Not-so-real estate: Is it ethical to alter photos?

Airbrushed photos are becoming more common as prospective homebuyers turn to the Web as the first point in their house hunts.

Two years ago, Jonathan J. Miller, a Manhattan real estate appraiser, bought a house outside New York City. Shortly after the sale, he looked up the listing on the Web site of the seller’s agent and noticed something unusual: The utility lines running over his house were nowhere to be seen in the listing photo. They had been airbrushed out of the picture.

Although he would have bought the house anyway, Miller says, he was annoyed by the falsified photo.

“We physically saw the property, and therefore the utility lines, before buying, but did they really need to modify the photo that much? It didn’t really seem right, either legally or ethically.”

Miller posed this question on his real estate blog, Matrix, and it immediately became his most-read posting. Real estate agents and graphic designers across the country debated the ethics of altering photos to show homes to their best advantage. Some saw no problem with it; others said it crossed a line. “I was really surprised by the debate,” Miller says. “But it seems like what happened to me was one of the least-harmful examples.”

Internet driving the trend
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 83% of homebuyers check home-listing photos on the Internet before they visit a house… Full Story

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply