4 Things Real Estate Agents Want You to Know About Those House Listings with Sex Dungeons

published Feb 14, 2021
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If you’re one of the millions of people pandemic-scrolling through Zillow or Some agents might not be willing to help you.

Melissa Leonard, a real estate associate at Coldwell Banker Preferred near Philadelphia, was the listing agent for a home with a sex dungeon in Maple Glen, Pennsylvania. She had no problem working to sell the home, but some other agents had a big problem with it.

“I had some realtors that were like, ‘Wow this is great, the marketing you did was unbelievable, good for you!’” Leonard says. “Other people were like, ‘You ruined the industry. It was horrible. How could you put something like that up there?’”

Ultimately, the listing was stigmatized because of its unique features. Leonard says she would sell one again if the need came up, though, and Boston-based real estate agent Kate Ziegler agrees.

“I can’t deny the appeal of something that will generate its own buzz,” she says. “Sometimes that’s great lighting or a great view, sometimes it’s a dungeon. There is something for everyone, and my role isn’t to help clients buy the house I would want but to buy the house they want. If that includes a dungeon, then I’m along for the ride.”

The MLS is going to have an issue, though.

If you’re selling a home with some X-rated flair, be prepared for the multiple listing service, or MLS, to remove photos and possibly change some wording in the listing. That’s exactly what happened to Leonard, who tried to politely spice up the listing by naming the home she was selling “50 Shades of Maple Glen” and referring to the dungeon as a “sexual oasis,” not an actual dungeon. But the MLS still pulled the supposedly risqué pictures down and took out a lot of the sex-adjacent words from the listing.

“They do apparently have rules about it,” Leonard says.

Despite how fun they are to look at, people aren’t actively seeking them out.

Neither Ziegler nor Leonard have had buyers specifically seeking out this type of home — at least “not that they’ve confessed,” Ziegler says. After all, it’s not like there’s a search filter on MLS for whips and chains. From what Leonard says, though, even if there was, people likely still wouldn’t be interested in searching for these homes specifically.

“A lot of people thought it was more negative,” Leonard says. “It scared them. They would have liked the house but they were scared to come in it because of [the dungeon], or if they did like the house, they didn’t want to buy a house that was always going to be known as the sex dungeon house.”

When it comes down to it, though, it’s just furniture.

If you’re in the market to buy and you’ve found a property you love — minus its dungeon — there’s nothing to be afraid of. It can be easily changed, just like any other room in the home.

“You can take anything out,” Leonard says. “It’s only furniture. It’s really not a big deal if you don’t want any of that or don’t like it. You can take it out, repaint, re-carpet. It means nothing.”