Thirty-five years ago when I entered the real estate profession, things were very different and in many ways, easier. Contracts were one page long, financing was done by and handshake at the local banks, we had the very modern Polaroid camera to take our instant photos, and, if you can imagine, no MLS. Today everything is different about the business and the advancement in technology has been incredible. For people like me who are still trying to figure out how fax machines work, it is sometimes overwhelming.
Enter the age of the digital camera and Photoshop. How wonderful! We can do our own photo editing and enhancements right at our own computer. We can create a House Beautiful magazine cover out of a handyman special with just a few mouse clicks. After all, isn’t this what we are supposed to do to help your clients sell their houses? Article 1 of the NAR Code of Ethics clearly states that we are to promote the best interests of our clients. So what if we improve the look of the their rather tired looking home? Aren’t we promoting their interest? Doesn’t the seller want a fast sale?
Let’s take a look at Article 12, which states we must present a true picture in our advertising. So, where do we draw the line? Do you think it is okay to photoshop into our listing photos a “new driveway” so the house looks better? Is it okay to “patch the grass?” Remove a mailbox and a telephone pole and stains from the driveway? Is it okay to remove the trash cans the owner forgot to put in the garage?
When have we gone beyond helping our clients and deceiving the public?