3318 Folsom Listing Photo
We don’t know if it’s another (failed) attempt to make a steep block look a little flatter, but we do know the exterior shot for 3318 Folsom likely isn’t doing the listing any favors, especially on a listing that notes: “Home has a lot of deferred maintenance…”
As the image would look after a simple rotation to adjust for the camera angle:
3318 Folsom Listing Photo Adjusted
But hey, it is just a listing for a half-million dollar home.
UPDATE: As a reader notes, our rotated photo has since replaced the listing agent’s.
∙ Listing: 3318 Folsom (3/2) 1,250 – $539,000 [MLS]
The Only Appropriate Headline: “What The Hell Were They Thinking?” [SocketSite]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by nanon

    wow, that’s worth 5% to 6% commission . . .

  2. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Considering that the buyer is likely to make some radical changes a floorplan and some photos of the back yard would really help. This is a nice location on Bernal. Unless there’s something severely wrong this should sell easily.
    It is interesting that SF listing photos either seem to be either done by a professional who brings a few thousand of lighting gear on site for a 2+ hour shoot or like this listing that looks like the agent snapped a few cellphone photos in 5 minutes. There’s rarely anything in between. Surely there are agents out there who can take their own good quality photos with a $200 compact camera and 20 minutes time. It is a mystifying gap.

  3. Posted by civworkr

    So, I’m guessing from the way this is written that the original picture, unrotated, is the one that appeared on the MLS, because now it is rotated, and it really looks like they just stole the SS pic.
    [Editor’s Note: That’s correct.]

  4. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    ^^^ haha, sure enough. The listing agent copied the photo that the editor twisted upright here. They didn’t even bother to trim off the white wedge shaped regions. I think that this is a SocketSite first.
    What does the ed. charge for photo rotation services :-)

  5. Posted by Mole Man

    Amusing, but this might actually be appropriate for the context. The agent is potentially getting a commission for moving the property, not being an artistic photographer. Is there good evidence that picture quality helps moves fixers in Bernal? Any serious buyer is going to glance at photos and check it out themselves if interesting. If quality in everything mattered most then we wouldn’t be up to our armpits in cheap junk from Asia.

  6. Posted by lyqwyd

    @Mole Man, while I agree that taking a decent photo is probably not going to make a difference in selling the property, it’s an indication of a lazy agent. It wouldn’t have taken much effort to take a decent photo in the first place, or rotate it and crop it. If they take shortcuts for such simple tasks, what shortcuts will they take when it gets complicated?
    Also, if I were looking to buy or sell a house, and I saw the agent doing stuff like this, I would absolutely avoid them. Any smart agent knows a listing is also an opportunity to show the quality of their work to potential future customers.

  7. Posted by [anon.ed]

    Easy with “stole,” there.

  8. Posted by SLOPPY

    I’d certainly fire any agent that puts up a photograph like this, what sloppiness.
    1. Make sure the verticals appear vertical.
    2. Remove the trash cans and
    3. Adjust Brightness / contrast of the image before sharing it with the world.
    They seem to do all of the above for their own mug shots, so why not for the house [they’re] attempting to sell?

  9. Posted by tipster

    ^They remove the trash cans from their mug shots?
    I think the photo was appropriate for the market. Contractors don’t care about any of this stuff.

  10. Posted by @@radar

    “If quality in everything mattered most then we wouldn’t be up to our armpits in cheap junk from Asia.” wow, not even sure what to say about that.
    Also– who would argue to defend the photos because photos don’t sell the property. For 5% – 6% commission, if you can’t take five minutes to take even reasonable amateur photos, what does that say about how much “work” you are going to do. I would willing to bet that 90% of kids in 8th grade could shoot better photos and do a better job presenting this property.
    And separately, fluj– why easy with “stole?” If they lifted the corrected photos from SS without even trimming the edges, what would you call it? or am I missing something?

  11. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “Contractors don’t care about any of this stuff.”
    I’m not so sure that the market for this place is limited to contractors. Unless there’s a severe flaw it could appeal for a homeowner willing to incrementally and/or minimally renovate.

  12. Posted by [anon.ed]

    And separately, [anon.ed]– why easy with “stole?” If they lifted the corrected photos from SS without even trimming the edges, what would you call it? or am I missing something?
    Well, where does SS get a lot of its photo content? From appropriated mls photos. Look at the SFARMLS watermark in the lower right of the Market st one. Shoe, meet other foot.

  13. Posted by lol

    Agreed on the junk from Asia stuff. Wifey has run through 3 pairs of rubber boots in 2 years. 3 price segments, all made in China. All gone to the landfill. Those boots were NOT made for walking. Same thing for can openers, cheap bikes, garden hoses, etc, etc… Now I have a business proposition: send back all the broken stuff back into the (mostly empty) containers that go back West.
    And get a refund because all of this is not how the US used to conduct business: we used to produce goods that would go to the landfill still in perfectly working condition!
    Not sure about the “stole” part as well. If the editor had gone there to take his own pic he’s have slapped a (S)socketsite.com as usual and that would have been a different story. Love the epilogue on the story though. Classic.

  14. Posted by A.T.

    SS’s re-posting of photos from MLS listings is clearly fair use under the copyright act. You can call it “stealing” but that would be wrong as there is nothing illegal about it. The realtor’s use of the SS photo on a listing is probably not fair use (although that is not perfectly clear since SS just rotated the realtor’s photo).

  15. Posted by sanfrantim

    I think [anon.ed] won that round. And, for the record, rotating and then publishing someone else’s photograph does not make it yours.

  16. Posted by lol

    About trash cans. A small anecdote: the city will ticket you if you leave trash cans in plain sight all week. You can build a small structure to hide them, but if you cannot (like I think that might be the case here), then you’re out of luck. If you put them in a basement the DBI will require sprinklers to be installed, leaving you with the last option: put them in your backyard.
    I don’t know why they still have trash cans outside for this house. Maybe the city is giving them a break.

  17. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    If this were my house I’d build a little shed for the trash cans in front of the electrical meter and telephone Jbox, concealing three blights at once. The little shed might not be the greatest addition to the house but beats the ugly meters and trash bins. As for the gas meter: paint it the same color as the house.
    I see trash cans in front of houses frequently. It is probably a low enforcement priority.

  18. Posted by lol

    My street got hit with warning notices a while back. They tell you you have x months to comply.

  19. Posted by [anon.ed]

    SS’s re-posting of photos from MLS listings is clearly fair use under the copyright act. You can call it “stealing” but that would be wrong as there is nothing illegal about it. The realtor’s use of the SS photo on a listing is probably not fair use (although that is not perfectly clear since SS just rotated the realtor’s photo).

    Ha. Pretzel logic from a real pro. It’s perfectly clear who took the photo, guy. You can rotate your own photo, or not rotate your own photo. Is it perfectly clear that the agent read SS and then decided to rotate the photo? What, rotating a photo a certain way makes it yours all of a sudden? Get out of here.

  20. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    anon.ed – I think that the issue is journalism vs. marketing. Journalists are given more leeway in re-using photos.
    I was just kidding about how much the editor charges for photo rotating services. Clearly the original photo as well as the rotated version (regardless of who did the rotation, this isn’t R.Mutt at work after all :-) belongs to whoever took the original photo. I just think it is funny that the photo made a round trip back to the MLS.
    (there’s a funny phenomenon on blogs where photo manipulation is discussed. Someone never heard of before will post a terrible raw photo asking “Do you have any suggestions to improve this?”. Inevitably a bunch of photoshop junkies jump on it and post their improved variants which the original poster takes and is never heard of again. I call it LazyShop.)

  21. Posted by Brian

    Good luck getting permits to build those “sheds” in the front of the house…

  22. Posted by Ugh

    RE agents think buyers are stupid and blind. Never met one that I’ve liked. I prefer Al Bundy.

  23. Posted by [anon.ed]

    @ MOD, I know you were kidding. AT wasn’t. He was being argumentative for no reason.

  24. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Permits? Who said anything about permits? I’d just make a free standing half shell or little U-shaped fence bolted to the concrete slab and hope no unreasonable busybody reports the change. At worst case a neighbor calls code enforcement and for the cost of a half days work and $50 in lumber you’ve learned something about your block.

  25. Posted by A.T.

    flujie, flujie, you threw out the notion that the SS ed. has stolen something and I just properly schooled you on the subject. I actually know a lot about this (copyright damages is one of my specialties). The best you could come up with is characteristic bluster that adds nothing.
    Don’t worry, I’ll keep on schooling you. And I won’t even charge you! Maybe you’ll man up and admit your errors one of these days.

  26. Posted by [anon.ed]

    I said watch it with “stole,” and that is what I said. You went on and on after that. This was particularly rich, “(although that is not perfectly clear since SS just rotated the realtor’s photo).” Real instructive stuff, there. LOL.

  27. Posted by A.T.

    flujie, I’m bored, so I’ll give you a little more free schoolin’. Under section 101 of the copyright act, a derivative work (i.e. entitled to its own copyright protection) results when one takes a pre-existing work and it is “recast, transformed, or adapted.” Now, did SS’s rotating the photo recast, transform, or adapt it? Not a simple question. I think it probably did under these circumstances, but as I noted in the parenthetical a mere rotation may not qualify and reasonable minds could differ on it.

  28. Posted by [anon.ed]

    I’ve read that language before and the idea that the same photo, rotated, is something new is pretty doggone silly. But again, I didn’t introduce “stole.” civworkr @ 9:14 did, and the editor concurred. I said take it easy with that. So why don’t you stop talking at me constantly, dude? You either dredge a goofy condo off redfin, go off on some tangent like tipster, or wax pedantic like you are here. Any which way it bores me to tears.

  29. Posted by A.T.

    OK, my apologies. I did not realize you were just pretending not to understand with your snarky comments. Your lack of comprehension seemed genuine, but I’ll read between the lines more closely next time.

  30. Posted by sanfrantim

    To clarify on this issue of copyright law, the owner of a work (here a photograph) has the exclusive right to create derivative works. Section 106. If another creates a derivative work without permission, that constitutes infringement. Here, rotating a picture is most assuredly not a derivative work. But, it is a copy, though most certainly protected under the fair use exception to copyright infringement. Section 107. So, SS is on very familiar, safe grounds.
    It certainly is not an infringement for the owner of a photograph to re-use his own photo that has been rotated by another. Fair use does not even enter into it because the original photographer owns it.
    It is an interesting question whether an owner or realtor (or any other) could use another’s photo of the owner’s home for advertising purposes. Without investigating the matter, I would say probably not. But that is not what happened here.

  31. Posted by A.T.

    Your clarification is not quite right, sanfrantim. It is true that the owner of a copyright also generally has the exclusive right to create derivative works. But if, as here, the use and “derivation” are fair use, then the creator of the derivative works owns the rights in that derivation (although not in the original). Rotating the photo here may very well be a derivative work (reasonable minds can differ). So it is not certain at all that the owner of the original work has free reign to use the derivative work. Maybe so, maybe not. Like I said earlier, SS certainly did not “steal” anything because of fair use principles. The realtor may have.

  32. Posted by hangemhi

    i’m with fluj on this one since this started with a commenter accusing the agent of stealing from SS “it really looks like they just stole the SS pic” and then the editor said “that’s correct”.
    i don’t know copyright law, but good luck winning the legal argument that the agent is “stealing” back their own photo.
    as for SS stealing the photo – which i haven’t seen anyone say – i don’t see the new SFARMLS watermark on any of the above photos – and i thought all new MLS photos have that now. so where’s the watermark if these are MLS photos????

  33. Posted by sfrenegade

    “It is an interesting question whether an owner or realtor (or any other) could use another’s photo of the owner’s home for advertising purposes. ”
    It has happened before. Sometimes people will put an old picture of their house, particularly if it’s “historic”, in with all the current pictures.

  34. Posted by Average Joe

    I agree with MOD from the 24th, that — assuming there aren’t serious structural issues — this property is exactly what a lot of incoming buyers look for when hoping to “buy into” the SF market: a nicely situated basic home that needs lots of TLC. Anecdotal evidence shows plenty of buyers in that pool; after all, District 10 sales dominated the mix during the crash as buyers could find more to work with there.
    What baffles me, as others have mentioned, is how little effort many agents who work this market space put into their listings. Clearly, there’s less to be earned per sale, but something seems to be amiss. Maybe I really don’t understand how agent incomes are structured, because 3% of a 1/2 million dollar home sale is $15,000. One of those every couple months is a darn solid income, right? And if I only need produce one sale every 60 days, then I should have plenty of time to take decent photos — even if I’m only doing this as a part-time job. I know people on this board are generally very critical of agents, but am I overlooking something key to how this career field works?

  35. Posted by [anon.ed]

    I don’t get it either. Why not pay the $200 or whatever to get a good photographer.

  36. Posted by sfrenegade

    Maybe I really don’t understand how agent incomes are structured, because 3% of a 1/2 million dollar home sale is $15,000. One of those every couple months is a darn solid income, right? And if I only need produce one sale every 60 days, then I should have plenty of time to take decent photos — even if I’m only doing this as a part-time job. I know people on this board are generally very critical of agents, but am I overlooking something key to how this career field works?
    As a rule of thumb, most agents will tell you that they pay half of their commission to the broker. So figure 5% in SF is typically split for buyer and seller, so if you get 2.5% and have to give 1.25% to the broker, it’s more like $6250.
    What I know less about is how the realtor market works in places with much cheaper housing. If you live in places where houses are $150K-250K, are there just a lot fewer realtors because there are fewer dollars to go around? Cost of living also tends to be cheaper, of course, so you don’t need to make an SF salary, but I’m sure there’s a balance here.
    From experience, realtors in cheaper areas also seem to do fewer services, for example, they use lockboxes more often than would be typical in SF. I’m assuming they generally hustle more too because you have to make up the dollars in volume, even if you’re splitting 3% instead of 2.5%.

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