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— by Hana LaRock

5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Editing a Listing

There’s no question that agents have to put a lot of effort into their listings if they want to get meaningful responses. Writing a good listing with attractive photos, therefore, is something that takes a lot of trial and error, but should definitely be perfected over time. While there are tips you can follow to help you create good listings – using certain language, style, and editing your photos – you have to ask yourself at what point are you breaking the line between authenticity and exaggeration?


1) Are the photos ethical?

A good agent knows that in order to make a listing more appealing, it’s necessary to edit the photos. Bad photos not only limit exposure, but it would also deter potential clients. This is why most agents enhance their photos as much as possible, to reel people in.  While you should utilize photo editing as much as possible to make a property seem more desirable – especially if there’s a lot of cosmetic work to be done – there is a such thing as too much editing and you don’t want to be listing a home that looks nothing like the real thing.

2) Is any of this information misleading?

It goes without saying that you should leave any negative details out of a listing post, or at the very least, leave it open to interpretation. Most agents have a gift of being able to turn what’s a  “borderline area” into an “area with a lot of potential” or turn a “house that needs work” into a “great investment opportunity.” There’s nothing wrong with doing this, but it could very much be a waste of your time as much as it would be of the client’s time if you say things about the property that are way too much of a stretch or simply aren’t true. You never want to mislead someone.

3) Could the lack of information change the value of the home?

It’s one thing to include photos or information that don’t accurately portray the listing. But, it’s another to leave out information that’s critical to understanding the true value of a home. For instance, it’s important to mention if there are taxes owed on a home or there are squatters living there. At the same time, if you’re not sharing the true photos – or, completely manipulating photos – that show, or fail to show the true nature of the home, (mold, leaks, holes, etc.) then you are leaving out information that could change the overall value of a property. This, of course, would be to the seller’s benefit, but it could create a lot of problems down the road.

4) Is your virtual staging an exaggeration?

Whatever edits or virtual staging you do, make sure they are reasonable. It’s more than okay to use virtual staging to show how furniture would look in a home, or even how a renovation would look if a wall was removed, an extension was added, etc. After all, that is the purpose of virtual staging. However, at no point should virtual staging be used to give a home an appearance that would take thousands of dollars to actually get it to look that way. Similar to editing listing photos, virtual staging should not be used to push the boundaries of what looks nice and what’s completely unrealistic.

5) Have you made a disclaimer about the photos or other information in your listing?

If your photos, videos, text, or virtual staging photos have been manipulated, then you should make that clear in your listing when it’s not already obvious and appropriate to do so. Even just a watermark on your photos can make this clear and also prevent other agents from using your photos. While there are people who will buy a home without ever physically seeing it, you don’t want them to have any unpleasant surprises when they walk in the door for the first time.

These days, having descriptions on your listings alongside beautiful photos that sell, are all part of the industry. But, it’s important that whatever you add, change, or leave out, is as accurate as possible. 

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