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Buyer Beware: Hollywood Special Effects Now Permeate Property Listings


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The left side of this image is unchanged, while the right side has been edited.

The low price and ease of use of image-editing software is allowing home sellers to make virtual changes to their online listings.

Credit: BoxBrownie.com

Computer-generated imagery traditionally reserved for Hollywood has now become so cheap and easy to use that home sellers are digitally removing walls, hiding ugly paneling, and even adding swimming pools to online listings.

In addition, most home searches begin online, and deals are often reached without in-person showings, especially among investors who are putting photos through their own algorithms to price properties.

The technology allows sellers to make brown lawns look green, and stage rooms with virtual furniture.

However, these techniques could result in buyer disappointment when they arrive for in-person showings, or lead to miscalculations in renovation budgets.

The ease and extent to which images can be altered has agents and the organizations that monitor real estate listings wondering how to create guidelines for the technology.

From The Wall Street Journal
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