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Listing Photos: Follow these Rules to Make a Great Impression

It’s no secret that photos greatly enhance the value of a listing to buyers and other agents. Often, the decision to set up a showing is dependent on the photos a potential buyer first sees when house hunting.

May 17, 2023

When adding photos to your listing it’s important to make that great first impression—while also following NorthstarMLS rules and regulations. Here are three considerations to remember:

  1. Timeline by which photos must be added. Upload a property photo within two business days of entering a listing on NorthstarMLS. This requirement applies for all property types except Lots and Land and properties listed with a status of “Under Construction.”

  2. Ideally, a photo will be added at the time of the entry of the listing, but NorthstarMLS Rules allow two business days in the event that is not possible.

  3. Syndication. All property photos will syndicate to websites when “Yes” is selected for Display Listing on Internet, this includes when the property is sold.

  4. Listing photo rules. When adding photos to your listings, make sure they comply with these NorthstarMLS rules:

  • No text (regardless of message) is allowed. Instead, use photo captions for messages and photo descriptions.

  • Don’t use someone else’s listing photos. Unless you have permission from the listing agent/broker, don’t copy the listing photos for your own use.

  • Photos must not be digitally altered. Altering or “photoshopping” photos to the point they no longer accurately reflect the property is not permitted. While virtual staging is acceptable, the photo alterations can only affect the personal property (e.g., furniture) and not the real estate. See more details about virtual staging here.

  • No promotional materials are allowed in photos. No broker/agent/builder signs, banners, marketing or any other type of promotional materials can appear in listing photos.

  • Photos/videos of listed property should not include people or pets. An exception is made for lifestyle photos/videos when shot from an overhead view. In this instance no person should be identifiable, and pets may appear within the view. However, wildlife, harvested game, equine and farm animal photos are permitted.

These policies and best practices help deliver the consistent and reliable experience your buyers and sellers expect when viewing listing information on NorthstarMLS and ultimately make your real estate business successful.

Wondering if it’s right?

The NorthstarMLS Rules + Regulations team is here to help! We’ve compiled great information addressing important compliance topics including Photos, MLS Field Requirements, Virtual Tours, General Rule Policies, Rules Statistics and more! Check them out today at our Rules + Regulations Site or contact us.

By Mandy Boldt

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