Normally I do not reference other Realtors’ blog posts on any of my blogs or sites, but this morning I read one worth calling out because it raises a good issue that home buyers and sellers often never consider: the ongoing exposure of sold listings’ information, videos and photos on the web will continue to be present long after the home sale is closed.
The post, by Norma Toering of ReMax Palos Verdes Realty, is entitled “Please remove my home from the internet” and can be found on the Active Rain website at the link provided above. This conscientious Realtor sold her listing and got it closed last week. Now the buyer, the new owner, wants all traces of the listing removed from the internet. Many people are private and may be uncomfortable with videos and pics of their home online (even if with the last owner’s consent, decor and furnishings). But it is nearly impossible to remove all online photos because they are syndicated or pushed to other sites where we agents have no control.
One commenter suggested that perhaps we need another disclosure so that buyers know and understand that what’s out there on the internet cannot be removed (and for that matter, that agents don’t want to spend many hours to remove them – a challenging task for which there is no compensation). Having photos on the web is part of marketing and once it’s done it simply cannot be undone (at least not fully and certainly not easily). I don’t think a new disclosure is a bad idea. Our purchase agreement forms or contracts inform buyers and sellers that there will be dissemination of information on the MLS regarding the sale status and later the closing price and terms. It wouldn’t hurt to also warn the parties that once images are disseminated on the internet, they are very likely to remain online a long, long time.