Real estate agency's 'shameless' edit on property listing highlights common problem

The images show fake grass where construction is underway.

Photos of properties advertised online are not always as they seem and Aussies are noticing a rise in "fake" or "misleading" images of homes being shared by real estate agents — with those sick of the digitally altered images calling them out on social media.

One "shameless" image shows a newly built, $670 per week rental in Leneva, in northern Victoria sitting on what looks to be fake grass — with any sign of a driveway leading up to the garage removed. "Beautiful driveway," a person shared sarcastically on Sunday alongside the image in a property Reddit thread.

Photos in the online listing also show the inside of the home looking out onto the front yard. One image clearly shows the outside is still under construction, with trucks, dirt and fluoro temporary fencing surrounding the home instead of bright green grass.

Image of the house in Leneva appearing to be edited and shared by the real estate agent.
The rental ad notes the grass is 'drawn in' though viewers are still unimpressed. Source:

Aussies label editing 'shameless'

The rental property's listing confirms the "grass has been drawn in" while "landscaping is completed", however, people have shared how unimpressed they are with the editing.

"Taking the real out of real estate," one responded. "There should be a law against doctoring photos," a second said. "They’re just shameless," a third added.

Left is an image of a room inside the home looking out at the brown lawn. Right image of the backyard looking at the back of the house.
You can see the real outside of the house through the window in another image shared by the real estate agent. Source:

Other examples of property image alteration

Not an isolated incident, another "misleading" image was shared on the same forum on Saturday showing a home in Tullamarine, Victoria for sale with a price guide of between $780,000 and $820,000. Images of the edited photo look starkly different to those of the real property and have left hundreds in shock.

Last month, images of a Sydney apartment showing a Photoshopped sunset overlooking the balcony and a bizarrely small outdoor lounge set edited into the scene sent onlookers into a flurry

Image of the Tullamarine property side by side. Left is the real estate image and right is the real one.
The Tullamarine property images shared by the real estate agent appear very different to real life photos. Source:

Despite the backlash, the real estate agent for the Sydney listing, who Yahoo News decided not to name, defended the practice by claiming "everyone does it" and said it was necessary given the property is being sold unfurnished.

"It's called digital styling... it helps it look more appealing," the agent told Yahoo News.

What are the rules?

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), it is illegal for real estate agents to mislead consumers, regardless of whether it is deliberate or not.

Consumer Affairs Victoria, who is now investigating rental properties that have been inaccurately depicted in online listings, states real estate agents should not use photos that give the wrong impression of a property. This includes those that are digitally or otherwise enhanced to hide undesirable features or promote other features.

In NSW, like across the country, it is the responsibility of the agent to ensure images used in real estate advertising are not misleading. NSW Far Trading states a representation can be taken to be false or misleading if it "leads to a reasonable belief in the existence of a state of affairs that does not in fact exist".

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