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Real Estate photographers and malpractice
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Oct 9, 2019 10:14:46   #
Abo Loc: Victoria Australia
 
Gene51 wrote:
it could be fraud, but not "malpractice"


I live near Melton... sometimes I think it should be Malton.

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Oct 9, 2019 10:17:22   #
danoliver Loc: South Central Kentucky
 
A photographer can use a fisheye lens and make rooms look a lot larger than they actually do !

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Oct 9, 2019 10:19:54   #
suntouched Loc: Sierra Vista AZ and Salem Oregon
 
Vietnam Vet wrote:
So I have been house hunting. The first step is looking at photos of houses online. I saw a couple of houses that looked great and I drove an hour to see them. The reality is the houses suck. I know your job is to create interest in the property, but at what point do you call it photographic malpractice?


And then you have the agents that take several poorly done phone pics (most common) that does not adequately represent the house either. I just bought a house out of state, sight unseen but I know it's in a desirable area with amazing views, good layout and sound. The agent did me a favor because most people would have not taken the time to look twice.

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Oct 9, 2019 10:35:07   #
E.L.. Shapiro Loc: Ottawa, Ontario Canada
 
Buying a house is a major investment- most folks understand that and I never knew of anyone buying a house, sight unseen, based on a photograh, without a thorough investigation of the property.

The first step in a SALE of anything, on the part of the seller, is attracting attention and creating desire. In advertising, that can be the job of the photographer in showing the "product" at its best, hopefully, without fakery or dishonesty. Once that is done, the rest is up to the seller and the buyer to come to a meeting of the minds and make a deal- or not!

Again, folks don't usually consider the purchase of a home strictly based on a photograph. There is a great number of considerations such as PRICE, the neighborhood, and its facilities and services, schools, transportation and commuting, convenience, accessibility to shopping, socioeconomic aspects and more. Then there are the physical aspects such as space, a number of rooms to accommodate the family and their lifestyles, the amenities such as garages, perhaps a pool, a finished basement, etc. Of course, the state of repair, condition and whether or not it is in "move-in shape, a fixer-upper or somewhere in between.

There is a process such as having the property professionally inspected, making certain there are no mold or asbestos hazards, electrical or plumbing issues, or any major defects such as a roof that needs replacement. These inspections are usually required to secure a mortgage. Usually, a lawyer is involved in handling the paperwork and conducting a search to ensure there are no liens or othere financial restrictions or encumbrances on the property. So...you just don't view an advertisement and hand over your credit card!

If you are a PHOTOGRAPHER, you should understand the effect of wide-angle lenses. Even if you are not a PHOTOGRAPHER,- ever read that notation on your right side rearview mirror- something about "objects seeming further away"?

I have been shooting architectural interiors and exteriors for years and I have never had a client tell me to fake anything or make it look at what it is not. They just tell me to make it look NICE. I have told the odd client that "you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear " without extreme fakery, perhaps massive retouching and if it is a wreck, they had better fix the place up and do the repairs before I come into photograh it. I don't want to be a party to fraud!

Personally, When I sees anything advertised and upon discovering it ain't what it is supposed to be, I simply won't buy it or deal with a dishonest seller, let along a realtor. It may cost me a tank of gas and waste some of my time but that is less expensive than ending up with a lemon car, camera, box of candy or a HOUSE? I comes out as a saving in the long run!

A smart seller, agent, or broker, does not want to waste their own time explaining why a property is not as advertised.

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Oct 9, 2019 10:36:29   #
olemikey Loc: 6 mile creek, Spacecoast Florida
 
MT Shooter wrote:
Hmmm, ever compared a McDonalds burger to the poster on the wall????


That is a great anology!! If you want to be disappointed, look at food ads and then go buy the real thing!!!

We recently sold a house (in-laws place, they are deceased) and all the photogreaphy was done by smartphone. The shots of ours and others we saw were pretty good representations..... Now, can you leave out the "bad" and highlight the "good" sure you can, and vice versa.

We had more trouble with "faked" inspections by the "Buyer's" inspection representatives, defeciencies that didn't exist - roof needs replacement (passed thorough inspection by professional engineer, in fact, still under warranty), No Hurricane/wind mitigation (which was plainly visible, and passed inspection by an independent inspector), Septic Companies "failing" and indicating complete replacement (which of course they offer for around $10K) required for a Septic system (Black water/grey water) that when checked by an independent Septic Engineering Company passed with flying colors. Electrical "issues" that seemed to disappear when an independent electrician inspected and passed the place. I could go on, but that was the big negative part of our experience.

The Realtor (our realtor) was dutiful in presenting these "issues" to us with the prospective buyers claims and offers (very much lower for sure), but once she saw each report from the independent inspections, she started to lose respect for folks who she thought did honest reasonable work. Even she had to read some of the conflicting reports twice before she sided back with us, but I think it must just be easier to just accept the "buyers" inspection claims and reduce the price accordingly (Not on my watch, was not about to let them "dupe" us). My wife took care of her folks for free for over 25 years, and they left it to her for her efforts, no way she was going to be scammed out of thousands by (less than) "Professionals", professional at separating you from your money!.

While the "seller" independent inspections did cost us a few hundred dollars out of any profit, they made back thousands, nearly a $25K difference in what we ended up getting for the place, versus what we'd have to "settle" for, based on bogus inspections, possibly bad "realtors".

I will say this - If you are selling a home, make sure you are there when any "buyer" Inspectors are on site, and watch them closely. I photographed the inspections and watched them very closely. In two instances, the prospective buyer wanted the septic system opened, pumped, visually inspected, photographed, flow tested, and closed back up. All of which is fine, if done right and reported properly, neither company did, they just flat out lied for the replacement work. AND, both tried to leave the scene without refilling the septic tank. In our area, during the wet season, you cannot leave a tank empty, it will pop out of the ground like a submarine popping up through the ice - that would guarantee a replacement job. 3 years later the system is still operating just fine, as are all the other "bad issues" reported by these dubious inspectors. How do I know, I know the folks who bought the place.......talk to them regularly, they live on our street.

So with Real Estate - both the buyer and the seller need to do "due diligence", as trust seems to be a fleeting thing in that arena. Always get at least two opinions/inspections (your/theirs), it is definitely well worth it.

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Oct 9, 2019 10:41:05   #
Ched49 Loc: Pittsburgh, Pa.
 
Vietnam Vet wrote:
So I have been house hunting. The first step is looking at photos of houses online. I saw a couple of houses that looked great and I drove an hour to see them. The reality is the houses suck. I know your job is to create interest in the property, but at what point do you call it photographic malpractice?


Good luck trying to collect on malpractice claims. It's just like everything else you see in advertisements, cook books, hotel rooms, resort areas. The photo's your looking at are made to look perfect in every way and they may or may not look like the actual place you want to see. They're called "come on ad's"

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Oct 9, 2019 11:04:19   #
n4jee Loc: Keystone Heights, FL
 
Linda From Maine wrote:
Staging a home is an art, right down to having warm-from-the-oven cookies on the kitchen counter. The goal of staging is to make the home look warm and welcoming while keeping the furniture and wall colors neutral (and uncluttered) enough so that buyers can envision their own lives there. They know the furniture is not included in the sale, so there's no deception - only a nudge to help their imaginations


Absolutely correct. Advertising a house does not sell it. The advertising is to make the phone ring at the agents office. Buyers seldom buy the property that they called about.

I'm getting ready to sell my beautiful Florida lakefront home. I'm going to do the photography myself and I assure you that I'm going to stage it and make it look as good as I can. I'll be hiring a videographer based on their portfolio to be sure that it attracts attention. I know that when someone walks through my house they will love it and I will do everything I can to get them here.

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Oct 9, 2019 11:30:16   #
Strodav Loc: Houston, Tx
 
I would have a hard time blaming the photographer. The real-estate agent contracts to the photographer to make the property look as attractive as possible, so the photographer is just trying to make a living by making the customer happy. At the end of the day, no rational person buys a house sight unseen, so that's the check and balance. Go after the real-estate agent for misrepresenting the property. To the best of my knowledge, real-estate agents are licensed. Report them.

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Oct 9, 2019 11:50:55   #
johngault007 Loc: South East USA
 
Strodav wrote:
I would have a hard time blaming the photographer. The real-estate agent contracts to the photographer to make the property look as attractive as possible, so the photographer is just trying to make a living by making the customer happy. At the end of the day, no rational person buys a house sight unseen, so that's the check and balance. Go after the real-estate agent for misrepresenting the property. To the best of my knowledge, real-estate agents are licensed. Report them.


What would you report them for? Making a product look good to attract customers?

By-the-way, I agree with your points, minus the last part, because all they are doing (unless the OP actually provides more information), is dressing a product up.

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Oct 9, 2019 11:58:57   #
Jaackil Loc: Massachusetts
 
Vietnam Vet wrote:
So I have been house hunting. The first step is looking at photos of houses online. I saw a couple of houses that looked great and I drove an hour to see them. The reality is the houses suck. I know your job is to create interest in the property, but at what point do you call it photographic malpractice?


Were you planning on buying just based on pictures alone without actually viewing the property? I understand what you are trying to say here but Malpractice is the wrong term. Malpractice is proffesional negligence, negligence or incompetence on the part of a proffesional. It sounds like the photographers were quite competent. What you are talking about is called misrepresentation. Without actually seeing what you are talking about, misrepresentation in a photo as you describe is more than cleaning up clutter or debris in a photo Before taking the picture. It’s not shooting with a wide angle lens which makes rooms appear larger than the really are. Misrepresentation would be to actually alter a photo in a way that hides or eliminates some material defect. “Sprucing” up a house to give it better curb appeal does not constitute misrepresentation. Neither does not showing images of property defects. You are allowed to show only the “best” features of a house when advertising. (You can not hide them on visual inspection). Photographs that do not accurately depict the age and wear of a home is not misrepresentation either just like putting a fresh coat of paint on a home, unless the photo has been altered specifically to make material changes. But using lighting and angles to make a property look it’s best is not misrepresentation. I would think anyone looking at pictures of a home for sale would realize no one is going to show images that make the property look like a S-hole. The whole idea of using pictures is to get the viewer to want to view the property in person. First rule of real estate, Caveat Emptor. Buyer Beware, the principle that the buyer alone is responsible checking the quality and suitability of what they are buying before the buy.

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Oct 9, 2019 12:02:57   #
Abo Loc: Victoria Australia
 
I dunno... I bought a residence based on the photos on a real estate website.

The property was exactly as the photos portrayed it. Nothing more, nothing less.

I've also sold plenty of stuff on the net. If the photo is a very accurate
depiction of the object, those that take the time to view the item "in the flesh"
invariably buy it. Buyers don't seem to pay a visit to window shop; they obviously want
what they see in the photo, and if the item equals the photo, it's bought... ipso facto.

Having said that, of course there are plenty of "hamburger photos" MT Shooter cites;
if you see a photo of a house and its been shot at twighlight... caveat emptor.

.
Possibly shot by the same people that shoot for McDonalds
Possibly shot by the same people that shoot for Mc...

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Oct 9, 2019 12:07:03   #
Gene51 Loc: Yonkers, NY, now in LSD (LowerSlowerDelaware)
 
sb wrote:
After looking at real estate photos recently, I have learned that many times a wide angle lens has been used in a way that makes small rooms look much larger. At first glance the room may seem large. Also, it is hard to really tell what the flooring is like in a lot of photos - is it crappy synthetic or real hardwood? Are these the ways you have been mislead?


And that is the reason I've used a longer lens and did a stitched pano in situations like this. There is no avoiding this when using very wide lenses - extension distortion is a fact of life - and other than choosing to use a wide lens in the first place.

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Oct 9, 2019 12:08:37   #
cahale Loc: San Angelo, TX
 
About the same time that you call auto commercials malpractice. See the car running down a city street at 80, sliding out on the dirt while throwing debris everywhere, and spinning the rear tires to create lots of smoke (sometimes even with front wheel drive). Then the caption (in 4 point script) saying "professional driver - do not do this at home." I abhor it as much as you, but reality is that ALL advertising is nothing more than an attempt to pull your eyes to a brand name or object being sold.

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Oct 9, 2019 12:09:20   #
Gene51 Loc: Yonkers, NY, now in LSD (LowerSlowerDelaware)
 
jbk224 wrote:
Exactly!!! Let's all stop hypothesizing and get the facts first.


It's RE agent malpractice. Not photographer's fault unless the shooter is selling his/her own
property

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Oct 9, 2019 12:12:02   #
Bill P
 
If I get what the OP is asking right, despite a total lack of details and examples, would I be guilty of malpractice if I shot real estate photos, like I want to work for 5 or 4 bucks a shot, with an ultra wide angle making that tiny living room sook like a lobby in a high end hotel? To me, that's a stretch, aside from the subject of pleasing the prospective buyer or the person paying for the photo, the seller. It sounds like the P{ needs to understand Caveat Emptor.

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