Trains, Planes, and Barns, Oh My! How to Sell a Unique Home

Everyone has a different idea of the perfect house. Some people envision a quaint ranch home with the perfect little white fence while others dream of a classic Victorian filled with character and charm while others like a clean, modern esthetic or prefer the lower maintenance of condo living. While many homes appeal to a wide array of buyers, some homes have a more niche appeal. Homes that have been converted from their original (usually commercial) forms fall into that list. While the real estate market continues to sizzle as homes are in short supply and demand is rising, these converted homes and their unique features can require a bit more specialized marketing to sell.

Show ‘Em What You Got
The first thing to do when selling a unique home is to have excellent pictures. Most buyers have never thought of living in a “luxe bohemian converted barn” or “modernized industrial train depot” so high quality pictures help transition buyers from intrigued to interested.

Think Outside the Box
A unique home tends to be a point of extreme pride for those who live there, but it does take a unique buyer when trying to sell. These properties often come at a higher price point than a standard single family home, so they aren’t for every buyer. Advertising for a unique property should be done in all the usual channels (MLS if you’re an agent or working for one, for example), but it’s also a good idea to think a little differently. Trying to sell a mushroom home? Why not let a local mushroom hunter-foragers group know it’s for sale? Got a gypsy style converted barn? You’d be remiss to not tell the local artist community.

Find the Story
Few people move into a unique property because it was just house in their price range and even fewer take on a conversion project without a reason. There is almost always a story to tell; maybe they have a special connection to the building in its original use or maybe they’re handy and were looking for a creative way to use their talents. Maybe they inherited the building and were inspired to revitalize it. Whatever the case may be, the story behind it can help generate more interest on a larger scale than just “there’s a new house for sale.”
Some of the questions to get started are:
How long have you owned the property? How long have you lived in it?
What made you decide to do a renovation/conversion project in general?
Why did you decide to convert the train depot specifically (love trains, great opportunity for local project, etc)?
Did you do it yourselves or hire someone?
What was the most difficult part about the project?
What was your favorite part?
Did the reality live up to your expectations?
What’s your favorite part of the current home?
Do you have any advice for someone thinking of taking on a project like this?

Show It Off
While selling a unique home can be a challenge, it can also be a lot of fun! These properties have a “WOW” factor that many cookie cutter homes do not. Once you have good photos and a listing description that is well written and keyword-filled, you’re ready to show it off. Social media and content aggregator sites like Buzzfeed tend to go nuts over beautiful, funky, and unique homes and can bring tons of exposure to the property which in turn increase your opportunities to sell.

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