In this day and age of technology and the internet, privacy for home sellers has become a sensitive topic. Over 90% of home buying is done with the aid of internet searches and online websites making pictures king. For a period of time, a seller has to live with their home electronically “open” to the public. Strangers can see their furniture, belongings, and home layout. Even if they take the steps to put the personal stuff away, it’s enough to make some people paranoid. But exposure is part of the selling process. Buyers need to see a home in order to know if they want to buy it (that’s a given). However, there’s some etiquette that buyers should abide by when viewing homes and part of that concerns taking their own pictures (or video).
The MLS Photos
Most sellers work very hard to make their home shine in the listing photos. After all, this is their chance to give a great first impression. But it’s also one point in the listing process when they get to control their family’s privacy. In doing so, they may remove personal items from the home or choose to refrain from showing a specific room to limit its exposure to the public. One example is a child’s room. By leaving the child’s room out of the marketing it allows the child to keep their toys and décor (their comfort zone) during a time that can be very stressful for them. It also protects them from predators who may troll listings. Further safety measures are taken in the form of restricted data, Realtor intervention, and showing logs and instructions.
Taking Photos While Viewing Homes
For most buyers and in most circumstances, the MLS photos should be enough for the first showing, but we realize that there are some circumstances when additional photos may be needed. These include when:
- An out-of-town relative is paying for the home and they want to clearly know what they may be investing in.
- The listing agent hasn’t supplied many photos and the buyer needs a few quick shots to remember what they like best about the home.
- The buyer needs a better shot of a room than the one supplied in order to make comparisons.
Additional photos should not be taken unless the buyer is seriously considering the home and should never be shared on social media. This includes selfies.
Respecting the Seller’s Privacy
As guests in a stranger’s home, buyers should always give their privacy the utmost respect. Yes, the seller wants to sell their home. Yes, the buyer is interested in purchasing the home. But until the deed is recorded, it’s not the buyer’s home, it’s the seller’s and they need to protect their privacy.
Remember, if a buyer is truly interested in making an offer on a home, they’ll want to maintain a good relationship with the seller. It will help loads when it comes time to negotiate. When in doubt, the buyer’s agent can always ask the listing agent if the seller would mind a few photos. This will at least give them the knowledge that pictures of their home will be “out there” and provide them the chance to remove additional personal items.
If you have any questions about listing, buying, or protecting your privacy during the real estate process, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us a message through our Contact page.