I would like to take photos/video of the properties I visit so I can remember them later. Am I allowed to take photos in someone else’s home?
In today’s market, potential buyers can view and visit dozens of listed properties and open houses before setting their sights on a place they’d like to call home. With so many properties available, taking photos to document the ins and outs of a property can help in recalling specific details later.
Before taking photos in someone else’s home, you should always extend the courtesy of speaking with your real estate representative regarding any rules, permissions or restrictions the homeowner may have put in place. For instance, homeowners my express a preference that no photos be taken in children’s bedrooms or master suites. The listing representative will be able to pass along whatever permissions and/or restrictions were requested by their client.
It is important to remember that when potential buyers are permitted to take photos, they are intended for personal reference only. Photo permission does not imply permission to share images publicly, online or otherwise.
There are a few things you should consider when taking photos in someone’s home.
- A simple rule is to ask before you click. Always ask prior to taking photos or video inside a listed home.
- Avoid capturing personal or confidential information about the homeowners; this includes such things as portraits, certificates on display or identifying artwork.
- Do not take photos or video of contents within cupboards and drawers. This also goes for any personal property.
- Remember you are in someone’s home, so be sure to respect their property – and their privacy.
If you are a seller and are preparing your home for an open house, share any concerns regarding photos or video recordings with your listing representative or broker. Doing so will give them the opportunity to include your wishes in marketing material and communication with buyers’ representatives in advance of open houses and scheduled visits.
In addition to working with your representative regarding photos, it is always wise to take a few precautions when preparing your home for outside guests. I recommend placing valuables, financial information, passports and sensitive documents in a safe or other secure place, limiting identifying information and taking inventory of photos displayed in your home during showings.
As I have advised in previous columns, it is your home: you have the final say regarding what is and what is not permitted in it. If you object to photos being taken in your home, let your representative or broker know early so that they can communicate your preferences effectively.
If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.