We all love a little weird in our real estate, but we wouldn’t all want to live in the weird, you might say. Many real estate professionals have done some pretty wild things in order to “go viral” and get attention on their properties. Is it worth it? I’m Carole Ellis. I’ll give you both sides of the story today in Episode 24.
So you may not have a hard and fast definition for it, but we all know weird when we see it. And because this episode is all about the WEIRD FACTOR in real estate, I’m going to take a little liberty and indulge in what we all know we secretly wanted when we started listening today: a list of the truly weird and a few insights into what actually works. If you want to get into really crazy detail however (say, more real estate weirdness than will fit in the next eight-and-a-half minutes), then head on over to our News and Networking section at www.REI.Today and check out our “Top 5 Weird Real Estate Decisions You Won’t Believe” article in that section.
For now, though, let’s start cramming in the wacky.
There is something about our culture that loves the unusual and the unabashedly wacky. It’s what leads us to peruse lists of crazy prom dress pictures or impossibly cute baby animals when we should be working, and it has a hint of the “train wreck” mentality that leads most people to slow down and take a second look not just as the unusually attractive, but also the startling strange or ugly. Hey, let’s call a spade a spade: it’s what keeps Curbed and other funky housing websites in business. And if you make the pages of a publication like that, odds are pretty good your property is going to get a lot of attention and possibly land a higher-than-expected bid thanks to attracting the eyes of someone who fell in love with the weirdness.
But when does this desire for funkiness go too far? Well, here are a few examples of working the weird factor that DO WORK and one that probably won’t.
First, let’s take Santa Cruz, California as an example. Santa Cruz is known for a number of things, but one thing is a popular bumper sticker that reads “Keep Santa Cruz Weird.” A number of homeowners in the area do eclectic, often artsy things to their homes in keeping with this sentiment. And in some cases, it’s been great for them. For example, a development of teeny-tiny writers’ studio apartments built of cargo crates and impeccably, efficiently designed is thriving. Similarly, a 280-square-foot forest cottage in the area will likely go for top dollar. On the other hand, the guy who replaced all of his stairs with milk crates held together with screws and yard-sticks is probably not going to fare so well. Sure, he’s making headlines, but mainly in articles covering how Santa Cruz residents are getting sick of the weirdness. And, honestly, they’re not safe and they’re not attractive. That doesn’t mean we’re not all going to go online and look them now! But ultimately, not good for the listing. So it’s important to be appealing in some way with your weirdness if you want your wacky-based publicity stunt to pay off.
Next, let’s consider another WEIRD FACTOR angle that makes the news these days: Strange listing and sales practices. Want everyone to blog about your property? Consider sponsoring an essay contest and “giving away” your property to the winner. Of course, the fine print here reads that if you don’t get enough entries and entry fees, you’re keeping the property. This tactic has been working wonders for owners who are able to either create a good storyline for why they are selling their property this way (one couple actually was given their home in a similar manner a decade ago and are billing their contest as a way to “pay it forward”) or who have a great property that attracts headlines on its own – for example the lady giving away her haunted bed and breakfast as an essay contest prize. Another tactic that has been successful in some cases is offering to sell for virtual currency bitcoins, although now that the currency has hit a rough patch, that’s a little less trendy. You can leverage the lesson from THIS weird factor simply by making your buyers aware that you’re offering unusual financing options, if, indeed, you are. Seller financing, lease-options, and subject-to financing are all attractive to buyers who cannot make a conventional home purchase, and they’ll often pay above top dollar to access your deals if you’ll work with them.
Now we’ve jammed about as much weirdness into this episode as we can, but I love weird real estate, so I’m going to just rattle off a couple more of my favorite weird factor decisions. How about….homemade slides that lead from room to room? Well-done, they can be billed as a secret passage and a great adult playground item. Poorly done, they’re carpet-lined danger pits in the floor. And then there are the wayyy over the top upgrades, such as the built-in aquarium bar. Super beautiful if you love fish and have the talent to keep them alive. Gross and a huge expensive pain to remove if you don’t. And perhaps one of my favorites, which I’ve actually seen personally in Atlanta, how about every room matching from floor to ceiling? That’s wallpaper, carpet, paint, and upholstery in EVERY SINGLE ROOM. And most of it was floral. This particular house actually was probably a huge nightmare for the agent because the owner was extremely proud of all the work they’d done and the home, which was very, very pricey, wasn’t supposed to be changed or laughed at in listing photos – even tongue in cheek. That one made the news as well, and most of the media did not keep their promise about not laughing, either. It was clearly a work of love, though, but I have to tell you I’m not sure it sold for asking.
So there you have, ladies and gentlemen, a full day of the weird factor from REI Today! Thanks so much for listening in, and please make sure that get all our real estate news, alerts, and educational content the very second it becomes available by texting REITODAY to 33444 or head over to www.REI.Today to sign up for breaking news alerts and review our vast library of educational materials that will help make your investing safer, faster, and more profitable. Not yet a member? Text REITODAY, no spaces, no periods, to 33444, and I’ll provide you with fast, immediate access to this timely information.
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REI Nation, thanks for listening in and always remember this:
Your best investment is your own education.
Carole Ellis is the host of Real Estate Investing Today, a popular 9-minute daily podcast focused on educating real estate investors about the important topics that will make their investing SAFER, FASTER, and MORE PROFITABLE. She's also the editor of the Bryan Ellis Investing Letter. She has more than a decade's worth of experience in and reporting on the real estate industry and, additionally, has written dozens of courses on the topic. Carole lives in Kennesaw with her husband, Bryan, and four children. She believes wholeheartedly that your best investment is always your OWN education.