August 3rd, 2016
Lisa in Texas asked the following:
An interesting dilemma came across by desk today and I thought perhaps you might have some advice. I work for a real estate team who recently got a new sale listing. The home owners ended their listing agreement with their previous agent prior to hiring us. The previous agent had paid to have the home staged. We were hired, sent our photographer out to take photos a couple of days later, and they’ve been on the MLS for over 30 days. Now the previous listing agent says that we cannot keep the photographs on the MLS because the staging was done by her. The stager did not remove the furniture in the home until a week after we received the signed listing agreement.
Are we liable to pay for the staging? To reshoot new photos at the house? She’s asking us to remove the photos ASAP and to pay her $150 to use the photographs we paid to have taken because of the furnishing in the home. I’m at a loss of what to do here.
If I took the pictures down, then I would have to pay my photographer another $150 to take new photos. Should this be between the previous agent and our mutual client? Please help.
First of all, this is not legal advice. It’s my opinion and the opinion of my wife who is a long time listing agent.
My first impression is that this is not an issue between the old listing agent and the new listing agent. It’s an issue between the old listing agent and the homeowner. The homeowner should have gotten the stager’s furniture out before they signed a new listing agreement.
I consulted my wife who is a 30-year listing agent to get her opinion and she agrees. It is standard practice once you sign a listing agreement to immediately have the property photographed and put it on the MLS. If there is some circumstance, like some previous staging, it’s up to the homeowner to let the new listing agent know that photographing and listing on the MLS should be delayed. How is the new listing agent to know staging from any other furniture?
I think you should tell the previous listing agent to go work it out with the homeowner and if the homeowner wants the home rephotographed they should pay for it. The fact that the previous listing agent’s staging was still in place when you had the property photographed is not your problem. There’s no reason to take your listing photos off the MLS. You photographed the property with the permission of the owners.