Agent denies claims photos of south Sydney property were digitally edited to hide eyesore

Mel Buttigieg

Sydney homebuyers felt "swindled" after turning up to an open inspection to find a large water tower flanking the property for sale that was not shown in the online photographs.

The water tower visible behind the Penhurst property. Picture: Google

During an open inspection in Sydney’s south at the weekend, Molly Smith and her husband were shocked to discover the tower’s proximity to the 31A Penshurst Avenue property in Penshurst, Australian Women’s Weekly reports.

The couple accused listing agent Ray White Rockdale of deception, claiming the water tower was edited from its marketing materials. However the company denied digitally manipulating the images.

The water tower is no where in sight. Picture: Ray White

“We’ve been looking for a place for almost a year now, and have encountered all manner of tactics that real estate agents and auctioneers use in order to manipulate people into spending exorbitant amounts of money on properties," Mrs Smith said.

“Everyone does something - but usually it's tidying up the place or hiring stunt furniture or getting it landscaped at the last minute. I feel like this is really underhanded deceptive behaviour and I don't think it reflects well on the business.”

An aerial image shows the water tower's proximity to the advertised property. Picture: Google

Ray White spokeswoman Lisa Pennell said the photos were taken by a former agency, used at the homeowner’s request.

She said they had not been digitally altered but taken at a different angle.

The facade image in question has since been removed from the Ray White listing, however there is no sign of the water tower in the backyard shot either.

An image of the backyard does not clearly show the nearby water tank. Picture: Ray White

An advertisement for the same property, when it was previously on the market through Elders real estate, does not feature any photographs of the water tower either.

“They may not have taken the photos but it's pretty easy to see that it absolutely does not reflect the state of the property and the estate agents are bound by the rules of Fair Trading to not act in a false or misleading manner. Overall, I felt swindled,” Mrs Smith said.

The renovated three-bedroom home, marketed as "the most affordable home in the St George area", is slated for auction on February 25.

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