“50 Shades of Maple Glen”: Good Marketing or In Poor Taste?

There I was sitting minding my business on a Friday morning when all of a sudden my phone started blowing up. Texts, emails and FB messages were basically telling me that a very special home had hit the market. I checked my FB feed and almost every 5th post (I counted) had to do with this listing about 5 miles from my house. The agent had dubbed it “50 Shades of Maple Glen” and it boasted what they called a “sex oasis” in the basement fully outfitted with equipment and accessories. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about then google it.

In a matter of hours, Buzzfeed (Here)and Barstool (Here – WARNING EXPLICIT) had picked it up. I even heard a rumor that a journalist in New Zealand ran a spot on it. A friend of mine who lives in the neighborhood said the local news knocked on their door to get more info on the homeowners. Reaction was swift… many were intrigued, some asked to see it and others outraged.

As the day went on, I began to wonder more and more about this house. No…not its contents; more the marketing of it. I pondered whether this was a good strategy. The old adage in PR is that “All Publicity is Good Publicity”. I happen to completely disagree with that saying, but is it applicable here?

At first, I thought this was pretty brilliant. Perhaps falling into the trap of the adage above which is to say that all publicity is good. However, I reconsidered that notion and asked who exactly is the buyer for this house? Would a person looking for a $750,000 home want to inherit this story and stigma? Would a homeowner want to mention while having dinner guests that this house was the “50 Shades House”? I’m not so sure. Yes, more eyeballs on the property is better, but most will never buy it anyway and it might detract some otherwise well-intentioned purchaser.

Within real estate agent circles, there’s another conversation happening about whether this was good for the agent. Ultimately, I think it definitely raised her profile and generated a lot of buzz and interviews. Will it lead to more listings for her? Not sure, but I suppose it won’t hurt. Does this realtor have more tricks up her sleeve or was this just a “being in the right place at the right time” scenario? Needless to say, I am looking forward to finding out and truly admire her guts. Lots of realtors would be most concerned with their brand and reputation, but even people with a “sex oasis” in their basement need to sell their home too.

So I guess my question is what do you think? Has this been an effective means for marketing a property or do you think it tarnished and ultimately dissuaded buyers? If money were no issue, would you buy this property? Leave a comment below and weigh in!

And to answer your question: Yes, I previewed. Yes, I took selfies. Yes, I have an opinion on whether it’s priced right. 😉

I would be happy to showcase your question in my next installment. Go ahead…Ask me anything! If I use your question, I will send you a gift card of your choice or donate money to a charity on your behalf.

Seth Lejeune – 610.804.2104 – seth.lejeune@foxroach.com / Berkshire Hathaway – Fox & Roach

Seth is a licensed REALTOR  and small business owner based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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