Real Estate Broker Warms Up Cold Listings With Hot Models

You can thank Vogue for sexing up real estate marketing. When real estate broker Dimitrios Aletras of high-end agency Nest Seekers was flipping through fashion mags, he wondered why he couldn't do for vacant apartments what fashion stylists do with belts and shoes: Get hot models to make them look fabulous.

"I would look at those magazine ads and think, 'Why can't it be this way for real estate, too?'" says Aletras, the agency's director of business development. The result, at left, is an ad campaign that "throws the market on its head. The images really show you the lifestyle you want for yourself," he says. "They are insanely sexy!"

And insanely expensive. To sell the two-bedroom, two-bath Greenwich Village apartment pictured above (asking price: $2.5 million), he pulled a wardrobe that includes pieces from Gucci, Christian Search Homes for Sale See photos of homes for sale in your area and across the country on AOL Real Estate Louboutin and Yves Saint Laurent. Models from top agencies One Model Management and Elite play the homeowners, and fashion photographer David LaChapelle is said to be advising a bit from afar, while up-and-coming photographers Leah Kelley and Cecil Gilliard are shooting.

The first installment has a Mad Men feel -- an homage to the fact that the location is where Don Draper moves after breaking up with his wife. Next up is a $4 million, high-tech lair at 120 Riverside Boulevard. For that one, Aletras cast a "sexy family" inspired by the famous W magazine photo shoot starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie back when they were just pretending to be a couple. (Cool feature: The "hers" side of the master closet has a fingerprint recognition system.)

The cost of such an endeavor puts it out of the range of the typical homeowner (Aletras won't say how much) but if you're tempted to create an ad campaign for your property for sale, Aletras offers this advice for doing it on a budget.

"To keep costs down, find an up-and-coming photographer -- someone in school who wants to build their portfolio. The same with models and a makeup person," he says. Above all, remember the cardinal rule of photography, which applies to properties as well as people: "Just make sure you work with good lighting." --Shira Levine

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Yes, I know all about marketing a property with "props." I, too, advertised an exclusive property, in 200 Chambers Street, in an unconventional way using my marketing talents as I have always done for over 25 years. This is an aspect of my business that I love. The ad was in the November and December 2010 issue of Quest Magazine for Merle K. Barash Real Estate, Inc. and can be seen on my web site:
In one of my exclusive properties I used my feet with my toes painted yellow to show a beautiful wood floor in an empty property. I have naturally used my talents, it's just in recent years they gave it a name and labeled it as staging.

Marketing is about creating an image and reperesenting a product authentically, if one is professional.

Ideals that seem new are old........................Congratulations to Nest Seekers. They are a nice group of brokers.

Sincerely, Merle K. Barash

July 24 2011 at 7:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So many ridiculous people posting here!!!! Are you all missing the freaking point? It's not about the color of the models; it's about using models in the first place, to try to sell something to people by making it look like this attractive couple found it to be a good enough house to occupy, therefore it must be good enough for them, too! Yes, the public is ridiculous sometimes in how easily something so simple could sway them, but the fact remains, it CAN and does, every day. You could have inserted any handsome or interesting or pretty people here, and the message would have the same intent. ARRGGGGHHHHH!!!!! If you were all just colorblind, there'd probably only be 4 comments here.

April 15 2011 at 11:40 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

yeah, the sight of king kong and faye ray would make me want to buy a cold on the market unit.

April 14 2011 at 5:41 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I'm led to believe that there have been prostituion rings run through some high-end vacant real estate properties, of which there is no shortage these days. The prostitutes all have their real estate licenses and meet "clients" at the vacant properties, ostensibly showing a little more than home and property.

April 14 2011 at 5:18 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

If you're buying as home and thinking with your dick, YOU ARE A DICK.

April 14 2011 at 12:46 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Someone's gonna try to buy the model...

April 14 2011 at 12:39 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply


April 14 2011 at 12:14 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

yeah.... getting those two in a picture to entice me into a neighborhood might work.... yeah right

April 13 2011 at 11:02 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

As a professional Home Stager I am always reseraching ways to help owners enhance the value of their home and sell faster and for more money. This is not it. Ridiculous and unprofessional.!!

For a unique, yet professional and affordable option check out Very creative and interesting.

April 13 2011 at 8:57 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

thank God.

April 13 2011 at 7:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply