Why It Pays to Be an Unconventional Realtor

Why It Pays to Be an Unconventional Realtor

This post was updated on 09/15/2017.

Calling all North American real estate agents: we’ve got some eye-popping stats for you.

Canadians: you’re one of 120,000 real estate agents in your country.

Americans: you’re one of 1.2 million real estate agents in your country.

Mic drop.

What we’re trying to say is that as a real estate agent in Canada or the United States, you face some pretty fierce competition.

Unless, that is, you’re an unconventional realtor.

What’s an unconventional realtor?

The unconventional realtor is a real estate agent who has found a way to stand apart from the crowd. They know that to attract prospective clients in a market crowded with plenty of talented agents, they need more than great numbers and flattering testimonials — they need to be truly different.

The unconventional realtor breaks the mold.

They’re not afraid to leave their comfort zone and try new things when it comes to marketing. They don’t let fear of failing or of being seen as “weird” stop them. And it works. People pay attention.

The Internet has levelled the marketing playing field for real estate agents. You don’t need a ton of money to get into the game. There are plenty of tools and apps and platforms to try. The unconventional realtor knows how to take advantage of this.

Can you give me an example of a successful, unconventional realtor?

Of course we can. We’ll give you a few.

Phil Battista

Phil is a Brampton, Ontario-area real estate agent who decided to try something a little wacky. It worked, and now it’s a regular part of his marketing strategy.

His weird idea: cooking videos.

Seriously. Phil creates minute-long videos of himself whipping up dishes in the kitchen and then uploads them to his Facebook page. The series, which now features 20 or so videos, is called “Cooking With Your Agent.”

The videos have racked up thousands of views, and they totally set Phil apart from other agents in his area.

Luis Iglesias

Luis specializes in luxury real estate in the Miami area. That doesn’t make him unconventional, but his approach to Instagram marketing makes him a cut above the rest.

Luis treats his Instagram account like a “house porn” feed. Ninety-nine per cent of the time, he strictly posts photos of jaw-dropping ocean views, glamorous kitchens, drool-worthy infinity pools, and so on. Occasionally, he sprinkles in news or testimonials, like this one from rapper Rick Ross.

It’s working. Luis has a following of more than 75,400 followers!

Patricia Houlihan

Patricia is a great example of an agent who had the guts to try something unconventional to stand out.

In 2016, the Vancouver agent was tired of the same old ads that almost every realtor creates, featuring a beautiful home and a smiling family.

So she got weird.

She worked with a creative firm to create a bus shelter ad that featured her face with laser beams shooting from her eyes. The text read: “Patricia Houlihan. Sees What Others Miss. Like The Traps That Can Cost You Money.”

It was a hit. Curious passerby posted photos of her ad online, where it made the rounds on Reddit and attracted media attention. Houlihan later told CBC: “Yes, I am one of the top realtors in the city‎ and recognized as such by the real estate board, but do I need to say the same thing they all say?”

unconventional realtor

So how can I become an unconventional realtor?

Firstly, you need to figure out what exactly sets you apart. That includes defining your values, establishing your value proposition, and building a consistent brand presence. Click here to read our tips for doing all three.

Secondly, you need to try new tactics. Everyone is on social media, and everyone is sending out a newsletter. What can you do that’s different?


  • Do something extreme. Follow the lead of Phil and Patricia, and try something weird, hilarious or extreme. At the very least, it will attract some attention that you can capitalize on.


  • Get personal. Make your personality a key part of your online marketing strategy. Open up to your audience by sharing details about yourself and your life, posting personal photos, or creating videos or guides that have nothing to do with real estate (like Phil). Remember: when it comes to your personality, there’s no other agent just like you.


  • Don’t let momentum die: if you’re getting noticed for something, take advantage of it and keep the fire alive! Don’t be a one-hit wonder: once you’ve done something to set yourself apart, you’ve got to follow up again and again. The most important part of being an unconventional realtor is to always have more ideas in the pipeline.



What are you doing to make sure that you stand out in your market? Share ideas below!



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