VIDEO Policy: No Humans or Pets

The MLS Board updated our photo policy to prohibit any listing images (photos or videos) from containing people or pets in the MLS. The intent is to make sure the images focus solely on the home’s features. Most recently there was a community video that depicted the current makeup of the residents of a “private, hidden community” as this video stated, without very diverse representation. While the photo/video might accurately portray the community makeup today and was intended only to show a vibrant neighborhood life, it could be seen as a preference or exclusiveness to those watching the video because of a certain race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. While rarely the intent, federal fair housing laws specifically address the use of humans in marketing and the negative impact it can have. You never want a potential buyer to see your marketing of a home and think, I don’t think I would be welcome there. If you focus your marketing on the home and property attributes and not the people that live there, you can easily avoid this unwanted affect.

Vocab Lesson: ‘Implicit bias’ refers to beliefs or views we hold unconsciously, often without even realizing it. These biases can influence our thoughts, actions and decisions, even when we believe we are being fair and impartial. Many would see a community video with a lot of neighbor interaction and think, how lovely! But if none of the people looked like you or your household, your perception would be very different. In seeking to combat discrimination, it’s helpful for everyone to take just a little time to try to see things from other people’s perspectives. Everyone is human, but we all are shaped by our past and our experiences and only do we grow when we examine them! Quick, picture a nurse. Did you picture women? Ah, implicit bias at play, without intention, malice or awareness. But when you start to raise your awareness, inclusivity grows.

Please note: as far as the “pets” portion of this policy, livestock, horses, chicken coop or outdoor wildlife is allowable.