That’s what Kristin Gyldenege started wondering back in October when she was hired as the listing agent to sell a two-year-old, two-story house in Conroe, TX. Although the property itself was an “entertainer’s dream”—with three huge bedrooms, 2.5 baths, and an open-concept kitchen with granite counters and stainless steel appliances—no one was biting.
“We weren’t getting any traffic,” Gyldenege tells realtor.com®.
During the month of October, the listing got just 180 views, and despite multiple open houses, no one was showing up. Part of the problem was that the house was situated in an area known for flooding, which might have made potential buyers wary of wading in (although Gyldenege is quick to point out that this home has never been inundated and is situated in an elevated area that’s “high and dry.”)
By November, she decided it was time to try something more eye-catching … and what better eye candy could there be than fresh new listing pics of a young, barely clothed couple prancing around the house?
Gyldenege called a couple of fitness models she knew, and asked if they’d be willing to pose for photos. They happily agreed to do it for free.
Of course, she called her client first, explaining that these new pics would hopefully drum up more eyeballs for her listing—particularly twenty- or thirty-something couples who might identify with these young tattooed models (or at least see the humor in the whole thing).
The home seller was on board, so Gyldenege set up the shoot, grabbing her own camera to snap some pics.
“I shot the pictures Sunday morning and posted them Sunday afternoon,” Gyldenege recalls.
By Sunday night, the listing had been shared far and wide, and viewed over 50,000 times.
“HAR had received over 100 complaints about the photos,” Gyldenege says. She doesn’t know exactly who complained or what they said, although she’s got an inkling that “older real estate agents” made up the bulk of the criticism.
“I find [the reaction] interesting,” she says. “I don’t think [the photos were] that crazy! But if something this minor has gone this crazy, clearly some revitalization has to be done in our industry.”
HAR took down the listing Monday. Gyldenege was allowed to restore it later, albeit with only the original pics of empty rooms. Yet although her racy listing photos were up online for only about 24 hours, that was enough time to lead to six showings and a sizable crowd at their next open house.
While these photos may have raised eyebrows in the Houston area, sexy listing pics are not exactly new to the real estate game. In 2016, one risqué real estate video listing in Hollywood Hills went viral for featuring a nude, tattooed woman luxuriating in her steam shower.
And Gyldenege herself is no stranger to controversy. Last year, she embarked on her own personal branding mission, slapping a sign on her car dubbing herself the “Potty Mouthed Agent” who would “sell the s*** out of your house.” Some applauded her fresh approach; others called her “tacky” and a “disgrace to the profession.” So, she was certainly not surprised when her latest listing tactic stirred up both positive and negative reviews.
But Gyldenege says that in today’s crowded real estate market, you have to take risks.
“What agents are forgetting is we are a service. We must pull out all stops and do whatever it takes to make sure our clients walk away happy,” she says. “If part of our service means putting ourselves on the line to stand out, then so be it.”
She also says that work must be done to change younger people’s perceptions of the real estate agent profession.
So while the fate of this particular listing experiment has yet to be determined, Gyldenege is happy with the results. Asked if she’d do it again, she says no, but only because this particular idea has now already been tried.
“I probably won’t do specifically this,” she says, “but I will push the envelope again!”