Real Estate is all about competition, and every single player takes part. The home seller is competing with other home sellers in the market to attract home buyers. The home buyers are running against other home buyers to see who’s the first to close a deal and get the house they like. And the real estate agents? Well… they are competing all the time. First, they compete alone; going against other real estate agents to grab a client. Well, not always alone: the smarter ones take their time building a real estate team to look more professional in an effort to be more attractive to clients. Then, once they secured the client, they compete as a team against other home sellers or home buyers to get what they want, and what they want is always the same thing: to close a deal.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, so no wonder from time to time we hear funny/awkward/scary stories about crazy things real estate agents have done to close a deal. From the guy who used George Clooney’s face on his ads, to the lady who gamely suited up as a panda for hers, and the real estate agent who stalked a home buyer after having been dumped by him… we have too many! But here are a few we thought was just too much and showed how far an agent would actually go for a real estate sale.
Hold my beer!
A Canadian real estate agent learned through his Chicago Real Estate Agent friend, that the company the Chicagoan worked for had a 300% increase in home showings when they started offering free beer to the potential home buyers. The Canadian, then, said, “Hold my beer” – wordplay intended – and, decided to go the extra level: he stocked the fridges of two of his Calgary homes on the market with $1,000 worth of beers. But he didn’t promote it as a giveaway for people who came for the showing like his Chicago Real Estate Agent friend did… thank God; it would’ve been the premise of a comedy movie just like Peter Seller’s “The Party”! He was actually pretty smart and promoted it as a “homeowner’s incentive” to be kept by the winning bidder. No word on whether those dollars were American or Canadian, nor on the brand of the beer inside the fridges… but both the houses were sold for big bucks.
Videos are a great tool to sell a home, and ever since real estate drone photography (deservingly) became popular, real estate agents sometimes invest more on their filmmaking than on their Old-School Marketing techniques to close the deal. We have two examples to illustrate that.
First, there’s one promo for a Fort Greene apartment that instead of enticing the viewer to buy it, makes him rush to the pantry to get calming pills because the piece is ridiculously tense and out of touch with the mission of an apartment promo. It starts with a shot of Earth viewed from space… until a meteor(!) strikes and travels through the high-rise buildings. From time to time it stops in a place where it turns into pictures of the home – and there’s an artwork in front of the pictures so you can’t even appreciate the apartment’s features – all the while with an epic let’s-go-to-war music score and apocalyptical sound effects on the forefront – it’s really loud!
It ends with a lettering saying “It’s out of the world”… and your promo is out of touch, my friend! All of this for a 2 bedroom, 1 bath apartment? Too much.
The second one has no problem with the video itself, a really nice, well-produced one that does a great job on selling the place as a fun, spacious apartment. The only thing is that the video reportedly cost $50k! We wonder if the amount isn’t a bit lavish, but hey… the owner had flipped that apartment and was asking for a $9 million increase on the price he paid, so what is 50k, right?
Anyways, if we can take something out of those two cases it would be that, even if you have to spend a bit more, it’s always best to be classy than try to make it a crazy blockbuster production: if the idea of the meteor video was to get people talking and close a deal… well, it got 1k views on Youtube, while the classy one got 102,271 views. And we bet it sold faster and better too…
Just a quick B&E
This one happened with a dedicated – not to say crazy – Atlanta real estate agent that, hopefully, had her license revoked afterward. It’s a crazy, but also sad story.
The Atlanta Real Estate Agent in question was desperate to make a real estate sale. She’d been in a bad slump, with more than 6 months with no clients, so, when she finally got one, she was desperate to please. When a client told her he wanted to visit a specific house ASAP, she promptly said “sure, let’s do it this weekend”. However, the house wasn’t listed and she couldn’t get a hold of the owners. So, what did she do when the weekend came? She decided to just… break into it! The Atlanta Real Estate Agent noticed the house was empty and pretended the owner let her show around.
And you know what’s worst? The client didn’t even like the house! Well, second worst: both the former Atlanta Real Estate Agent and the prospective home buyer were charged with criminal trespassing and had to deal with $4,000 worth of damage.
A real estate agent was accused of Photoshopping a looming water tower out of listing photos in an attempt to get more people asking to see the home and close the deal. His defense on court: he didn’t actually Photoshop the tower out, he just took the images very carefully from an angle that excluded the water tower from view. The judge didn’t fall for that one, and gave him a $22,000 fine for deception in advertising. When the agent complained about the fine basically making his commission disappear from the real estate sale, the Judge replied with “One day you photoshop to get a commission; the other is your commission that gets photoshopped”.
What over the top things have you (or someone you know) done to close the deal? Share your own crazy stories in the comments!