But for more than a month, hardly anyone even looked at the listing, Gyldenege told the Houston Chronicle. Maybe it was because the city of Conroe, 40 miles north of Houston, experienced catastrophic flooding during Hurricane Harvey that left some homes a total loss. And although Federal Emergency Management Agency maps show the risk of flooding at this particular address to be minimal, other homes in the River Plantation subdivision were swept off their foundations during the 2017 storm.
So Gyldenege tried something new: hiring scantily clad fitness models to pose in the listing photos for the $230,000 house. In one of the now-deleted images, a tanned blond woman in knee socks, black panties and an open-backed T-shirt leans provocatively into the breakfast bar, her back arched and her hindquarters exposed. Other shots show her climbing the stairs, perching on a kitchen counter and folding towels in the laundry room, all without pants on. Meanwhile, her male counterpart, whose bulging biceps are covered in tattoos, climbs a ladder to change a lightbulb and cooks a meal in a cast-iron pan on the stove. Later, he gives the woman — now shirtless and face down — a massage. At no point does he put on a shirt.
The photos can no longer be found on the official listing on the Houston Association of Realtors website because they were taken down after numerous complaints, Gyldenege told reporters. Citing the maxim that any publicity is good publicity, she told KTRK, “When I found out I had 100 complaints, I’m like, ‘Sweet, that’s like 10,000 people that have seen it.’ ” Although the house hasn’t sold yet, six people came for a tour in one day last week, she told the station.
Gyldenege, who goes by “pottymouthedagent” on Instagram, has since reposted some of the photos there. She told the Chronicle that the home’s current owners had agreed to the unconventional marketing strategy and that she hoped that the staged scenarios would help potential buyers picture themselves living in the house.
“I didn’t want anything slutty,” she said. “I wanted to represent a young couple who was on top of their game all the way around and who had just moved into this great house.”
At least one real estate agent in the area saw it differently. Kris Weiss, a Realtor in the affluent Houston suburb of The Woodlands, told KTRK, “We really want to be a little more professional.” Generally, agents try to make sure that their listings won’t alienate or drive away any potential buyers, she said.
In recent years, other Houston-area real estate agents have found unusual ways of drumming up attention for overlooked listings. Among their tactics: offering $250 worth of tacos with a purchase, listing expensive-looking houses for $1 and posing in each room of the house while dressed in a plush panda suit. Gyldenege told KTRK that because her listing wasn’t getting much attention on its own, “we needed to do something that was out there and really pushing the envelope.”
Fewer than 1,000 people had viewed photographs of the property in the first 40 days after it was listed, she told the Chronicle. But in the 24 hours after she posted images from the risque photo shoot, about 20,000 people had clicked on the listing, she said.
“In the end, that’s what matters — doing what’s best for my client,” she said.
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