Buy a house, get a car




Want a free Bentley, a Hummer, a Viper GTS or a Ferrari Convertible? All you have to do is buy real estate agent Mike Donia’s house in Brampton, Ont.


“Buy this castle and pick one chariot for free,” says Donia’s ad. The `castle’ is Donia’s 8,229‑square‑foot house, listed for $989,000. The `chariot’ is one of  his four cars.


Gimmick advertising is a marketing idea that’s popular in the United States for high‑end sales, where many houses come with the furniture included, he says. “Vendors will throw in a speed boat, a helicopter or even paintings” as part of the sale, Donia says.


He decided to put the concept to use, catching potential buyers’ attention by including pictures of fancy cars in an ad where they expect to see only houses. “It helps draw attention to the ad. People see a car, especially an exotic car, and it generates more calls for all the advertising on the page,” he says.


Donia has had numerous responses, including two serious inquiries, two from people interested in just the house, and three people who just want to buy the cars.


Potential purchasers aren’t the only ones who have responded ‑‑ other vendors like the idea and want their homes to be part of the ad, Donia says. His new ad will be: “Buy either of two houses and get one of the four cars for free.”


The concept appeals to people who want something to fill the four garages in the big home they’re buying, says Donia. Seem silly? Maybe, but it works. Did you hear the one about the guy who bought a Cadallic because he wanted the Jack Nicholas golf bag that came with it? Half the buyers bought because they wanted the golf bag, Donia says.


If you’re a sales rep who is thinking about using gimmicks such as these in your advertising, be sure to set out the rules, Donia says. “You’ll need clear title to both the house and the cars. It’s like any other transaction.”


Be sure to establish immediately whether the vehicle will be sold certified or as is. Let the purchaser know about applicable sales taxes.

Including vehicles with the sale of a property is not a new concept – in rural areas, farm

properties often include tractors and other farm implements. This is simply the city

version, says Donia.


The most important thing is to try to create something that catches the eye; something outside of the norm, he says. “Put a different twist on it. There are agents who, if you buy a house, will pay your legal bills or your moving costs. Be creative with the vendor, who may want to include something if it helps to sell the house.”


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