Can I, as a potential buyer, take photos or videos of a house for sale?
The short answer is no, unless you have received permission from the owner, either directly or through their agent.
In a time when everyone has a cell phone camera, it can be tempting to take photos and videos when house hunting. This can be especially useful if you have seen a number of properties and want to know which features were present in which home.
Also, if you find a property you really like, you might want to share photos or videos with family and friends to get a second or third opinion, or maybe capture areas you’d like to renovate. to share them with an entrepreneur.
Regardless of the scenario, I encourage you to check with your agent. They usually have access to many photos of listed homes, and some may even have detailed video tours which have become increasingly common since the pandemic began.
If there’s anything you’d like to capture as a photo or video, ask your agent to get permission from the seller first.
The listing agent will let you know if you get approval from the owners to take photos, and also if there are any restrictions you should be aware of. For example, the owner may not want to take photos or videos of their children’s rooms, or of certain household contents and belongings.
Some additional things to consider:
- When viewing a property for sale, remember that it is someone else’s home. Use discretion and respect their home and privacy.
- Avoid capturing personal or identifying information about owners. This includes things like framed family photos and certificates displayed on walls and tables.
- Do not take photos or videos of the contents of cupboards and drawers, or any personal effects.
If you get permission to take photos, please remember that they are for your personal reference only and should not be shared on social media or any other public platform.
If you’re on the other side selling a property, I suggest you communicate clearly with your agent about any privacy preferences or concerns about buyers taking photos or videos. This way, the agent will be able to put your instructions in writing in all advertisements and marketing materials for the home, as well as notify agents of potential buyers ahead of scheduled open houses and viewings.
You can also take proactive security measures when preparing your home for visits. I recommend placing valuables like cash and jewelry, and any documents containing private information like passports, bills, investments, taxes, and health records, in a safe or a locked cabinet. Although an agent must be present during viewings (unless you give specific instructions that they are not required) and potential buyers are generally advised not to enter any personal information even if they are allowed to take photos, you will minimize your risk by taking these steps.
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