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Listing Photos: Truth in Advertising

August 16 2010

ex of listing photo by mayaMany Real Estate Agents are not good photographers, but learn to be better. Part of our job is to take photos of our listings, and to show those homes in the best possible light. I think that is a great goal, as we are marketing homes – and trying to appeal to the Buyer who is making their choice to view a property solely on the photos we present online. But is it truth in advertising?

Tonight I showed two houses, the Client expressed certain expectations based on the photos he saw online. The photos shown, versus the reality of the properties was remarkable. The first house was a foreclosure, the condition was awful, and had it been properly represented we would never have been there, but the listing agent (or the Sellers) elected to show old photos. The expectations then for the second property were that those photos would also “falsely” represent the house.

The second home showed beautifully, the photos were true to the property, or even didn’t represent it as well as it could have (it can be awfully difficult to photograph a home sometimes). The client was so impressed with the second home, we will likely make a repeat visit and I suspect it will be the house his family chooses to call their own.

The lesson in this is one I want to consider, and to have you consider too. We are marketers, we are responsible for creating and showing a package to entice a buyer to look at our listing, but is it fair to completely misrepresent the current condition with old photos? Is it fair to retouch a photo with a software application? Or do we want to paint a real picture?

I am usually fortunate enough that my camera takes wonderful photos (it doesn’t hurt that I took photography at The School of Visual Arts in college), a great Sony High-Def 10 megapixel camera I got specifically for real estate – the photos are always stunny, but represent the houses well. I believe in truth in advertising, and don’t want to disappoint a buyer or my seller client.

So what do you think about Listing Photos? Should they be current? Should they be best portrayal? Should they be the truth? Or how do you feel?

Maya Paveza is a RE Technology Contributor, to learn more about her background and services, click here.

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