Virtual Staging Traps for the (Legally) Unwary

[Editor’s Note: The views expressed here are solely those of Ross Kaplan, and do not represent Edina Realty, Berkshire Hathaway, or any other entity referenced. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney.]

If you’re a prospective home Seller, and your listing agent is using virtual photography to show a fireplace with a fire in it, one of the following had better be true:

One. The fireplace shown in the picture is in working order; or

Two. The Seller’s disclosure explicitly informs prospective Buyers that the fireplace is NOT in working order . . . and the Buyer acknowledges that in writing.

Of the two options, I like #1 better . . . . 🙂

P.S.: At least in Minnesota, the Seller could also elect to waive their disclosure altogether.

But, that still leaves some legal ambiguity about whether the Buyer could have reasonably relied on the virtually staged photo showing the fireplace in working condition.

See also, “Getting the (Virtual) Staging Details Right“; “Virtual Staging Success Story“; “THAT Went Fast: 5737 Oliver Ave. South Sells in 2 Days(!) in Multiple Offers“; “Create Your Dream Home on Fern Hill’s Glenhurst Ave“; “Virtual Staging — Take 2“; “Virtual Staging, Installment #4“; and “Unmatched Potential.”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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