New technology to alter/enhance listing photograph images is becoming less expensive and easier to use, but the risks remain under license law and NAR ethics on advertising and lawsuits.
To help build a potential defense to an accusation of deceptive or misleading images, here are some ideas for listing REALTORS®.
1. Display actual images "side by side" with the altered/enhanced images.
2. Clearly disclaim/disclose which images are actual and enhanced and how enhanced.
There are a variety of new technologies that can digitally remove walls, digitally place digital staging furniture, digitally change digital fixtures/furnishings, digitally change wall colors, digitally change lighting, digitally change flooring, and easily make other digital changes/alterations/enhancements that are so "picture perfect" that the images are almost indistinguishable from actual images for most people.
Be very careful not to mislead consumers with your listing images.
NAR reports that as many as 1 in 5 buyers buy real estate without visiting the physical property and rely solely on images of the property.
Call SCR if you have questions about your listing images that are digitally altered.
In the past, there have been violations in other states where real estate licensees or their tech people have digitally altered images and been found in violation of ethics and license law and even sued (e.g. removed nuclear cooling towers from behind the listing, photoshopped away images of actual roof damage caused by a storm, made a 1970’s ranch house into a digital open concept home with images of upgraded fixtures/furnishings that were not in the listing).
While digital imaging allows potential owners to visualize what a property could become with remodeling and re-furnishing and upgrading, potential owners need to know when they are viewing actual images and when they are viewing enhanced images so they can make buying decisions without being manipulated in a deceptive or misleading manner.
Posted by: Byron King on 03/12/19 (This information is only accurate as of 03/12/19. You must contact SCR for updates and changes to this information after 03/12/19 as laws and regulations may change over time. SCR 803-772-5206 or email info at screaltors.org)