Pictures placed online of a home for sale seem to be online forever.
Thus anyone can peer into your home and see how things are arranged.
Is this an invasion of privacy? and an excellent opportunity for thieves to gain too much information?
Can anything be done to take down pictures of a home once it is sold?
Pictures placed online of a home for sale seem to be online forever.
We’ve similar observations. Voyeurs delight.
We’ve purchased and sold several properties where there have been online photo displays and walkthrough movies. 5+ years back.
If it’s concerning privacy, would the greater intrusion be of the privacy of the seller?
Do the details revealed by the agents pics reveal any critical details, and if so can those be relied upon. A new owner may have repaired locks, changed security features that the pics will not reveal.
How likely is it that your home is going to be targeted for a detailed and planned break in, “Mission Improbable” style? Unlikely to be Tom Cruise, roast lamb dinners not considered.
I don’t have an answer. It may be useful to consider.
The pics taken and published are part of the contract between the seller and agent. Assuming it’s a concern for a purchaser, will the best solution come from the solicitor the purchaser engages to assist with the offer and contract to purchase. The assumption is that a suitable clause would need to be agreed with the seller before signing anything! Further this assumes the seller has not previously given away that right unconditionally when listing. A suspicion is the fine print in the agency and marketing agreement has this well covered.
I’m interested if there is a better answer and whether the latest listing/market agreements offer a solution.
I must be missing something here. It can’t be an ‘invasion of privacy’ since you must have consented to the photos (or video or drone footage etc) being taken for the purpose of selling the property. And I assume you also ‘invite’ people into the property to view as part of the same process.
Yes people can see how “you arrange your things” but so does everyone who visits the open days. But showing people where to put furniture also helps the sale rather than a empty room. You can always remove the personal stuff and in fact that is often advised so that people can imagine their own knick-knacks scattered about.
And yes the images do seem to linger for years after the sale but so what? You are no longer there, the people you sold to do not have their things on show in the premises (unless they also sell), so any nefarious planning for future activities based on the sales images would be useless. Any such activity is best done in person where you can case out the hidden security cameras, window and door locks, alternative entry points, assess the amount of exposure to neighbours etc. Real estate images don’t give you that information.
What bugs me far more is the length of time the “for sale/sold”, “for leased/leased” signs are left in place.
Listings persist for years under “Sold” on platforms like RealEstate com.au for people to compare historical sales to present offerings. But in our case, the agent sold his business, and the new owner went broke shortly thereafter, causing all listings to be removed. I really wanted to get a copy of the pictures, but they were gone before we took up residence.
On other platforms which extract data/mirror Realestate.com.au or Domain.com.au, information including sale price, photos and description will be there for years, if not forever. These other websites include property.com.au, propertyvalue.com.au, auhouseprices.com, onthehouse.com.au etc. Like anything on the internet, it in theory will be there forever and if one is uncomfortable with things being made public, don’t place it there in the first place.
If you are buying a property, one can’t control what previous vendors do to sell their property. If you are selling, you can ask fir it to be unlisted or not advertised online. Most agents advise against this as it can affect ability to find the ‘best’ buyer. This is particularly the case today as most search the internet for properties of interest and are less likely to visit an agent’s office to see what listings they have.
When we bought our house, we contacted the agent straight away and said if they didn’t remove the sold sign immediately we’d dump it. They came and removed it the next day.
Same with me. Except I told the selling agent that once settlement had occured that the wooden part of the sign on my property would be used to have a christening fire in the fireplace and the metal sign part they could pick up if they wanted it.
The sign was gone same day.
Thanks for comments. In this instance I am the buyer of the property and not the seller.
Since this place is my home and I live in it, I believe that pictures of the interior, at the very least, should be taken down or have an automatic self-destruction date. What is inside my external walls is my business and no one else’s. All other related property data can float around the internet for ever.
Well I guess you could ask whoever put the information onto the web site to delete it.
The seller or more likely seller’s agent have moved on, and may not care if the pictures remain. If it takes time, effort, or money, then why would they bother.
You could ask the web site owner to delete the pictures. But they now own in perpetuity that data. They may agree to delete, or not. The pictures were the sellers property, not yours at the time.
The world of the Internet has its upsides and downsides.
Maybe one day it will become a standard part of the contract of sale that all online information used for the selling process be confirmed to be removed at settlement.
What happens if you are the buyer and have not given consent? It is still your home that is on display, all be it with different contents.
If you can find photos of your home on the internet, even on alternate sites listed by @phb, click on the photos, and then right click & select save photo. They may be lower resolution than those originally taken, but at least you will have a version of the images you wanted.
At the time consent was given, was the buyer in a position to do so? Evidently not.
We can’t go back in time. As much as it may seem unfair, unless one as a buyer makes it a condition of sale, it seems unlikely to be undone. Even then the previously granted right to use and publication may have been given unconditionally. It leaves no room for the seller to offer an alternate outcome to a prospective buyer.
Does it need legislation to undo what has been common practice for more than a decade? An unlikely prospect given the significance of the RE lobby.
Why does it matter? Of all the reasons that may be given to maintain privacy of your home I don’t see that secrecy over the structure, layout, decoration or fittings of a house can be maintained or that it is reasonable to expect it.
Should the previous owners or any previous visitor or person who inspected the house be sworn to secrecy when the new owner takes over? What about if those prospective buyers all took their own photos? Should it be an offence to reveal that the second bedroom is monkey-bum pink or that there is a stain in the downstairs toilet pedestal where there was a leak a few years ago? Privacy is to do with people and their actions not things or places where people once lived.
Once the agent has put up images of the place (with the then owner’s consent) then they are public and it is absurd to imagine that somehow they can be sucked back into the camera and become non public.
Personally, I don’t care; but I can understand that some may feel a sense of violation from complete strangers getting inside their home, virtually, and impinge on their perceived privacy.
I can understand how it be perceived to conflict with the ‘my home is my castle’ mindset.
Any vaguely competent thief can work out the layout of the house from the outside. The valuables which are portable, the stuff those thieves want, that may be visible in such images are not there any more. The new owner may change the purpose and content of rooms so such images may be completely misleading. The new owner and their actions that may deserve privacy are not in these images. The walls and the halls and the bolted on artefacts have no right to privacy.
That bill would require all those who walked through out of curiosity or who had some intent to buy to surrender the pictures that they took as well. Of course that vaguely competent thief would have copied the layout from the real estate web site before it was taken down so they would have to be hunted down to get it back.
I can see a whole new branch of law enforcement being set up to deal with this problem. Under the user-pays principle a levy on the purchaser, the beneficiary of the scheme, would be required. Fairness requires them to have to right to opt out and save the levy. How many would discover that it really doesn’t matter so much?
There is much more serious debate required on this topic that I had imagined.
Apologies to anyone who took the full comment as support for change.
It’s relevant in the context of ‘the right to be forgotten’ assuming, the content is personal. Where as individuals the line between personal and public is drawn varies. Is the colour and decorating style I used for the lounge room something I would share publicly in a post or pic? It’s a shade of pale sky blue and I don’t particularly like it. Perhaps popular in the 20’s/30’s or …?
The alternate view point already expressed well by others is the marketing pics show what is inside those walls, including the property of the seller at that time. It’s not likely the same under the new owner? Unless perhaps if one is purchasing the home and contents for the included style and furnishings. Some such purchasers may see the shared images as reflective of their personality, and happy to share.
We’re all different in what defines our personal comfort zone.
It would seem a small ask to have the marketing material removed from online publication after sale. However as others have suggested it is unlikely to remove all sources of the content.
The challenge remains the benefits real or imaginary to the industry in building more detailed data bases of individual properties. Whether for sale or not. Whether available to the public for free or within the industry fee for service.
Have a relative on single pension, renting a small unit, refusing to allow the Agent to take any photos during inspections. She has been assured only the Agent and (selected photos only) the owner get to see them, but continued to refuse. Has caused difficulty with describing repairs and condition. Refused to allow tradesmen to photograph the stove, air-con etc. as the easiest way to identify the make/model, parts required etc. She’s convinced someone will see them and break in to steal her worthless gear. So the rent went up as she refused access for tradesmen.
The owner sold, but as all 6 units are the same, he had photos of one on the website and site photos which included the exterior of hers. He now wants access to upgrade her air-con and repair stove, replace carpet etc. You can push privacy too far, where even the owner isn’t allowed to look.