It's an NAR Code of Ethics Violation . . .

Real Estate Broker/Owner with | Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% of the Time Licensed State of Oregon

What I see on the menuSO WHAT?!?

I've been on ActiveRain for some time.  I've read so many posts, and have read 100 times the comments.

Whenever I read this trite little ditty:  It's an NAR Code of Ethics violation . . .

I just want to know one thing, Does it really matter?!?

On the topic of what we're "supposed" to present, i.e., a true picture in our marketing / advertising . . .

So what!! 

DEFINE:  "true picture" 

Oh, like we're really going to get called on the carpet because we used a FISH ANGLE LENS to capture the narrow bathroom.

No one is going to get nailed on an NAR COE for their photos -- NO ONE! 

And if they do . . . SO WHAT!!  They're going to lose their license to practice real estate because they used a photo with snow on the ground, and it's July?!?  HA HA HA HA HA HA  Or, because the power lines were not visible in the photo the agent took? 

Are virtual tours "true pictures"  . . . all fish-eyed and distorted.  Some are SO BAD I get sea-sick. 

I take offense -- and I don't even take listings -- with a recent post: Photos are a little "deceiving" . . .

Define “deceiving”

As Seinfeld would say: It's a blog post about NOTHING!  Or, as Shakespeare would say: "Much Ado about Nothing." 

Here's the thing about "deceiving" . . . you have to prove INTENT and/or reliance.  Was it the intention of the listing agent, for example, to NOT want you to know something that you SHOULD KNOW?!?  

Go out and TOUR the freaking home!!  You don’t have to RELY on the photos . . . VIEW THE PROPERTY WITH YOUR OWN EYES!! 

OMIGOSH, the wide angle lens is deceiving?!? 

Maybe we should have a little "focus" on what is TRULY misleading, deceiving and harmful to the general public, customers, clients . . . even real estate agents.  There's so many other things to FOCUS on then photos in a listing. 

NON-DISCLOSURE and/or FAILURE TO DISCLOSE is a HUGE problemo, in my humble opinion and yet . . .

no one seems to disclose their agency relationship to consumers "at first substantive discourse" as we say in Oregon. [ Another topic, for another post, for another day.]

Yeah, we know -- most listing photos are crap-tac-u-lar!

And so . . .  whenever I start to work with clients, or consult with customers I tell them ALL about the photos they'll see . . . perhaps having already experienced themselves:

1.  MOST real estate agents ARE NOT Ansel Adams --

2.  Photos of the property are like personal ad photos-- they can be look very alluring

3.  Photos are ONE-DIMENSIONAL represetations of THREE-DIMENSIONAL structures

4.  Some properties are more PHOTOGENIC then others. 

S.  Some porperties look terrible and are NOT PHOTOGENIC -- but the home is LOVELY when toured.


Because I'm an Exclusive Buyers Agents . . . seeing countless listing photos, and going to look at countless properties on behalf of, or with, my clients . . . PHOTOS will NEVER, EVER take the place of a personal tour . . .

There can be attached floor-plans, or 3-D images, or virtual tours . . . GEEZ put a listing with smell 'o rama so we can get a whiff of the doggie . . . but unless there's some kind of magic teleporter that will beam me and/or my clients into the freaking LIVING ROOM to get all FIVE SENSES INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS . . . 

My happy take . . . I call it Job Security!

The day that I order  a hamburger and it ACTUALLY IS PRESENTED TO ME . . . EXACTLY like the photo that's displayed on the menu . . . .that'll be the day I say lisitng agents are violating the NAR COE's . . . 

DISC LAIMER -- I LOVE big Macs . . . but COME ON  . . . food NEVER comes out  as good as the advertisements present.  Isn't that "false advertising"?!?  HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.  I'm  NOT picking on Mickey D. 

Posted by

Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results


Representing Buyers in the Portland Metro Real Estate Market | Clackamas Multnomah and Washington Counties | Since 1999

Carla Muss-Jacobs, REALTOR®, ABR, CEBA, ePro
Principal Broker/Owner

Direct: 503-810-7192 | |

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100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% of the Time

Isn't it time you had your own Exclusive Buyers Agent?


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Beverly of Bev & Bob Meaux
Keller Williams Suburban Realty - West Orange, NJ
Where Buying & Selling Works

This is very well-written and great to read first thing in the morning.


I must say, though, what would you think would happen if we didn't have a Code of Ethics? LOL!

I agree about the angles of the photos, but when someone starts to Photoshop things out of a property, hum...


Enjoy the day!

Mar 01, 2011 12:17 AM #234
SentriLock Blogger
SentriLock, LLC - Cincinnati, OH

Great post. You could apply a similar argument to issues in many aspects of life. Some things just aren't worth getting upset over!

Mar 01, 2011 01:46 AM #235
Tony Barker
Premiere Home Realty - Tony Barker 832-867-0835 - Houston, TX


Well said post.   The phrase is "keeping it real".  I think you nailed it.  I will go back to read your other posts.  Ethics can be so thinly spread we to not worry about the big stuff and fret the unimportant items. 

By the way, I never preview homes.  I allow the buyer to see it all in their criteria to assure they chose what is right for them and not my choices.

I hope this helps!

Tony Barker, Broker, Trainer, Mentor

Premiere Home Realty Inc, Cypress Texas and surrounding Houston METRO area in Texas.

832-867-0835  /

Mar 01, 2011 03:02 AM #236
Anne Richards
Short Sale Buyers and Negotiators - Los Angeles, CA

Haha!  Carla:

A great, very colorfully written post.  You are right on the money about trivia!!  It would be great if more realtors were worried about the REAL violations of ethics that go on everyday:

1) Listing agents who refuse to submit certain offers to their clients, because they have a prejudice against some aspect of the offer.

2) Listing agents who try to discourage me from being present when my offer is presented.

3) Listing agents who hang up on my agent (Buyer's agent) because they don't like some aspect of my offer.

4) Listing agents who withhold information from their clients (see #2-4).

5) Agents who allow a property to go to foreclosure rather than "allow" a cash investor like me to buy it.

I could go on, but I don't want to ruin the great energy on your post!


I am a short sale investor who buys short sale properties and ensures that the Listing Agent gets their 3%, and that the sale closes.  And my office takes the burden of the time and paperwork of processing the short sale OFF the shoulders of the agent.

see Art of the Short Sale at



Mar 01, 2011 07:16 AM #237
Cathy Sarmento
Granite Real Estate "Cool Team" - Auburn, CA

Wow, I could only read a fraction of the comments, but you sure generated a ton of them.  That is the mark of a truly great blog!!!  Keep it up, I think I will subscribe so I don't miss your next one.

Also thank you for the words I was able to add to my vocablulary.


Mar 01, 2011 09:54 AM #238
Julia St. Marie

Right... all in all .... Pictures may not be a true picture.....

So what's the beef?

Thanks for your post....Julia at Realty ONE - Las Vegas

Mar 01, 2011 11:58 AM #239
Jack Lindberg

I'm sooo with you.  I was one of the early buyer's agents... meaning I got a contract signed EVERY time and took the time to explain agency immediately (this was in the early '90's).  I fact, I used to collect a $1000 retainer with each signed contract.  I'm not sure if you can do that now (check with your broker and state licensing laws) but I could then (at least my Uncle the County Judge and my broker thought it was fine then).  

I'm amazed at how many agents STILL don't get just a contract signed.  I usually ask them "Would you take a listing without a listing agreement?"  It really shouldn't be allowed...

Mar 01, 2011 01:31 PM #240
Fred Cope
Reliant Realty in Nashville, TN - Nashville, TN
Looking For Homes With A Smile

Carla, Great teaching tactic--humor.  You do it well.  I agree with those who recognize that there are more serious issues than photos; and I believe that is part of your point.  It is amazing how people get caught up in the minusia and ignore the obvious.

Are not photos "picture words"?  How many times have we heard/read about the spacious kitchen, only to arrive and find a space so small that (as my aunt often said), "you couldn't cuss a cat without getting fur in your mouth."

What about "needs a little TLC"?  What it really needed was a little DEMO!

My favorites are descriptions realty agents use to promote themselves as expert in all things real estate; or possessing the energy of the EverReady bunny, the wisdom of Solomon, and the marketing wizardry of a top Madison Avenue Advertising Agency.  Then you sit down to review their purchase offer, and find more blanks than on a Hollywood Movie Set after the gun fight at the OK Corral.  Do you ever think that some think  COE stands for "Code of Ethnics", and certain they did the "ethnical right thing."

Unfortunately, we have a few characters out there.  Fortunately, it is ONLY A FEW: most make a genuine effort to know and follow the Code of Ethics.

Love your posts!

Mar 01, 2011 02:37 PM #241
Eugene Adan
Adan Properties, Carlsbad, CA (760) 720-9710 - Carlsbad, CA
Carlsbad Real Estate


Ansel Adams would blush at my house photos.  All are NAR compliant. 

Striking the same chord you did, absolutely go and see for yourself!

Mar 01, 2011 05:15 PM #242
Eugene Lew
RE/MAX equity group - Happy Valley, OR

Doesn't matter what the photo looks like. People go to look at the property when they see the photo. They don't buy the home without seeing it, and if they do, they are taking a great risk. Enhanced photos are nothing new. You take pics to show the appealing aspects of a product. When a buyer looks at it, they are under no obligation, so therefore have lost nothing.

Mar 01, 2011 08:08 PM #244
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

What's funny to me about your post is two things;

1. I just recently inspected a home where the picture of the home on the sheet listing all the improvements was not the same house. It was a drawing of a very similar home. At the time I thought this was in some way a big deal. Your point here makes me see that it really was not.

2. My wife is always saying the food they show in the photos or on TV looks nothing like what you get. I'm going to have her reads this :)

As an inspector I see deception in how information on the home can be conveniently omitted from disclosures. This I find especially true when the home has been previously inspected. Sometimes more than once. This fits the definition of deception as it is willful intent to deceive.

Mar 02, 2011 01:24 AM #245
Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker (503) 810-7192 | Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% of the Time - Portland, OR
Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results

Hi James . . . if the deception is willful, and with intent . . . absolutely bad!!   The post that sparked me to write this was about how fish lens photos, or wide angle pics aren't deceiptive by their use.  Buyers need to perform their due diligence too.  And shouldn't rely solely on the lisitng photos, or anything else the listing agent or owner states, or writes.  They must verify these things.  The other point I was trying to make is that there are a lot more "filet o' fish" to fry (to quote Tni) then calling COE on a wide angle photo in the listing.

Mar 02, 2011 05:37 AM #246
Kathy Schowe
California Lifestyle Realty - La Quinta, CA
La Quinta, California 760-333-8886

Awesome post Carla-- no wonder you have gotten so many, many comments.  Seeing is believing.

Thanks for joining my 365 Things to do in the Palm Springs Area on Facebook-- hope you are coming down for a visit soon!  Kathy

Mar 02, 2011 04:54 PM #247
Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker (503) 810-7192 | Portland Metro Exclusive Buyers Agent | 100% Buyer Representation ~ 100% of the Time - Portland, OR
Buyer Focused ~ Buyer Results

I would LOVE to visit Palms Spring and take advantage of your wonderful 365 things to do . . . maybe I could do 2?  LOL

Mar 02, 2011 05:28 PM #248
Kathleen Koulouris
Re/Max Associates - Sewell, NJ

Even though you  have gotten many comments, I feel as though I have to say, you are so right.

Why would any agent want to show any non flattering photos of a listing.

Take your client out and show them the homes.

You will be suprised many times.

Even if the photos are true to life, the home may have an unpleasant odor or homes nearby which are not like the one for sale.

Mar 04, 2011 12:36 AM #249
Keller Williams Select Realtors-Buy a home in Washington DC. Sell a home in Washington DC - Bowie, MD
I don't make promises.I deliver results.SOLD HOMES

Looks can be deceiving. Guess that's why you can't always believe every picture you see. Congratulations on the Featured. Great Post.

Mar 06, 2011 04:43 PM #250
Dennis & Terri Neal
RE/MAX, Big Bear - Big Bear Lake, CA
Your Home Sold in 45 Days or We Se

Great points in your post...but I can't help feeling Hungry after reading it.

Mar 13, 2011 09:35 AM #252
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Los Angeles CA

I just took a test for Code of Ethics.

When i was done, I was not sure about few answers, so i decided to google them.....well, i got someone's blog with all questions and answers. One realtor/CA/ posted his test results in his blog.......Ethical?????!!!!!!! lol

Sep 19, 2012 06:14 PM #253
Junita Poydras

I appreciate you sharing this article post. Great.

May 19, 2015 04:06 PM #254
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Carla, I just came across this post again. It is still in my Top Ten ever AR posts. Thanks again!

May 21, 2015 04:37 PM #256
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