Sex sells ... houses? In Charlotte, apparently, yes.



If you wanted to buy a $5 million estate, wouldn’t you like to see how good your woman would look lounging in the bathtub or lying across the king sized bed? (Well, that is, if you're into women.) Of course you would and that’s what Nicholas Peters of Peters and Associates is banking on.

About a week ago, the real estate brokering firm decided to amp up its marketing and add a little sex appeal to its postcards and other mailing material. The payoff? Peters said he closed on multimillion dollar home that he hadn’t been able to move.

“One of our good buddies told my wife and I when we were taking our pictures, 'Why don’t we dress you up in a sexier dress, Mariam?' — which is my wife — 'and let’s dress November up, she’s our right hand.' And he said 'let’s dress you in a more clubbing suit. So, I said, OK, let’s try it.”

Peters said when those photos went on their flyers, the phones started ringing.

Charlotte’s housing market isn’t the best for sellers these days. According to a September report from Altos Market Research, the average property in the Queen City is on the market for 180 days — and that’s an affordable house. Peters, who specializes in luxury properties faces bigger hurdles. That’s why he wanted to make a splash with sexy and classy (as he calls it) photos in homes that not only showcase a house but a lifestyle.

“We put models in an everyday scene in a house and it created a big boom. We’ve had people call and say we saw your picture — not your ad — and our pictures are only in ads,” he said. “We are now under contract with two buyers and at one of our houses we’ve had two showings. And this is on a $5 million house. Before that we hadn’t had a showing in four months,” he said.

Peters’ ads have reportedly attracted attention from two professional athletes: a player from the Carolina Panthers and the Cincinnati Bengals. He declined to name who the players are. But the ads have also attracted attention and ire from other realtors in the community, he said.

“We’ve heard it. November said her oldest kid has been mocked at school. Kids are saying that her mom is selling sex for real estate. We’ve heard some comments and we were starting to question if we made the right move. But then when we started talking to our owners, they loved it. And they are my general concern. I could care less about what the general public thinks. ”

Some other agents, he said, told him in e-mails that this marketing campaign is degrading realtors and making them seem like prostitutes. Some others, he said have even accused him of putting agents in danger because of the provocative ads. “They say, you know how much danger we face when we’re showing houses to the open market and now you’re bringing sex into that,” he said.

Rather than getting into sparing matches with people who made negative comments, Peters said he’s sent them pictures from the entire marketing campaign — which shows more than just the women in the bathtub or lying across the bed. He’s received a few apologies as a result.

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