“Get rid of the clutter, rearrange the furniture, bake some cookies and put out fresh flowers to attract buyers and get your home sold.”

While the above home-selling tactics still work in today’s real estate market, some home sellers (and real estate agents) are doing more. They are using unusual marketing methods to create a real estate buzz and get from “For Sale” to “Sold.”

From clever to off-the-wall marketing, here’s what sellers and agents are doing:

  • Open house parties. Wine, catered food and live music are being offered to attract buyers, agents, and to make that home special and more memorable. A number of local listing agents are offering a chance to win prizes if agents visit the open house and provide feedback.
  • Extreme home staging. In addition to traditional home staging (which has been proven to help sell homes faster and for a higher price), feng shui is being utilized to improve a home’s energy so that it is more appealing to potential buyers.
  • Assistance with financing. Getting a mortgage these days is tough, so some sellers are offering assistance to serious buyers, including paying for closing costs, obtaining a lower interest rate, rent-to-own deals, and seller financing.
  • Including substantial incentives. Sellers are offering buyers attractive incentives, such as big-screen televisions, decorating allowances, paid association fees, golf carts, cars, vacations and homes that are fully furnished.
  • Raffling off the home. Some sellers are holding raffles, with their home being the grand prize that goes to the winner. This method draws a lot of attention, but check your state’s regulations, as home lotteries are illegal in many states.
  • Trading homes. While some sellers are offering their homes to the highest bidder on eBay, others are trading their properties on Pad4Pad. In addition to local and national Multiple Listing Services, online real estate directories such as Trulia, Zillow and many others are also used.
  • Letting buyers spend the night and day. Offering serious potential buyers, who are trying to decide which house to buy, some real living time in your home might be just what they need to sign on the dotted line.

I have read that a woman in Florida even offered herself as an incentive, hoping to marry the man who bought her home.

Larry Stoller is a real estate consultant and advertising executive who loves living in Bluffton and helping real estate agents and sellers get homes sold.