Brokers employ digital renovations to spruce up spaces

Practice is legal so long as agents disclose photo doctoring
August 08, 2014 11:50AM

With homeseekers increasingly starting their house hunting online, the temptation to go beyond simply tweaking listing photos might be greater than ever. The question is whether full-scale digital renovations are inherently deceptive.

Brokers are using digital photo editing software not just to touch up listing photos, but significantly alter layouts, flooring and finishings, the New York Daily News reported. Though the practice may sound like deception, it’s legal so long as agents are honest when it comes to disclosing that preview images have been doctored, according to the newspaper.

The practice can come in handy when owners have idiosyncratic tastes that might not appeal to potential buyers. The newspaper points to a $7 million townhouse packed with taxidermy that was marketed by Halstead Property. Using digital editing, the brokerage was able to clear away the clutter.

“If sellers have not updated their home in 30 years, that could be a major hurdle to jump over when they go to sell,” Matthew Leone, a Web marketer at Halstead, told the Daily News. “Not everyone has that vision to see beyond the current esthetic. We’re just providing it for those that don’t.” [NYDN]Tom DiChristopher