Do you photoshop the potential into a listing photo?

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I saw an interesting Facebook status update this morning. An Ubertor client, Jim Duncan, from the Central Virginia area is at a Realtor ethics course today and updated his Twitter and Facebook profile to say:

Jim is twittering: Some realtors believe in showing the “potential” of a property in pictures – removing powerlines, trees, fences, changing color of house,.6:36am

My question is – do many Realtors photoshop their photos? what is ok? what is over the line? what do you do?

6 Answers

  1. Tim Ayres
    1/29/2008 at 8:57 am

    Hi Steve,

    I always touch up my photos. I’ll play with the curves to adjust brightness and contrast, sometimes I’ll increase the colour saturation. I have brushed out items in the past, but only things that shouldn’t be in the shot – a pet or a piece of laundry that ended up in an otherwise beautiful shot. I’ve never gone so far as to misrepresent a property by removing power lines or “improving” the view. This would be a gross violation of REALTOR® ethics codes, board MLS® rules, and consumer protection legislation. Check out this post I just wrote about truth in REALTOR® advertising.

    Tim Ayres
    Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty

  2. Gord Lau
    1/29/2008 at 9:50 am

    The regulator in British Columbia has this to say.

    Photo Enhancing Software
    With more widespread use of photo enhancing computer software, it has become relatively easy and inexpensive to manipulate photographs in a variety of ways. When using photographs in advertising materials, licensees must use caution so as to not alter or enhance photographs in any way that would misrepresent aspects of the property.

    Section 4-7 of the Council Rules provide that:
    A licensee must not publish real estate advertising that the licensee knows contains a false statement or misrepresentation concerning real estate, a trade in real estate or the provision of real estate services.

    While editing out such items as a garbage can or an automobile parked in a driveway would be acceptable, removing nearby power lines or changing any physical characteristic of a property such that it results in a misrepresentation would not be acceptable.

  3. Stephen Jagger
    1/29/2008 at 9:55 am

    @ Tim – thanks for your feedback. I just thought it was funny that some realtors would take out powerlines. Seems like a crazy thing to do.

    @ Gord – thanks for that info. Appreciate the details. I wonder what other areas do, or if BC is unique.

  4. Brad Coy
    1/30/2008 at 1:35 am

    I go as far as the basic touches allowed in Picassa’s free photo software. A simple touch up of light generally and saturation of color to pop sometimes. I generally sell condos so exterior shots are limited generally to 2 or3 stock that we have on hand. I have seen a real trend in SF for some brokerages to use a lot of photo shopping tricks like taking out power lines and adding a bright blue sky. Frankly I think their efforts are a bit transparent and the photos come off looking real phony.

  5. Teresa Boardman
    2/17/2008 at 1:37 pm

    The Regional MLS in the Twin Cities, Minnesota prohibits photo shopping listings. Photos maybe brightened or cropped or tweaked a bit but is is against the rules to remove items from the picture or to add them. I once trimmed a clients hedges in a photo and asked her to make the hedges look like the pictures os that I would not get a fine.

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