Love the Furniture in That Real Estate Listing Photo? It’s Probably AI

published Nov 20, 2023
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Just kidding, it’s not that intense. But AI is playing a role in some pretty successful real estate listings lately, and in a way you may not have expected. Real estate pros are using it to upgrade the photos in a listing so they’re either more appealing or packed with lovely staging elements.

To be fair, this isn’t entirely a new phenomenon. The company roOomy has offered virtual 3D staging using AI and augmented reality since before AI even became a major thing. Amy Nease, Global Advisor at Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, has been using roOomy for quite some time to alter roomscapes.

“[It] has become an internal part of my marketing plan from minimal paint and furniture changes to complete renovation of homes including homes post-Hurricane Ian with known damage,” Nease says. “I have also worked with roOomy when working with buyers. Whether listing a home or working with a buyer, roOomy has given me the opportunity to truly help a buyer envision what they can do with a property to make it home.”

Aside from fixing up paint and swapping or adding furniture, Nicole Beauchamp, a broker also with Sotheby’s International Realty, uses AI to tweak the sky outside (“making skies brighter if the day was particularly dark or droll,” she says) or updating a rendered space to make it look more like a finished renovation.

It is possible to go a little overboard, though. “You do not want to alter something to the point where it is not an accurate representation of the property being presented,” Beauchamp says.

Angel Lee, Director of Marketing Production at Coldwell Banker Warburg, agrees. She uses AI to add decorative elements to walls and counters, to declutter photos, and to update cellphone snaps into something higher quality.

“However, there is potential for over-editing, and unrealistic results can be a drawback of using AI photo editing tools,” Lee says. “While AI can deliver impressive outcomes when it works as intended, it’s essential to acknowledge that it’s not infallible and can sometimes produce unexpected or undesirable effects. Striking the right balance between automated AI enhancements and human judgment is key to achieving the best results in photo editing.”

That all being said, none of the pros interviewed for this story have ever had pushback from clients about using AI in listing photos. And there’s probably a good reason for that. Both Beauchamp and Nease are sure to add a disclosure or watermark showing that the image you’re looking at has been enhanced digitally. “I find that sellers love the creativity in the marketing,” Nease says. “Buyers appreciate the opportunity to envision the potential of the home.”