Ethics in Real Estate Photos
If you are looking to buy a new home, you are probably starting the process online. You have probably done internet searches to see what is available in your desired area. Maybe you have seen photos of gorgeous homes with creative descriptions. The homes probably look too good to be true.
In some cases, they just might be. While marketing is all about attracting customers, sometimes real estate agents go a little too far. After all, they work on commission, so selling a home is their main goal. Sometimes they will go to great lengths to make that sale.
This may mean using a bit too much photo editing. Many agents use Photoshop and similar applications for virtual staging, which involves adding furniture to a bare home to make it look more inviting. Staged homes are money makers for agents, as they tend to sell 88% faster.
A real estate agent can also use photo editing to turn one room into another to inspire buyers. With editing, you can also remove clutter in a home and create special effects such as blue skies, green grass or a twilight effect. These are just cosmetic changes that do not affect the home’s value.
However, there are some unethical issues of Photoshop that can cause a real estate agent to face severe punishment and even lose their license. Photo editing programs now come with so many different effects that a creative agent can use them to create a total home remodel. Because a huge photo makeover can influence a buyer and even lead them to make an offer sight unseen, heavy editing should be disclosed to buyers. In fact, as many as 35% of home buyers have bought a home without even seeing the inside of it in person first.
If you’re a real estate agent, be sure to use editing photos carefully. Before posting photos of a home online, think about what you are editing. Are you editing out a permanent fixture? Will the editing affect the value of the home? If you make major changes, have you disclosed them to potential buyers?
Any significant revision of any photograph of the home could violate Article 1 of the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics which requires that the Realtor must treat all parties honestly. The goal is to sell a home ethically. Touching up a photo to make it more appealing is one thing, but when you are covering up flaws or things that need to be repaired and otherwise detract from the home, then that is being dishonest. Be responsible with your photo editing and other marketing practices so that you are in compliance with the NAR Code of Ethics and you give no basis for a complaint being filed with the Florida DBPR/ Division of Real Estate and no basis for your license being disciplined by the Florida Real Estate Commission.
Keep Your License With Help From a Tampa Real Estate Sales Associate Licensing Lawyer
Ethics is huge in the real estate field, especially when it comes to marketing. Misleading a buyer can lead to ethical issues that can lead to penalties such as fines and license suspension.
If you are facing administrative issues, seek legal help right away. Tampa real estate sales associate licensing lawyer David P. Rankin, P.A. was chosen to represent the Greater Tampa Realtors for over 16 years. He has participated in more than 200 DBPR/ Division of Real Estate investigations and represented many clients before the Florida Real Estate Commission. Schedule a consultation today by filling out the online form or calling (813) 968-6633.