Should Listing Photos Be Removed After the Sale?

August 20, 2018

Some home buyers express concern that photos of their properties continue to live on real estate websites after they’ve closed on the purchase, and they’re asking real estate professionals to help take them down, citing privacy and security issues. In a column in Chicago’s Pioneer Press, a buyer named “Deborah” wrote about her efforts to get the listing photos of her home removed after she bought it. Deborah says the seller’s agent refused her immediate request, saying other real estate companies like to see the photos and use them as comparables and for appraisals.
 

Concept of device showing listing photos

© pbombaert - Moment/Getty Images

But Deborah was concerned that the interior of her home was still viewable. In the column, she calls for the industry to launch a new provision for home buyers so that they can opt out of keeping listing photos online indefinitely—similar to a “Do Not Call” list.

Generally, secondary photos of sold properties can be “suppressed” from an MLS’s data feed to third parties at the listing agent or managing broker’s request. However, the primary listing photo—which most often is an exterior shot of the property—likely will remain available to view.

Lesley Muchow, deputy general counsel for the National Association of REALTORS®, says homeowners can request that third-party sites remove property photos that are still visible after closing. Homeowners also may want to ask their agent to intervene in getting photos suppressed from the MLS and its feeds.