In real estate, marketing is everything. Having a listing go viral can seem like a gift. That is, unless the exposure draws criticism, and lots of it.
Such was the case for HAR member Diana Power. Diana, with RE/MAX Fine Properties, did what she always does as a listing agent. She posted all the specs and descriptions of the 7,406-foot Richmond home on HAR.com and added a slew of photos. Only these photos showed mannequins throughout the house– some of them suspended from the ceiling, others sitting in the kitchen, cleaning the bathroom and in various other poses. That’s because her client happens to be an artist whose work adorns practically every room of the so-called “Mannequin Mansion.”
Chances are, even if you had traveled outside the area in July, you have probably seen, heard or read news coverage about this $1,275,000 listing that was averaging more than 400,000 views a week on HAR.com. Houston REALTOR® visited with Diana to see what take-aways might come from her experience, since most of us would generally welcome the opportunity for a listing to go viral.
Q: Did you see genuine interest in the property or do you think it was more curiosity-seekers/”looky loos?”
A: “I have had lots of requests to show, but once I request a preapproval or proof of funds, I never hear back. I have had agents and customers alike. I will not show without this proof. I don’t want to turn this into a ‘Art Tour’. I am here to sell a house! I find it embarrassing, that a REALTOR® would act in such an unprofessional manner.”
Q: Do you believe that having the listing go viral helped or just kept you busy responding to critics?
A: “I have spent HOURS just on this listing; fielding calls and emails. I do think that it has made people aware of my other listings, but I don’t think it has picked up showings. I do spend a lot of time deleting negative comments or non-constructive comments. I am amazed that laymen and REALTORS® feel the need to tell me how to sell a house. I wonder why they think a broker needs help with a listing… The issue I see is that you can’t know the situation unless it is your situation.”
Q: Has the publicity helped you secure new clients?
A: “Not at this point.”
Q: Would you want another of your listings to go viral?
A: “I would want a listing to be very popular, but I would want it to be because of the house, not the contents of the house.”
Q: What other thoughts or advice could you share with HAR members?
A: “My hope is that, with all this press, we will find a buyer that can truly appreciate the house, acreage, pool and location. This is truly an exceptional home with fantastic grounds. The contents don’t stay, look at the bones and appreciate the details. My advice is not to judge the seller or the agent on what you believe is right. Every person is different, treat them with respect and you will be treated the same way. Don’t sit behind your computer and judge!”