Warning: The photos reproduced below may be considered inappropriate or “not safe for work” by some employers.
After El Paso, Texas, real estate agent Kristin Gyldenege spiced up a for-sale home listing with photos of scantily clad male and female models, other agents complained — and the Houston Association of Realtors pulled the photos from its site.
Earlier this month, Gyldenege paid two models to pose inside a home in their underwear after struggling to find a buyer for a three-bedroom property in a flood-prone part of Texas. An agent with the Home Pros Real Estate Group, Gyldenege had already spent a month hosting open houses and lowered the price by 2.13 per cent to $230,000.
To the new agent (Gyldenege has been in real estate for a year and a half), it seemed like a fun, sexy, lighthearted idea. After clearing the idea with the homeowners, she instructed the models to strike suggestive poses and took the photos in the 590 Mosswood Drive property herself.
But the listing, which is posted on HAR.com, caught the attention of several other agents in the Dallas area. According to Gyldenege, HAR stripped the photos in favor of standard ones after receiving over 100 complaints from those who felt she was disrespecting the industry.
“I wanted to show a young couple enjoying the home they just bought,” Gyldenege told Inman. “[…] Of course we needed to show off their amazing bodies and we all know that sex sells, so it needed to be sexy but believable.”
Do you think using scantily clad photos can be a clever idea for particular listings, or too much? Vote here:
HAR confirmed that it removed the photos but would not comment on the specifics of Gyldenege’s listing.
“HAR continuously strives to ensure that the information for each and every property listing is accurate and that the photos or renderings associated with those listings maintain the highest integrity,” a spokesperson told Inman. “If we discover or are informed that content is inaccurate or offensive, HAR acts quickly and decisively to replace or remove that material.”
In the photos, a sampling of which Inman has reproduced below, you can see the male and female models cooking dinner in underwear, topless, giving each other massages, running up the stairs, and even bending over counters provocatively.
The attention-grabbing technique has boosted the listing’s profile. Gyldenege said that the house received 180 views in all of October but has now been looked at more than 10,000 times in the last week alone.
“I have always loved real estate but HATED the stuffy ultra conservative fake personal Realtors represented,” Gyldenege said. “I vowed to be everything but when I became an agent.”
On social media, Gyldenege also received a wide range of reactions. Some praised her “hilarious” and unconventional approach while others wondered whether titillation and shock-factor are effective tools to sell a home.
Remember, it's all about the CLIENT! We do whatever it takes to get the house SOLD! https://t.co/drqk5ukOml
— Mary Petruzzi (@MaryPetruzzi) November 26, 2018
I’m a retired realtor and my county has plenty of hard to sell homes BUT realtors will tell sellers to lower the asking price in order to sell. Sexy ads may work in Houston but it won’t work in the NYC area.
— firstname.lastname@example.org (@kathylakritzya1) November 24, 2018
To Gyldenege, even the negative responses have been good publicity. She said that she’s doing what she can to make people laugh and look at the property — which, according to her, even the critics are doing.
“If you think all a real estate agent brings to the table is take pictures of a house and list it on the internet, you can’t see justifying not doing it yourself,” she said. “What agents are forgetting is we are a service.”
That said, only time will tell whether eyeballs will lead to an actual sale. As of Monday, the house is still on the market.