Feature Release Date: July 12th, 2022.
The new Private Photos feature gives listing agents the ability to mark all photos (except the primary photo) as Private. A Private (or "MLS Only") photo is not to be displayed on public portals and IDX websites once the listing changes to an Off-Market status (Pending, Sold, Expired, Held, Canceled and Sold Off-MLS).
The first photo of a listing cannot be marked as Private, but any and all other photos can be marked at any time, even while the listing is in the On-Market statuses. Setting a photo to Private does not affect display inside the MLS system. This strikes a balance between the needs of the Participants and Subscribers (the membership) with those of the new home buyer and resident.
How Do I Use Private Photos?
Check out this helpful 4 minute video for a complete review of the image editor, including how to mark your photos as Private.
What's Affected? What's Not?
Places where Private Photos will still be visible:
- Everywhere while the Listing Status is Active or Active Contingent (Private only affects Off-Market listings).
- The first photo on your listing cannot be made Private - there must always be at least one publicly viewable photo for every listing in the system.
- Broker Back Office tools (applications you obtain through your Brokerage or Company).*
- Virtual Office Website (VOW) product vendors.*
- Inside the MLS partner systems of the NORCAL MLS ALLIANCE.
Places where Private Photos will NOT be visible on Off-Market listings:
- MLS Client Portals (through Rapattoni MLS).
- Public "IDX" listing page links generated from the MLS system.
- Public Portals, or Portal-like sites (Realtor.com, Homes.com, Zillow, Redfin).
- IDX Sites that display off-market information (IDX Broker Inc, Real Estate Webmasters, Constellation Web Services).
* As a general rule, if a site requires that a consumer establish the Client-Agency relationship, and includes
functionality to let an Agent to share data with their client using a password protected, secure, interface, it
will be permitted to display the Private Photos in non-public areas of the site or application.
Feature Implementation Deadline: We will be granting vendors an open implementation period where we work with them to achieve compliance with the new Private Photo functionality. Our goal at the MLS is to achieve full compliance no later than September 30, 2022.
We encourage members to check common portals where they know their listings have been displayed and to let us know if you encounter any public facing websites, IDX sites, or portals that continue to display the Private Photos after your listing transitions to an Off-Market status where you have marked some of the photos as Private.
Retroactive Changes to Photos
If you have a listing that is already in a closed status, where you cannot edit the photos that were already on your listing, you may contact us via email with a request to have the photos marked "Private" for you. The support request must include the MLS#, the address, and you must be either the Listing Agent, Listing Co-Agent, or the Responsible Member for your company. We are only capable of doing this with listings that have closed since January 1st, 2022.
What About Deleting?
The practice of deleting photos from listings prior to close will fall under sections of our MLS rules regarding misrepresentation of data in the MLS system. Listing data that was pertinent to the list and sale of the property should not be removed from the MLS system.
More importantly, listing photos are a valuable historical data resource for you, and the entire real estate practitioner community. Deleting photos from the MLS harms members by interfering with their ability to perform efficient and accurate valuations and does not guarantee listing photos will be removed from public websites. By flagging specific photos that the buyer wants to not be visible on public websites, a listing agent is able to address the buyer’s privacy concerns without damaging the listing for valuation purposes.
Helpful Video Training Links
For questions about the Private Photos feature of the MLS, please reach out to the MLS Support Team by clicking "New Support Ticket" at the top of this page to start a new ticket.