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Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

Even photo tours can give a decent idea of what's inside, layout, etc. (when done right).  For the most part, I think criminals are smart enough to know where to go in a house to find the most important stuff (master bathroom & bedroom) and those are typically in the rear of a home (at least out here).


For the types of crimes where a detail floorplan and significant planning are involved (abductions) the threat model of the seller may prevent the use of interior photos, virtual tours, matterports, etc.

Oct 19, 2020 12:00 PM
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

Not invasion of privacy unless you do not have permission. I feel it's a little paranoid about the security risk stuff.  All homes are sold this way & you wouldn't want to put your seller at a disadvantage would you?

Do da tour!

Oct 19, 2020 12:41 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Fred - I read your response to the answer by Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS, Broker, Instructor and can certainly understand the concern by a homeowner.  Does this homeowner really want to sell and if so, do they want a real estate professional who will do the best possible job in order to properly SELL the property?  That question is for them.  Their answer will determine your course of action.  

Oct 19, 2020 03:11 PM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

Discussing all forms of advertising is expected and getting permission to do the VT, along with drone and professional photos are effective ways to get the property sold.

Oct 19, 2020 12:59 PM
Lynnea Miller
Bend Premier Real Estate - Bend, OR
Premier Real Estate Service in Central Oregon

We produce Matterports all the time.  One of the best way to virtually do a walk-through and open house. Great tool - especially during Covid when people want to limit exposure within a home.

Oct 19, 2020 12:53 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Our MLS shares if there are virtual tours allowed. If so, the seller has explicitly allowed them. So, my answer would be, if you have the sellers' permission, you're fine. 

Oct 19, 2020 06:41 PM
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

Need written permission from home owner, then it's not an invasion of privacy. The rest is all true - it can be a security risk. It should be the seller's choice VT yes or no; helpful to buyers and to sell a house.

Oct 19, 2020 06:15 PM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

Of course, do the VT. If you are going to put up 40 or more photos of a vacant home, a VT will not give thieves any more incentive to practice their evil ways that those photos will.

Our job is to sell the house.

Seller can opt for no VT and only one exterior photo (in writing, of course) and wait and wonder why no one views or makes an offer on the house.

Option: bring in the staging professional to prepare the house for photography eliminating unnecessary personal property and showcasing the house at its best.

Oct 19, 2020 01:56 PM
Caroline Gerardo
Sun West Mortgage Corporation - Newport Beach, CA
C. G. Barbeau the Loan Lady nmls 324982

Assuming they price right and move in 60 days, they could move out as soon as goes in MLS if worried. They should remove all jewelry, medicines, expensive artwork or gadets from images and put them in storage.  Bad guys are out there and with many people unemployed today things we need to be aware, be kind, and be careful

Oct 19, 2020 01:48 PM
Ken Jones
Kenneth Jones Photography, Ltd. - Toms River, NJ
Real Estate Photographer & Videographer

Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate Your justified security concerns for video virtual tour of an occupied home are the exact same concerns I've had for years about public Open House events. They're an invitation for serious problems. And, I will not do them.

To answer your question as to whether or not I do virtual tours, I first explain the possible security risks to the seller, and if they still want the video done, I have them sign a Release and Hold Harmless. That usually gets their attention.

Oct 19, 2020 01:29 PM
Doug Dawes
Keller Williams Realty - Topsfield, MA - Georgetown, MA
Your Personal Realtor®

Well, indoor pictures basically do the same thing except move. I have had a couple of clients that would not allow inside pictures

Oct 19, 2020 01:09 PM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS CRB, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Fred bad guys will find whatever they are looking for whether we do virtual tours or no. We've been doing them for years an all has been well.  You can't sell a house if people can't take a look at it somehow.  Just saying.  Am I missing something here?

Oct 19, 2020 11:21 AM
Camilla Yearsley
Refined Real Estate - Ogden, UT
The Greatest Real Estate Agent Ever, in training

VTs are just tools, like any other tool they can be used the right or the wrong way. Personal items or staged personal items may actually deter a criminal that is just looking for empty homes that are easy to remove the copper plumbing from. The video can be edited in such a way that the layout isn't revealed but the rooms are. I just watched a tour where they cut to the host standing in a hallway, the host informed the viewer that they were in a secret tunnel but for security reasons they couldn't show how to get to it or where it lead to. Then they went on to say if the viewer wanted to know the list price is xxxx. Then cut back to the host standing outside by the swimming pool. If you get creative you can have security and still show off the features of the home. The buyer always has the option of making the offer conditional on seeing the layout of the home either in person or by a private showing of a full VT that covers the layout. That isn't your problem though if you only represent the seller, unless you and your client think that adding it to the ocntract yourself will help sell the home.  

Oct 21, 2020 02:05 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

You have great responses here, Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate 

I do not see how a VT is any more an invasion of privacy than 40-50 photos and most certainly an open house where anyone and everyone can walk through a home.  

May the professional opinions here bring you the backup you are looking for. 

Oct 20, 2020 08:19 AM
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

Many break ins are not that well planned, it is a theft of opportunity. I do have sellers that remove everything. I do have sellers that want certain things not shown, but most of them, do not have any restrictions

Oct 20, 2020 05:14 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Real food for thought. In today's world, there is a risk in everything you do. There is a risk of longer marketing if you don't and a security risk if you do. Time is money so choose wisely what is best for you.

Oct 20, 2020 04:37 AM
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

I've been putting virtual and photo tours on line for almost 20 years along with a copy of a floor plan... have never once had an issue. I'm more concerned about the strangers who walk through an open house. And my clients expect these for their listings... they like looking at them when they are searching for a home and assume others want to see the same for theirs.

Oct 20, 2020 03:34 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

If you are trying to sell your home then you do need to allow access, and the quicker it sells the less risk you will have of a break in.

Oct 19, 2020 05:44 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

The point cannot be ignored especially in todays climate. However, each property has its own uniqueness that may offset this. Fences, pets, neighbors and inaccesiblity as well as alarm systems. The day of awareness is upon us

Oct 19, 2020 01:33 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


On the Ultra high end with someone who is in the public eye, it is a bad idea.  We have a friend who is a character actor (people recognize him all the time), and when he sold his house, he did not want photos or VT....A

Oct 20, 2020 12:59 PM
Tony Lewis
RE/MAX of Valencia (Hall of Fame) 30 year Valencia Resident - Valencia, CA
Summit Real Estate Santa Clarita & OC Laguna Nigel

Absolutely not, as long as everyone involved has agreed to having it online.  Does that mean you can't be sued? No, people can sue for anything.

Oct 19, 2020 02:27 PM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

Many builders have floor plans online these days. Google street view, aerial view  photos, etc are also available to anyone. So outside the house, the owner is responible for their own security. Inside, many sellers don't want photos or videos online of their kids rooms, their pets, their kids, gun safes, etc. It's case by case. Remind sellers to put valuables in storage, or at a friends of relatives house. I think criminals mainly look for crimes of opportunity, and criminals can burglarize any house whether it's on the market or not.

Oct 21, 2020 03:45 AM
Don Baker
Lane Realty - Eatonton, GA

We only do it with permission.  My broker much prefers virtual showings instead where it's a vetting client looking around your home.  We have when that's not possible sent videos directly.  But only post them when we have permission.

Oct 20, 2020 02:12 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Fred- as expressed here, if the seller has given permission then I would think it is not an invasion of privacy. If they want their home some, they have to allow a buyer to see it. If security is an issue, there are electronics, etc that can be used as well as making sure that nothing of value is left out or at home. 

Oct 20, 2020 10:13 AM
Kris Collis, Associate Broker
Smart Way America Realty - East Stroudsburg, PA
Professional Results you Expect 570-801-5525

How many calls have you received from sellers after the sale requesting removal of all photos from all sites.  And you must remind them that public sites do not allow brokers that option and time to remove photos was before listing was closed out.  But it just occurred to them after the fact.   Some sellers do not think thru the possible repercussions despite your advice until family, friend or tech tells them to take them down.  We have that discussion upfront to avoid concerns after close. 

Once the tour and photos are up they become a permanent addition to the web, some sites allow sellers to "create an account" which they really don't wan to do to remove them.

Oct 19, 2020 08:25 PM
L. Taylor, Realtor
Fathom Realty, LLC - Jupiter, FL
Real estate agent serving Florida area's

I think it's your clients personal choice.  Give them the option and have them sign a hold harmless waiver.  As agents it is an easy way for us to get the sellers to remove personal items like family pictures and more without offending them.  Whatever the choice have fun doing what you do.

Oct 22, 2020 01:26 PM