How to Remove Listing Photos of Your Home from the Internet (And Why You Might Want To)
Picture this: You’ve just closed on your new home, and while you’re excitedly unpacking your boxes, stocking your new fridge, and giving your nearest and dearest your new address, you realize that even though you’re officially the new homeowner, the ghost of the old owner is still haunting the internet.
Even after you’ve signed on the dotted line, exchanged keys, and started moving your stuff into your new home, the original listing photos will remain online. Depending on how you feel about having strangers accessing a virtual tour of your home, you may want to have those pictures taken down ASAP.
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The photos exist online, thanks to the MLS.
According to Anthony Garland, CEO of AGG Realty Group, your home’s photos end up online, thanks to the Multiple Listing Service. “The MLS is a database used by real estate agents and brokers to share information (like photos, floor plans, and more) about properties that are for sale or lease,” he says, adding that the MLS shares that information with most of the popular online real estate sites like Zillow, Redfin, and others.
You’ll need to contact the listing agent for removal.
So how do you get the photos taken down? “To do this, you will need to contact the seller’s agent who you purchased the house from,” he explains. “If you feel uncomfortable or have trouble contacting them directly, reach out to your agent and let them know you want to remove the photos from the MLS.” Garland says that not only is the process fairly simple, but once you get the ball rolling it’s also incredibly fast. Once you’ve removed the photos from the MLS, Garland explains they’ll essentially be scrubbed from the internet.
You can also take matters into your own hands.
If you want to avoid having to do this on your next home, Garland says you can actually put it into your sales agreement. “You can ask for the photos to be removed in your contract, so that once you close on your new home the seller’s agent will take the photos off the MLS,” he says.
If it’s too late for that, you can do some of the legwork on your own. “You can also create an account on online real estate sites, claim your home, and remove the photos yourself,” he continues.
Here’s why you should consider having them taken down.
Garland says that some people may want these old photos removed for privacy reasons. “Others may want the photos removed for security purposes,” he continues. “Imagine if anyone on the internet could look up your address and get pictures of the inside of your home along with a layout describing every room. Creepy!”
But there are benefits to keeping them up, too.
It’s not all bad news though. Garland explains that there are some instances when having access to your home’s old photos can be beneficial, like when you’re looking for before-and-after photos to show off the work you’ve done. “Leaving the old photos up could also help with selling or renting your home if you ever decide to in the future.”