If you’ve been reading online magazine pages, or trawling social media sites this week the likelihood is you will have come across home shaming – where posts point you towards the property marketing materials for a home for sale with the intention of giving you a good laugh.

Two homes in particular have been featured in the phenomenon this week:

  • The Purple House – this home is decorated in one shade of purple throughout with accents in, yep, you guessed it, PURPLE!
  • The Chintz House – a well loved family home filled with the gathered memorabilia of years of homemaking, something of an anachronism in our era of clean lines and minimalist leanings – but beautifully cared for nonetheless.

But while each of these homes obviously has an interesting story to tell, the marketers amongst us have to wonder exactly how it was they rose to our attention.

There are two possible scenarios:

Scenario 1: House hunters or trawling the web happened across the listings by chance and posted links to their social network profiles to give their friends a giggle (let’s face it, we all find a house that looks like an aubergine a little bit amusing.)

Their friends then shared the listings with their friends and the listings went viral, thus drawing the attention of journalists who quickly pounced on the listings and viewer reactions and turned them into stories for the benefit of the few of their readers who hadn’t already seen them on social media.

Scenario 2: A savvy estate agent who really understands marketing in the 21st century was struggling to sell these homes because of their distinctive style choices and decided to turn a problem into an opportunity.

He or she tips off a few people (most notably the authors of property blogs and newpaper property pages) to check out the photos and “Voila!” the home listing is suddenly one of the most popular on the internet, has achieved massive online exposure and has even featured in the printed press – all for the princely sum of £0 – now that is the sort of property marketing advertising money can’t buy!

Property Shaming is GOOD for Sales?

While to the untrained eye this kind of property shaming might seem a little unkind, we’d be willing to hazard a guess that the homeowners are not too upset – not least because we are pretty sure that someone must have had to give permission for the photographs to be reproduced in all the online and press coverage – be it the owner, agent or search site.

What Can Home Shaming Teach us About Property Marketing?

While not all homeowners would be happy to have their home subjected to ridicule in order to achieve a higher level of exposure, the message that the rise of home shaming sends is clear – stories sell houses.

Vendors and estate agents should always be looking for the angle, and once they find it they need to share it with the world – something that is easier than ever in the age of social media.