Selling a home can be difficult. Worrying if you’re accepting the right price, wondering if the market will work in your favour and hoping your home is attractive to potential buyers can be a headache. What’s one way to stand out from the crowd? How about throwing in a free Maserati or other outrageous giveaways? That’s what a Montreal homeowner did last week. The extravagant vehicle was given away with the sale of a home in Montreal’s pony Westmount neighbourhood.
But this isn’t the first time an excessive add-on has made its appearance in a real estate transaction. Over the years there’s been some wacky extras thrown into the home buying mix. But do they actually make a difference?
Toronto broker Ryan Roberts of Bosley Real Estate says that the Montreal Maserati deal is “unbelievably ridiculous.” In hot markets like Toronto, buyers are just looking for well-priced homes, he says, and for the most part, there’s no need to incentivize the property. In flatter markets, a seller may throw in some furniture, but a luxury car is a rare sight. In fact, if he did see a seller offering an extravagant add-on, he’d be wary, as it could indicate something is wrong with the property. Bill Mohan of Sutton Realty in Toronto echoes this sentiment, but sometimes tells his clients to include the flat-screen TV or built-in sound system to appeal to buyers.
Whatever their reasons, here are some crazy real-estate extras that sellers have offered:
1. Montreal Maserati
The 2011 Maserati Quattroporte came parked in the garage of the $3.5 million, 13-room house. The luxury automobile has 23,000 km on the odometer and is worth $170,000 new, and about $62,000 in its current condition, according to Kelley Blue Book. If the free car isn’t enough of a selling point, the home comes with a custom boudoir ventilation system for your cigar smoking needs. The car also comes with a ventilation—windows. Apparently, throwing in the Maserati was just a “fun idea” all in the name of the Grand Prix being held in Montreal.
2. Drinks on me
In 2011, an Illinois homeowner said she’d pay up to $1,000 in food and drink at a local bar for whoever bought her three-bedroom townhouse. The house wasn’t getting a whole lot of attention in the competitive market of their Glenview suburb, so Melanie Gravdal decided to add a little something to sweeten the deal. In Gravdal’s case, the strategy worked—she went from two showings in seven weeks to nine showings in two weeks. She eventually sold her home and moved back to California.
3. Free wife
Earlier this year, an Indonesian woman made headlines after her real estate listing proclaimed that the sale of her house came with a bizarre add-on—a wife. The buyer of her single-storey, two-bedroom bungalow would also get a chance to ask for her hand in marriage. Talk about killing two birds with one stone. The woman reportedly found a buyer—and a husband—just a few months later.
4. The choice is yours
In 2014, a homeowner in Boca Raton, Florida, offered up his eccentric 10,000 sq. ft. mansion with one of two freebies. A buyer could own the US$3.5 million home, which came with six bedrooms, 70 chandeliers and a leopard-printed theatre room and get either a Hummer (listed for US$110,000) or a Ferrari (US$99,000) for free. The Hummer happened to be a rare model—what the owner described to Forbes as the “ugliest Hummer in the world.”
5. Pizza for life
In Portland, Oregon, where sellers are getting tons of offers for homes, a buyer won the bid by agreeing to supply free pizza for life to the current owners. Donna DiNicola, who runs a local Italian restaurant, snagged a 900 sq. ft. home after her cheesy offer stood out from the crowd.
The sale garnered lots of attention in the media and goes to show that buying a home could get interesting if you decide to spice things up. But remember, while her deal may be delicious, more often than not, proposing a shorter closing is more attractive to sellers than deep dish, according to Toronto broker Roberts. Sometimes sticking to traditional strategies gets the job done just fine.