I saw a new listing today that is not waterfront, but the agent made the first picture a picture of a beach!? This is frustrating to me. I work very had to present our company listings with WYSIWYGpictures. WYSIWYG means What You See Is What You Get. It is pronounced wiz-ee-wig.
It seems to me that there are no "rules" for adding pictures to a listing. I consider this a form of bait and switch advertising. When I am showing listings to customers, I often have to say, "That property doesn't have A view - let alone That view." This often causes a look of dismay and sometimes the question, "Why would they put that picture in the listing then?"
False pictures in listings are contributing to the distrust that consumers have of real estate professionals. I have some customers who drove over an hour to look at multiple properties that had waterviews in the listing pictures. I cautioned them that the pictures were not true to life, but that we would have a better idea of waterview areas when they came to look. They came to town.
We looked, they were astonished, and now when I describe a new listing, I say, "The 'view' there is like the one at house X." They are also learning which agents and/or companies litter their listings with misleading pictures.
From the business owners perspective I know why they add the false pictures to their listings - to make the phone ring. But, I think that creating a false online impression of a property hurts the trust that we work so hard to win from consumers. It seems to me that some bait and switch law would be able to end this kind of practice, even if the integrity of the business itself can't. And I really dislike the idea of more regulation. Why can't professionals be professional without more regulation?