4 Quirky Ways to Sell Your House in a Crappy Market

In most markets home values hover at all-time lows and inventories are still at an all-time high. So how can you sell your house these days? Here are some weird techniques that work.


Given the housing slump, sellers are willing to do just about anything to sell their houses – even planting a Catholic saint under the “For Sale” sign. According to an article by the Wall Street Journal, some homeowners and real estate agents are burying Saint Joseph (the patron saint of home and family) statues in their yards in the hopes of getting a sale. Websites like Venice Voodoo even have “Sell Your House Spell Kits” you can buy.

I’m not saying a statue upside down in a potted plant outside your condo won’t work. It might. But there are other unconventional and perhaps more proactive marketing methods you could use to sell your house these days…

1. Historic homes and neighborhoods

Having a famous, historic home listed on a national registry will do wonders for your marketing, but you may be able to cash in without the historical marker. Many buyers are looking for the architectural details found in older homes without the hefty price tag that comes with the registered spots – and a few websites, such as Historic Properties and Old Houses.com, let you post ads targeted toward those buyers.

If your house isn’t old but your neighborhood is, you can use your area to draw in buyers – like this house for sale located near the former Sportsman’s Park in Saint Louis. Hit the library or visit city hall and dig through old newspapers and public records for historical facts. Then use those facts to create an “About the Area” fact sheet to pass out during your open house.

2. Quirky backgrounds

People love a good story, and many buyers are willing to pay for a house with a quirky background. Like the Jersey Shore house, which rents for $2,500 a night, according to MSN. If your house was ever a resting spot for celebrities, featured on a TV show or movie, or even on the news, don’t hesitate to tell potential buyers about it.

3. Haunted houses

While the thought of flickering lights, slamming doors, and groans coming from the basement may turn off some buyers, others are actively looking for a haunted house to call their own. Last year, a couple offered to buy my friend’s condo in the French Quarter of New Orleans – just because they read a story about the former owner’s paranormal experiences on a local ghost hunting website. The couple even upped their offer after being told the condo wasn’t for sale.

If your house goes bump in the night, contact your local paranormal society. (Most major cities have at least one.) The society can help put you in touch with interested buyers. A few websites, such as the San Diego Paranormal Research Website and the Haunted Real Estate Blog, will also let you post a story about your haunted house or list the house for sale.

4. Off-the-wall locations

Most buyers want a house nestled in a good neighborhood close to parks and great public schools, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play up other neighborhood features. After all, I picked my house because it was just two doors down from one of my favorite diners. And many people are more than happy to live next door to a graveyard, since it’s sure to be quiet.

Take a quick walk around your property and your neighborhood and make a note of anything you see. Bring the list to your real estate agent, and they’ll help you find a way to market even the most off-the-wall feature.

Stacy Johnson

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