When Another Agent Steals Your Pictures and Lists The House at a Lower Price

Jay Cooke's picture
Real estate photos

Last Spring I took a listing owned by a friend of a friend. The house was in the next town over where I've done a lot of business over the years. The problem as presented? It was a sixties front-to-back split that while having had updates in 50 years of ownership needed everything or to be torn down. The location was superb, the grounds just beautiful but the house - "not so much."

The elderly owner had bought something else and was moving in several months. I suggested we wait to list until that point but he wanted buyers to see the property in the Spring. It was listed higher than I wanted but I figured we'd adjust quickly. I hired a great photographer who took wonderful shots. On the web the property looked amazing and house better than I hoped especially in in-door pool. Almost everyone who saw the home came because of the pool shots.

Well, you know the next part. We had little action even after lowering the price to where it should have been. The inventory was simply too large and the house needed too much work. In his mind the problem of course was that I wasn't a "local" agent, at least according to his friends. While this may have had some truth in the past, the business has changed with the internet.

He redid floors and painted but never really acknowledged the current market or the home preferences of today's consumer. Open houses for the agents and public just didn't do it. We had some repeat showings but no one wanted that house needing that amount of work anywhere near that price. I suggested he hire one of his local agents when it expired.

He did in fact hire a "local" and called me before it was listed. Could I supply a list of agents who had shown or toured the house? The new agent wanted to see why it hadn't sold - she hadn't bothered seeing it while it was active. I sent over the list.

Later that evening checking the hot sheet, I saw that the house was back on the market at a lower price. The agent had loaded 4 pictures, 3 of which were mine. She has copied them, cropped off the MLS logo and reposted the fuzzy result. I was stunned. I immediately notified the MLS of the violation, documenting this theft.

On my way out the door in the next morning I got an email stating that the agent had been appraised of the complaint. Five minutes later she called. "Did I mind if she used my photos?". I said "This is the call you should have made yesterday. Take them down immediately."

As I write, a few new ones are up. Definitely not the type that will compel a viewer to look further. And no pictures of the pool!

Memo to self - great pictures help sell the house, but they don't change the wrong list price.

Jay Cooke, Real Estate Agent / Greenwich, CT
Coldwell Banker Previews International
Office 2036221100 Ext. 420
Mobile (203) 253-2920

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