Not So Picture Perfect
| June 20, 2013
In real estate, a picture can be worth a thousand words.
Almost every real estate listing includes eye-catching photos designed to attract buyers to the property. But what happens when the photos don’t necessarily present an accurate look at the property?
With advancements in photography, it can be very easy to change the perspective on a photo. Using a fish-eye lens or a panoramic setting can make a space appear to be much larger than it actually is. Picture editing software, such as Photoshop, can make brightening an usually dark room as easy as the click of a mouse.
The Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) believes photos that have been materially altere (imagine using PhotoShop to add cupboards in the kitchen where none actually exist) or are not current with the time of the listing may be misleading. However, photos taken with a wide-angle lens or similar perspective, which don’t materially change the representation of the property, are typically acceptable. This is particularly true when there is additional information in the listing(room sizes, lot size, etc.).
Of course, someone who posts specific listing photos with the sole intention of deceiving buyers into viewing the property could be making representations or carrying on conduct that misleads or is likely to do so. Real estate listings must not be false, inaccurate or capable of misleading a consumer. An advertisement (of a listing or otherwise) may be considered misleading even if it is not demonstrated that a consumer was actually misled. It is only necessary to show that the advertisement was capable of misleading a consumer.
While pictures are important, listings also typically have an extensive written description. When working with a buyer, review the listing’s description with the buyer to ensure the property aligns with the buyer’s search criteria of on things such as the square footage of specific rooms and lot size. Don’t depend on pictures to tell the entire story.
Additionally, when working with buyer clients specific needs, make sure you’re asking the right questions of listing agents. If you have a buyer client who needs RV parking, when you set up the viewing – ask the listing agent if the property has RV parking. Save everyone a lot of time.
Do you typically use a wide angle or fish eye lens when listing properties? Do you find such photos misleading?