Virtually Staged Photos allowed in the MLS

Virtually staged photos were approved for the MLS by the MLS Board of Directors on 4/17/17. 

Virtual Staging is defined as using a photo editing software to create a photo or conceptual rendering of what the interior room(s) and/or interior of the property could look like if it was staged or lived in. 

A virtually staged photo in the MLS:

  • must state in a clear and reasonably sized font on the image the phrase “Virtually Staged”
  • may only be used for the interior of an existing structure
  • must appear adjacent (before or after) the un-staged photo of the same room/area
  • cannot be used for Build-to-Suit or Under Construction properties

Permitted Uses of Virtual Staging in the MLS:

  • Modifying photo(s)/rendering(s) to include personal property items not conveyed with the real property is permitted. Permitted personal property modifications include, but are not limited to:
  • applying digital photos of furniture, mirrors, artwork, plants, etc. into a photo of a room.
  • Removing existing furniture from a photo and replacing it with digital images of furniture, mirrors, artwork, plants, etc.
  • Appliances that are virtually staged must be clearly identified as such in the property description.

Prohibited Uses of Virtual Staging in the Service:

  • No photos of the exterior of the property shall be virtually staged.
  • No permanent fixtures of the interior shall be removed, altered or added.
  • Modifying photo(s)/rendering(s) to include visual elements not within a property owners control is strictly prohibited. (Example: Editing in a view of Lake Erie, and or popular landmarks that are not physically possible from the specified location in the real world.)
  • Modifying photo(s)/rendering(s) to exclude negative visual elements is strictly prohibited. (Example: Holes in the wall, exposed wiring, damaged flooring, etc.)
  • No branding is permitted. Except as otherwise permitted, the use of people or persons and/or words on any property photograph submitted to the Service is strictly prohibited.

Penalty
Failure to comply with Virtual Staging Rules and Regulation shall result in the Virtually Staged photos being removed from the service and shall be assigned as a Tier One Fine which receive a warning prior to assessment. (Warning, $100, $200, $500) and reset on January 1 each year.