to hear how I market homes, I can share that with you as well as it is definitely an aggressive approach and drives more people to the home.

Cathi Weaver
Web Reference:  http://www.cathiweaver.com
0 votes
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