Buy my house and get me free - sellers turn to novel ways of enticing customers...
2008 Review: HARD SELL: Want a Lamborghini? A pad in Cape Verde? A wife? These days vendors are getting increasingly desperate, says Paul O'Doherty...
SO, IT'S come to this. You're sitting on your stack of blocks that someone in risk management - the irony of it - said would make a great investment five years ago, and now, your Polish long-term tenants have gone home and you can't sell, rent or live in it for love nor money.
Or, the bachelor pad has just become a fashion accessory too much - read, I can't afford it - and you're going to move back in with poor Mum and Dad.
You can take your pick from any number of examples. Meanwhile, the bank wants to know whether, having missed last month's repayment, you would mind calling in for some financial advice?
But how to shift that one-time prime piece of real estate that just won't budge? What you know for certain is that you've tried all the conventional methods.
You've contacted every auctioneer within a 20-mile radius, stuck it up in lights on MyHome and got extra planning permission for a gigantic For Sale sign.
And, now that it's been on the market for longer than anyone has lived in it, and despite all the arrows pointing towards it, you're coming to the conclusion that it might be time for something completely different.
So what are your options? Well, raffling your home might be the answer. Last month Tony Browne from Carrabullawn, in Corbally Co Limerick, decided to do just that and was in the process of applying for a lottery licence to sell his five-bedroom home that he'd paid €352,000 for nearly a year previously, the plan being to sell 800 tickets at €500.
While Browne is still waiting back for news from his solicitor about whether his lottery licence application has been successful, he told The Irish Times this week that he is "expecting good news within a day or so and I am 99 per cent certain that the house will be raffled before Christmas. Anyone interested in buying a ticket can text me at 085-7055648 and I'll get back to them."
It's an idea that's been tried before. Back in 1984, Barney Curley, the trainer and professional gambler, raffled his Middleton Park mansion in Mullingar when he sold 9,000 tickets at £200 a go.
Curley claimed later that the Irish and British lotteries copied his concept when it came to their own moneymaking systems. However, Curley's innovation wasn't without its difficulties: when the gardaí took a closer look it deemed this and other house-selling lotteries to be illegal and a matter for the courts.
Thinking a little bigger, some developers are even offering two-for-the-price-of-one on new homes. Warren Developments in Cork, for instance, is offering takers at its Desert Heights five-bedroom scheme in Clonakilty the carrot of a free one-bedroom apartment (worth around €70,000 with an income of €3,500 for three years) in Cape Verde, off the West African coast. The "stick"? Well, just the €595,000 asking price.
The buy-one-get-one-free is now a popular tool for desperate developers around the world from Europe - Bulgaria, England and Spain, for example - to the west coast of the US. For instance, Michael Crews Development in San Diego is offering buyers a $1.6 million pad in San Pasqual Valley with a $400,000 home in Escondido for free.
On a similar theme, a couple from Battle Creek Michigan is selling a doll's replica of their home for $169,000 and throwing in their real house for free.
While deals are on the increase, the notion of giving away the family car into the bargain is not as attractive as it seems.
In September a 30-year-old English entrepreneur, Rick Hill, tried to sell his six-bedroom home in Hockley, Essex, and had included his £150,000-odd yellow Lamborghini in the £1.15 million asking price. However, Hill has had no takers for his house or his sports car and has now decided to keep the mojo and reduce the price of his house to a more inviting £875,000. Elsewhere in the UK, Surrey developer Kevin Sheehan built a villa in Spain and sent 32,000 e-mails to register it on sales websites around the world.
Countrywide estate agency in Glasgow held a "sale day" of £16 million worth of homes with an average 22.5 per cent price cut.
Plymouth developer and agent David Trathen is accepting boats and horses in part-exchange deals for homes.
A woman in Florida is promising to marry the man who buys her three-bedroom townhouse - caveat emptor, if you ever needed to say it.
Business woman Barbara Corcoran, a real estate contributor for NBC's Today Show, maintains that "you should drop a dead personality into your livingroom" on a site such as MyHome: "like Marilyn Monroe, for instance, which will make people stop at your site and start talking" about seeing said celeb in your bathroom or kitchen.
Corcoran, who was selling a block of 82 one, two and three-bedroom apartments, averaged out the cost of each apartment and advertised all of them at the same price.
So, the three-bedroom penthouse was the same price as a one-bedroom ground-floor apartment. She sold everything within one day at a profit. Irish developers take note.
Report - Irish Times.