Eight unique ways REALTORS® have marketed their listings

Below is Part 1 of a two-part series on marketing for REALTORS®; Part 2 looks beyond gimmicks and offers best practices from a pair of experts. 


 No matter how amazing your listing is, sometimes it takes true ingenuity to get prospective buyers through the door.

From food trucks to cooking, some Canadian real estate professionals have stepped out of the box to close a sale.

We’ve rounded up a list of some of the more unique ways REALTORS® have garnered attention for their listings:

1. Food trucks: Last year, Ash Alles an agent with Sutton Group Summit Realty rented a food truck for an open house. There were free tacos and music. “We’re trying to make it an event, as opposed to a traditional open house,” Alles told the Canadian Press at the time.

2. Give it a theme: Broker Dominique Milne and sales representative Lyne Burton let Don Draper inspire an open house they hosted in 2019. The “Mad Men” inspired event was made complete with 1960s style clothing and a crooner singing classic Frank Sinatra hits.

3. Clowns: A Brantford, Ontario REALTOR® learned the value of social sharing when a quirky property became the most viewed listing (ever) on REALTOR.ca. The two-bedroom home, referred to as the “clown house” attracted international attention and more than 1.3 million views in just three days.

4. All about price: It can be hard to predict what will go viral on social media. Take this Windsor, Nova Scotia listing for example. There’s no dancing and no clowns, but it was shared more than 2,000 times on Facebook. Commenters were shocked to see the eight-bedroom Victorian home was listed at just $395,000 – about the same price as some one-bedroom condos in downtown Toronto, Ontario.

5. Short films: While many agents include videos and virtual tours on their REALTOR.ca listings, some are going above and beyond with professionally shot short films. For example, Karyn Filiatrault specializes in lifestyle real estate films featuring attractive models living their best life in luxury homes. A 2016 short for a semi-detached home in Toronto featuring a pig-tailed little girl received more than 12,000 views on Facebook. The video also helped sell the home $167,000 over the asking price, according to NOW Magazine.

6. Make it funny: In 2016, agent Patricia Houlihan’s bus shelter ad caught people’s attention. The ad featured her face with laser beams shooting out of her eyes with text that read, “Patricia Houlihan. Sees what others miss. Like the traps that can cost you money.” It was widely shared online and in the media.

7. Cooking with your agent: Cooking and real estate seem like an unlikely pair, but REALTOR® and salesperson Phil Battista combined the two for a winning dish. Battista features dozens of “Cooking with your agent” videos on his Facebook page. Each video has several thousand views. His most popular video – demonstrating how to make “Philly’s Calzone” – has more than 17,000 views.

8. Eight-year-old’s house tour: Claude Boiron turned to his eight-year-old daughter, Belle, to show off the features of a listing. The video of the little girl’s adorable tour went viral and received more than 115,000 views on Facebook.

While these viral sensations certainly got eyeballs on their listings, is there a better way? In Part 2 of this series, we ask marketing experts to weigh in on viral sensations as well as offer some tips for REALTORS®.

Have you used a unique marketing technique to gain attention for your listing or gone viral? Tell us about it in the Comment section.

Sarah Doktor brings her experience as a small-town journalist and national online editor to the Canadian Real Estate Association as a Communications Advisor. Sarah helps facilitate conversations between CREA and our members, boards, associations and the public via our online communities. She also helps coordinate the content presented to you here on the CREA Café. In her spare time, Sarah can be found at the gym, running on a trail or watching Netflix with her cat, Libby.


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