Watch out for home buying scams

Watch out for home buying scams

(WWBT/WXIX) - You can do just about anything online, including shopping for a new home.

But experts warn that the photos you see may be digitally altered.

A new report in the Wall Street Journal finds digital photo manipulation - or so called “virtual staging” is now widespread - likely because it’s much cheaper than real renovations or home staging.

Using this software, sellers can spruce up an empty house, adding in virtual furniture and accessories, without having the pay the cost of actual home staging.

The Wall Street Journal found that some sellers and agents are digitally altering photos to swap out paint colors, change the flooring, erase power lines or busy roads, and even add or remove walls.

How is that legal? Realtors and sellers are supposed to disclose that they’ve manipulated those images in the listing and they aren’t supposed to use this software to cover up things like water stains or other flaws.

This is a big deal because, according to a Redfin survey, 1 in 5 houses is purchased without the buyer ever seeing it in person.

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