Aren't We Paranoid With Privacy?

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408

Bob Foster posted a blog entry Do You Mind If I Take a Few Pictures Inside Your Home, Without Your Consent?

It is about the consent to pictures, even if these are the pictures of the interiors of the properties for sale. In the ensued discussion, the overall tone is that we gotta be careful as we do not know who walks through these homes and how they are going to use the pictures on the Internet.

An interesting part of the discussion is that whether the home inspectors are allowed to take pictures without the expressed permission of the Seller.

And while there are some valid points, I can't get rid of the feeling that we are simply paranoid. I go to preview the homes and I tell the agent that I need to send the pictures to my clients BEFORE they decide to fly-in and look. I also routinely take pictures when we show multiple properties, as practically in 9 cases out of 10 Buyers get confused, and pictures help them to straighten things up.

And yes, there are pictures and many of them on Realtor.com, so why is the concern in the first place.

And by the way, we do know who walks through the house.

As for inspections, they come with a lot of pictures showing every defect, and this is the only way for the inspector to document his findings and the only way for the buyer to understand what the inspector is talking about.

Bob in the beginning stated that when he worked in education, they ended up with a policy of not having any pictures of children on the website. I understand where he is coming from.

The whole idea of having a site about a school and no children's photos there sounds ridiculous to me. Just think about the absurdity of the situation. And if you want to tell me that there may be some legal problems, then there is a bigger absurdity in the society.

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Rainmaker
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Kate Bourland
Marketing with Kate - Redding, CA
Onlilne Marketing Mobile Marketing

Jon, I haven't had a chance to read Bob's blog yet but I find your perspective interesting.  I think that as a society we are more paranoid.  I think that too much information and the ease of sharing information has bred that.  I'm afraid that this is a trend that will get worse, not better.

Apr 14, 2009 05:53 PM #1
Rainmaker
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Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Jon:  I know that much of what is often said about "privacy concerns" can really sound paranoid.  BUT... we live in a different age than we did forty or fifty years ago.  Case in point.  three days ago a friend asked me to lend him fifty dollars... which I did.  He gave me a check to cash... in three days (today) to get my fifty dollars back to me.  Well... just to be nice, I went to HIS bank... Bank of America... to cash it.  For the ease of doing so, and of course to make sure he had the money to cover it.

Well... all went fine... they had even counted out the fifty dollars.  They wrote down my name... my Texas DL number.  All still fine.  And then... they asked me for my thumb-print.  I must admit... I went more than a little nutz on them.  I refused.  I made some remark about "this is why I don't have an account at Bank of America."  They were just about as nasty as could be.  They gave me back my check, and out I went.  My thumb-print is private.  I don't care.  It was fifty dollars... not fifty thousand.  I don't know if this would qualify me as paranoid... but I DO have a privacy hot-button.  Grrr.  Now you have it... my two cents.  Take care... and thanks for sharing.  By the way... please do NOT try and be logical with me about this.  I just don't want to hear it !

Apr 14, 2009 06:14 PM #2
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Kate - I understand the sentiment and I am divided on this myself. It is sort of trying to gain privacy in a glass home when everyone can see you no matter what you do. When there is so much data on the net, there is very little privacy. So, the problem is with taking photos of the bookshelves or the kitchen? Hey, for a small fee I could get the owners naked photos, so what are we talking about?

Apr 14, 2009 06:44 PM #3
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Karen Anne - I won't. I go "nutz" (like this word) when I am buying a toothbrush and they need my phone number.

BTW, try getting paid back by cash next time. Old style, but lets you sleep better (LOL)

Apr 14, 2009 06:47 PM #4
Rainmaker
1,004,473
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Jon:  That's my next move.  My friend was trying to make it easy on me by giving me the check when I lent him the money.  I'll see him tomorrow... and everything will be fine. 

Yeah... buy a toothbrush... "uh... what's your phone number ?"  I just want to slap them !  Grrrr. 

I think the next time someone asks for private info I don't feel like giving... I will simply ask them for a piece of paper... then quietly and gently write... NOYFB on it... just the initials, not the words, and give it back to them.  Then... give them my sweet, crinkly old lady smile... and calmly walk out the door... LOL.  Take care...

Apr 14, 2009 07:05 PM #5
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Jesse & Kathy Clifton
Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS® - Fairbanks, AK
Retired

I don't see much of an issue with inspectors taking photo's of homes during a routine inspection... that's very much the norm here, although perhaps I should add a paragraph (or snippet) to our listing addendum's that speaks specifically to that.

As for taking photo's of homes for out of town clients, or clients viewing properties... I always ask, and rarely object when someone asks me.  I counsel sellers to remove everything of value from prying eyes anyway. Expensive antiques, jewelery, guns, etc. should, in my not so humble opinion, be moved out of the house when it goes up for sale.  Once it's been 'sterilized' to an extent, folks are welcome to take all the photo's they want... or for more practical matters, they're free to open cabinets, drawers, etc. and the sellers won't have to worry about an expensive bracelet walking off.

Apr 14, 2009 07:52 PM #6
Rainmaker
342,754
Elizabeth Bolton
RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA - Cambridge, MA
Cambridge MA Realtor

Hi Jon ~ Couldn't have said it better myself.  I think it's good form to ask the listing agent - if he or she is there - if it's ok to take pictures but aside from that don't have any concerns.  We're at a *very* odd place in terms of privacy nowadays - we voluntarily give up our privacy regularly - in the name of convenience, to save a dime or two, or for supposed security - and at the same time get bent out of shape over what to me are often far les invasive examples. 

Liz

Apr 14, 2009 11:05 PM #7
Rainmaker
409,241
Karen Monsour
Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach - Fort Lauderdale, FL
REALTOR, SSRS - Sells FL Waterfront, Short Sale Expert!

Jon,


Funny you write this post as I was thinking the same thing when you were taking all those pictures for our customer this weekend.  Not because you were taking them, just because of security issues if someone else - perhaps a customer did.

Great to meet you and your wife this weekend.

Karen

Apr 15, 2009 01:26 PM #8
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Jesse - I think this is a very good point about preparing the house for showing so that the Sellers remove certain things.

Just today I got a call from my out-of-state customer who wanted me to go and take photos of the condo and send it to her. And that's what I did. I called, told the agent that I need to take tons of pictures of every corner, plus to get the floor plan with dimensions plus the info.

I had a few times when agents told me "no photos". I wished them good luck and walked away. The funny part is that now you can even take photos with your phone camera, and it is not easy to detect. I sometimes do it when there is a decorative element in the restaurant, and I do not want to take out a camera and stare in someones direction, but the phone works fine.

 

Apr 15, 2009 07:21 PM #9
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Liz - you are right. Information is allover, and we do give it up for conveninece. You can Google anything now. Listing is an attempt to sell the property, and if people are looking for properties on the internet before getting the agent, you may want to have photos on the  internet and everywhere.

Apr 18, 2009 12:24 PM #10
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Karen - to tell you teh truth I did not even think that it could be a problem. Wrong assumption. I still think that it should not be.

There is an oceanfront condo project in Daytona. Given to market to a West Coast company. I had their information on my website. Their broker called me and asked me to remove it, which we did. 3 years later they are going to have an auction to sell off the first batch of their unsold units. They have not sold 47 out of 108. The auction is absolute, so it is quite possible that people would be able to buy for 30 cents on a dollar.

2 similar developments never had a problem with outside brokers and they have sold practically all their units for 70c on a dollar.

I think partially because they did not care that other people had the information about their development on their agent's websites.

Apr 18, 2009 12:31 PM #11
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