Photos used in Birmingham condo listing spark controversy

GF Default - Photos used in Birmingham condo listing spark controversy
GF Default - Photos used in Birmingham condo listing spark controversy

A listing for a condo in Birmingham is drawing a lot of attention -- and not everyone is happy about it.

It features a woman in a Mrs. Claus costume and has received thousands of views. Some local real estate have complained about the listing.

A lot of controversy surrounds the pictures, but it looks like it’s doing exactly what the real estate agent set out to do -- draw attention to the property.

Chris Hubel, Co-founder of Inked Michigan realty has recently been under fire for his unconventional marketing techniques as a real estate agent.

“It’s literally an impossible sell unless I made it go viral," Hubel said. "I was like you know what, Ms. Claus and that Santa Claus -- that’s how I’m going to do it,”

So Hubel found a mysterious Santa and and attractive Mrs. Claus covered in tattoos to take photos all over the 867 square foot condo and the internet blew up.

“We had 7,00 views on Zillow in the first week. We had another 6,000 clicks on Facebook alone," Hubel said. "I mean if this is not how to effectively market a property -- I don’t know what is.”

All the exposure hasn’t been met with positivity. Some other real estate agents, like Traci Martin, are calling the technique risky and reckless.

“People take desperate measures to get this 10 minutes of fame per se," Martin said. “He may achieve that with this certain listing, but I don’t think it’s worth in the long run to be taken seriously as a professional.”

Hubel said it even got to the point where the popular property listing service, Real Comp, asked for the pictures to be removed -- claiming it’s a violation of the fair housing act.

“There are not really any fair housing violations going on here and when I asked them to directly cite which rule I’m in violation of, they were not able to do this,” Hubel said. “How are we supposed to best sell our client’s listing if making a listing go viral is not what we’re looking for?”

The owner of the property said he has no problem with what Hubel is doing. In fact, he said he loves it.

You can come check out the condo yourself in an open house taking place Saturday from 1-3 p.m.

The listing can be seen here.

About the Authors:

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.