SWMLS Rule Spotlight: Listing Photos

This Southwest Multiple Listing Service (SWMLS) Rule Spotlight focuses on section 1.20 of the SWMLS Rules and Regulations - The Listing Photos Rule.  Photos are required on residential listings in the MLS and will soon be required for vacant land listings, as well.

To get a better understanding of the Listing Photos Rule, take a look at the detailed summary below.

SWMLS Listing Photos Rule Summary

1. The SWMLS subscriber and/or participant shall load at least one digital image of each property listed in the MLS within seven (7) days of the list date, except where the seller(s) expressly directs that photographs of the property not appear in MLS compilations.

Residential, Land, and Residential Income listings are required to have a photo within 7 days of the initial listing of the property in the MLS.  This also applies to listings that are placed in Pending or Closed with 0 DOM.  The seller has the right to opt-out of adding photos to a listing.  If your client instructs you to not add photos to the listing, SWMLS asks that you notify us by sending an email to compliance@gaar.com.  Notifying SWMLS of your client's choice to opt-out of adding photos to the listing will help you to avoid violations and stay in compliance. 

2. Digital images submitted to SWMLS shall only contain photos pertinent to the property listed, such as floorplans of the listed property, renderings of the listed property, or plat maps.

This applies to ALL photos in the MLS.  Photos of nearby shopping centers or city parks are not considered pertinent to a property listing.

3. If the listed property has a dwelling, at least one image must be of the front of the dwelling.  This does not apply to “Proposed Construction” or “Under Construction” dwellings.

This is the heart of the SWMLS Listing Photos Rule.  Residential and Residential Income listings are required to have an image of the front of the dwelling.  This image does not have to be the primary photo of the listing.  

4. If the listed property is vacant land, at least one image must be a street view of the lot.  If the land is not accessible by roadway, the required image can also be a satellite image, or birds eye view, of the lot.

This rule will go into effect on October 26, 2014, which will require all new Vacant Land listings to include an image within 7 days of the initial listing of the lot in the MLS.  This rule will not apply to the existing Vacant Land listings currently for sale.

5. Digital images should not contain contact information such as names, phone numbers, email addresses, or website addresses, including the use of embedded, overlaid, or digitally stamped information, except for the listing Participant’s yard sign, provided that such yard sign may only be incidental to and a small portion of the digital image, and any contact information is not readable.

This means that all images included on a listing cannot contain marketing/branding information, such as names, phone numbers, and company logos.

6. Any photo submitted to SWMLS is subject to rejection based on the above criteria.

This means that SWMLS has the authority to remove digital images that are in violation of the Listing Photos Rule without the permission of the listing broker.  SWMLS will usually ask the listing broker to remove the photo.  In the event that we identify an image that is harmful or unethical, SWMLS will remove the image and notify the listing broker by email.