Why Comp Photos?


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Why Comp Photos?
by Richard Hagar, SRA

Many appraisers can’t understand why they are required to inspect the exterior and take personal photographs of the comparables (1004 form). This list should be familiar:
• I spend hours driving by the comparables.
• I had to drive down a private gravel road.
• There was a gate preventing me from…
• The new property owner threatened me, etc.

To justify not driving by comparables, appraisers come up with all sorts of rhetorical questions and excuses.
• What am I going to learn by driving by a comparable?
• Why can’t I use photographs that I obtained from Google Maps?
• Why can’t I use the photograph I took of the comparable two months ago?
• How can I make any money if I spend time driving by the comparables?
• MLS photographs best represent the house when it sold.

All of us “feel the pain” associated with the task which I grouse about when driving by each of the comparables, just like you, and it’s one of the issues we talk about in almost every live class I teach (Photograph and Inspection Requirements).

First, don’t even think about not doing it! To begin with, it’s required. Inspecting the exterior of every comparable isn’t a USPAP requirement, by the way, it is a Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), and Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) requirement. However, FNMA’s requirement goes directly to the heart of USPAP’s “scope of work” rule. USPAP defines scope of work, in part, as: the type and extent of research and analyses. The scope of work section of the 1004 appraisal states “The appraiser must, at a minimum: (3) inspect each of the comparables sales from at least the street.” So, when an appraiser agrees to an assignment and its required scope of work, they have agreed to personally inspect the exterior of each sales comparable used in the appraisal. There is no way around this; an appraiser can’t contradict the certification requirement by inserting a qualification within the appraisal. In other words, it’s your job; you are being paid to personally inspect each sales comparable—so do it!

Signing a certification but not following through with the actions outlined in the certification is misleading and considered fraudulent. Almost every state licensing board has sanctioned appraisers for failing to inspect the comparables. In California at least one or two appraisers a month are sanctioned for this failure. I’m also aware of several criminal charges filed against appraisers for this issue. Appraisers must do what they certify they have done or face the ugly side of a fraud charge.

This from the findings in a criminal case:

“While it’s possible that Mr. Williams personally inspected the comparables [….] there was no evidence in the appraiser’s job files that [he] personally inspected any of the properties identified in Counts Two through Five of the Amended Complaint.”

“Original photos are required for the subject and all of the comparable sales. The photos taken by the appraiser are considered to be evidence of compliance with the appraiser’s scope of work. MLS photos may be included as additional photos; however, they are not to be used as the primary photo.”

Texas was explaining that the agreed upon scope of work requires the appraiser to inspect and photograph each comparable (the minimum requirement). The appraiser can always provide more than the minimum, including MLS photos.

Why Personal, Original Photographs?
First, an origin story. Way back when, the VA required appraisers to personally inspect each of the comparables so that they could make a more informed comparison between the subject and a comparable. When the VA figured out that some appraisers weren’t viewing the comparables, they came up with a “new” requirement; the appraiser must attach a photograph of the subject and comparables to each appraisal (stapled to the report). The VA used photographs as a confirmation of the appraiser’s viewing. So, if you’re upset with the photograph requirement today, blame less than thorough appraisers in the past and the VA’s need for confirmation.



Why not MLS Photos?
I hear this a lot: “I used an MLS photograph because they best represent a property at the time it sold.” If you believe this, you are not paying attention. An MLS photograph represents the property when it was listed. When a sale closes the listing agent doesn’t run back out to a property and take a final photograph for posterity’s sake. A property’s condition can change between list and sale date. I learned this when one of my inspections revealed that the house had burned down between the list and sale dates. Ends up the buyer was going to tear the house down, so the fire just made things easier. The original listing photograph remained in the MLS; nobody ever inserted a photograph of the burned out house. When subsequent appraisers used the MLS listing photograph in their appraisals, they were supplying fraudulent and misleading information to their clients about the comparable property and its condition.

Agents…embellish the truth? Please tell me it isn’t so! The MLS is an advertising system, a way to deliver sales information to other agents and appraisers. In most areas, agents can take classes on how to stage homes and alter photographs to make homes look better than they are (welcome to Photoshop). Weekly I see MLS photos that make a house look pristine only to find, after driving by, that it is really a house of horrors.

What about Google Photos?
What about Google photos? You mean the photographs that might have been taken three plus years ago? How does that represent the house when it sold or today, six months later? What if you can’t see everything? Here’s an example, look up this address: 5962 Mud Hen Lake Rd., Makinen, MN. Quick—how many buildings are on this site? Bet you can’t figure it out from the high-altitude aerial photos. Go ahead and look at the property using the 3D feature. Oh that’s right, there isn’t one for most of the United States (outside city limits). Is that a comp roof or metal? What’s the condition of the paint or landscaping? What kind of dock is that? Is it permanent or movable? Bet the aerial photograph is too fuzzy to figure anything out about the property and this isn’t unusual.

Copyright Protected
One other point regarding MLS or Google photographs…they are copyright protected. It’s against federal law to use their photographs without written permission (and your MLS membership isn’t permission). If you use copyrighted photographs then sell the report to a third-party, you are making money off the copyright holder’s work. I’m surprised an underworked attorney hasn’t recognized this and sued some unlucky appraiser for the violation.

Why Can’t I Reuse a Photograph I Took Two Months Ago?
Why can’t you reuse photos from a previous assignment? Because it’s not a current/original photograph and most lenders have a specific requirement in their engagement letters for current and original photographs. Fannie Mae’s new whizbang Collateral Underwriter system has been processing around 20,000 appraisals a day. Let’s assume they have exterior photos of the subject and only three comparables (20,000 x 4); that’s 80,000 exterior photos entered into their system every day, and 80,000 x 280 days of operation a year = 22,400,000 per year. That’s a whole lot of photographs! They don’t need more dated photographs; they obviously have those. They want CURRENT photos—today, now, cutting edge. Why? Who cares why; this is their required scope of work (my guess is that they track how the condition of a house changes over time and crosschecking to see which appraisers have identical photographs of a house).

As the chief appraiser for a regional bank in Washington state told me: “For Pete’s sake, appraisers should just do their job and provide the photographs we require.” And by the way, that bank and FNMA both can compare appraiser photographs against the MLS. If there’s a match, the federal law requires them to turn appraisers into the state board for disciplinary action.

What Am I Going to Learn Looking at This Property Again?
The best example why it’s important to always take current photos happened to me when I first started appraising. The first time I used a particular sale as a comparable 30 days after it closed, the house was vacant. Hmm, that’s a little odd I thought. Now 60 days later I drive by the comparable again to take another photograph for a new assignment. This time I notice a new for sale sign with a photograph of the new home that will be built on the site. OMG, what I thought was a great house comparable wasn’t—it was a land sale; the existing house, in C3 condition, was going to be torn down; it had no value. By driving by again, and maybe again, you might learn something about the property that you didn’t learn the first time. Maybe it’s being torn down, maybe it’s being remodeled or a second floor added. Maybe on this drive-by you learn there’s a motorcycle gang living next door and they love late-night get-togethers at the clubhouse which might explain why this comp sold for so little. Bet you didn’t learn that from the MLS photo.

Job Security
Ever wonder why there’s a move to bifurcate the appraisal process and have someone other than the appraiser inspect the subject and comparables? One reason may be lenders who want to make sure the inspection and photos they are getting are current. Lenders know who’s lying and who isn’t, and they are getting tired of paying full price for appraisals that do not meet the required scope of work. If you want to stay clear of trouble, do what you are supposed to do.

If we don’t do the job right, Fannie will go further down the bifurcation trail and your appraisal fees will go down—significantly. None of us wants that.


About the Author
Richard Hagar, SRA, is an educator, author and owner of a busy appraisal office in the state of Washington. Hagar now offers his legendary adjustments course for CE credit in over 30 states through OREPEducation.org. The new 7-hour online CE course “How to Support and Prove Your Adjustments” shows appraisers proven methods for supporting adjustments. Learn how to improve the quality of your reports and defend your adjustments! OREP insureds save on this approved coursework. Sign up today at www.OREPEducation.org.

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Comments (25)

  1. With appraisal waivers no original comp photos because apparently they are not important.

    With all of the various Hybrids no original comp photos because apparently they are not important.

    With traditional desktop appraisals and reviews no original comp photos because apparently they are not important.

    With 1004’s & 2055’s, 1025’s original comp photos are required because apparently they are important.

    That makes it clear right?

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  2. Original photos are required when they are a part of the assignment conditions. Seasonal photos are only required when part of assignment conditions. I rarely take those ‘seasonal photos’ orders because it’s a senseless exercise in my market where most of what you see from the street is a gate and a driveway, and or the house that sold 3 mos ago was razed/rebuilt and is not a good representation of the improvements at the time of the sale. By the same token, I’ve never gotten a seasonal photos request from any of the bigger, seasoned, experienced lenders. Use an ‘original photos are taken at the time of discovery’ comment in your addendum to cover yourselves and if you’re taking ‘current seasonal photos’ orders be sure to charge accordingly for the additional time and redundancy.

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  3. With the pandemic, many owners and their children are at home during typical business hours. Do you take photos of children in their front yards? What’s FNMA/VA/FHA position on this? Should we delay a report simply because we need to return to the comparable to take a photo? –I typically take a photo of the street sign and submit an MLS photo as a supplement.

    Also, I use Google Maps, heavily. With location services turned on, it tracks my every move and can produce a daily timeline/map of my routes street-by-street. Seems to me this would be evidence that I personally inspected the comparable from the street, no? It would definitely be a safer method, and at the very least, help bailout some appraisers in legal jeopardy for not taking a photo of comps they observed. .

    The public is growing hypersensitive to privacy, routinely taking photos of their homes is not consistent with maintaining their trust.

    If FNMA needs to populate its big data engine (CU) with fresh photos, they could pay for these services, separately, and create additional revenue streams for appraisers.

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  4. Richard, the “elephant in the room” is avoided in the article. Tactfully and professionally of course, but albeit avoided. Your statement, “Lenders know who’s lying and who isn’t, and they are getting tired of paying full price for appraisals that do not meet the required scope of work”, I fully disagree. The rest of your article is spot on! Most lenders and AMC’s have the highest priority on “Turn time” and “volume” of loans rather than quality. AMC’s (via the borrowers wallet) are paying significant fee’s for a quick “turnaround time” with no qualms whatsoever. The speed is the driving factor. Regulations and guidelines are empirically nothing more than annoying hurdles for the appraisers typical lending clients. I emphasize “most” because without question there are appraisers, lenders and AMC’s that adhere to quality over speed but the reality is that the majority do NOT! The faster they process a loan, the more they can do and the more profit is made. Understandable business model to maximize profitability. Similarly, that is what appraisers are “attempting to do” with the argument of no comp photos. Depending on geographic location, the comparable inspection and photos can range from 5 minutes up to hours. Fine, dont take the comp photos, use other photos that “match” what you saw when you did in fact drive by the comparables and you have now saved an approximate what, 15 seconds for each comparable by not slowing down and clicking a button?? The “Gorilla in the room” is simple, some appraisers are lying, not inspecting the exterior of the comparables and signing the certification saying they did, PERIOD. These appraisers “Business model” is to do fast appraisals for the AMC’s and lenders that will continue to give these appraisers as much work as they can handle with these appraisers current prices and fast turn around time. With the current surge of loans, the appraisers who have acquired significant business from lenders and AMC’s by cheating the system are getting overwhelmed with work and need to cut time to continue to give a client what got them to the level of business in the first place. Or does it raise the question that these appraisers are getting paid plenty, just getting greedy to do more by lying in the certification?
    “SOLUTION” – Raise prices and turn time accordingly to take into consideration not lying on every one of the appraisals and actually view and photo each comparable. The appraiser will than get paid for their time, maybe spend a few more minutes adhering to Fannie/Freddie, VA and HUD guidelines for a “REAL” discussion about the neighborhood, or maybe even about the market conditions rather than 20 boilerplate comments that some underwriter has evolved your appraisal report into over the past few years that could work on any property from California to New York.
    “REALITY” – Not going to happen, getting the appraisal system and appraisers on the same page is nothing different than trying to get the entire country on the same page for Covid protocols and we all see how thats been working out.
    Most of the the state regulatory boards are either under funded, under staffed or overwhelmed which does not allow for much concern by the “lying” appraisers as to potential consequences.
    Similar to business in general, profitability usually trumps (no political innuendo intended) all other priorities. With the exodus of appraisal “shops” and appraisers only allowed to sign up with AMC’s on an individual basis, the aforementioned trends will continue until the next great “change” (whatever it may be) happens and the appraiser will continue to remain the easiest target to receive the brunt. Each appraiser that continues to lie on their certification helps push an appraiser who is doing the job right out of the competitive circle. This will continue until which time it is mandatory to require every comparable photo to be taken or the market continues to accept lying on an appraisal. And, before I get bashed about how you “drove by the comp and a picture should not be required”, “you almost got shot”, etc., save it for someone who may believe the lie’s, suck it up, and be a professional instead of a hack!

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  5. I agree with the arguments laid out in the article, but one thing that the author and his banker friend have not discussed is the other side of the issue of comp photos. A week or two ago I was chased down by a frantic home owner. When the situation finally calmed down he explained that at least ten cars have come by his house taking pictures of his kids playing in the yard of their expensive new house. His wife was almost hysterical with fright. He understood and was actually thankful to be told why so many people have been driving by his house. Perhaps the lending community would be kind enough to include a statement to new homeowners that their house will be photographed many times over the next few months until it ceases to be a good comp.

    I never take comp photos when it is school bus time, nor on Saturday afternoons, but if there are people in the yard which AMC will understand why I couldn’t sit at a Starbucks until the family went back into the house so I can take my photo.

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  6. Mr Hagar you make a compelling case as to why we MUST, and that’s because we have to, but your article slightly smells of making the lenders argument, and not the appraisers. Especially the part about having taken an original photo two months ago. I can’t mention if a motorcycle gang is currently living next door. and “They want CURRENT photos—today, now, cutting edge. Why? Who cares why;” I care why? Should I be making more $$$ off my photos, or copywriting them. ?

    All food for trhought on a artical i mostly agree with.

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  7. Comp photos are required and it’s not our responsibility to understand or care why, per the article, the rules can be changed and that’s what many appraisers want. Here’s a question for the author, is it your professional advice that appraisals are best when appraisers pull comps before seeing the subject property? Of course not. Best appraisal practices would have the appraiser research their comps after seeing the subject property and confirming the property characteristics, amenities and views. Researching your comps beforehand when the subject data changes can lead to comparable bias that results in inaccurate values.

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  8. We all know what Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), and Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and USPAP are requiring us to do. Thank you for your clarification on that. I also understand your position on it, which I believe in modern appraisal practice has no place and need to be addressed and modernized to fit with today’s practice. By repeating same SB over and over again, we should educate client. There are over 500,000 Americans are dead and so many families left without their loved ones due to COVID-19, and what you are doing is encouraging us to go to gas pump that extra time, to stay outside and use facility in store, station, etc., during emergency/need.

    Shame on you Mr. Hagar

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  9. I for one have NO problem with taking comp photos. One can see if there are any external issues not mentioned or reported. What you should be concerned with is the AMC’s and their Bids and other stuff after the fact. (Mainly wanting bids without sending an engagement letter and not telling the appraiser over the phone). Thank god I am almost ready to get out of the biz. I have heard that this makes us better appraiser’s. B.S. It makes us better form fillers only.

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  10. I agree that it is of upmost importance that appraiser’s are knowledgeable of the market area where they work and have firsthand knowledge of the comparables, and their surroundings. But requiring that a photograph be taken every time the property is used as a comparable is redundant and is taken time away from other more important tasks that appraisers must perform when completing appraisal assignments. Furthermore, it is very intrusive to be taken multiple photographs, numerous appraisers photographing the same property. Eventually someone is going to be seriously hurt, or worse, invading home owner’s privacy. I have never performed a “Desk-top Appraisal” but I assume that because of time constraints actual “comp photos” are not being submitted, and that must be acceptable to Fannie Mae? If the lenders do not trust appraiser’s to professionally perform their due diligence when researching comparables than it’s time for a revamp of how appraisers accomplish their assignments.

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  11. The photo from the listing date may not be always accurate, but it is much closer to the actual condition at time of sale than a home than the typical home that has been improved after it is purchased 6 months ago. As a 30+ year realtor, it is unlikely the exterior changes from listing date to sale date as sellers don’t want to spend any more than they have to. Yes, occasionally something will change, but much more likely that the new owner improves the property post closing.

    Your ending comment about the bifurcated appraisals seems to get at your real message. You must have a way to profit from the idea while eliminating higher paying jobs.

    The truth always comes out!

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  12. I dispute Rich the same way I did with regression analysis in NE PA. He agreed with me that it will not work. You forgot the picture I took with a woman getting into her car (not in the photo) chasing me down to the Verrazano Bridge. Only to find her husband in front of my home with a NYPD officer (not on official duty),. I called the police before getting home (my wife was scared) and as I went into the house they tried to confront me. I then told I called my police department. They hopped skipped and jumped,, They were gone. Then there was a time I pulled up and yes there was new house. The owner came out and told me it was worth $2,000,000. Only one problem There were no sales over $500,000. Twenty years later he was right! I got the Gist of what you said. In Oregon you get paid $800 for an appraisal. For a rural appraisal in Pa until recently you got lucky with $400. What about long driveways and private roads and no views of a property. You are encouraging us to trespass. Maybe we can sue you for this because as reviewer we did something wrong. You cannot always get what you want. And cannot go back to a neighborhood that is far away and take photos again. We are in Rural America a one man army. Do you take photos with children in the picture. I learned my lesson not to. I once took a picture in PA rural area. As the man was running at me I pointed to a sign on my car. He never stopped. As I pulled away he leaped and caught the back of my car as I stopped slowly he was injured with scrapes I left the scene and immediately called the police. They viewed my pictures and told me to go home. They warned that owner they would press charges on him. Without photos I would have faced jail time. DON’T TELL ME WHAT I CANNOT DO. I WILL TAKE MY CHANCE WITH COPY INFRINGEMENT. My MLS has not indicated we could not provide photos. I will check again. I am presently working on a modular style home built to state code. Its more like a MFT. The nearest comps are not comps they are in two different areas. I already told client I can use them but will give them no emphasis. I will put them there for their viewing pleasure. Now realistically to take the photos I would have to drive one hundred and fifty miles from home to take them. My state department the last I knew stated we must familiar with those neighborhoods.(I will check with them again. Its been a few years). 150 miles. What is the wear and tear on the car let alone loss of time. I would challenge that in a court of law. Probably hire RUDY. The property is about 38 miles away. But driving through the snow hills of Pa for those comps makes it more difficult. The only point I am making not every photo can be taken. You cannot go back twice. As for the house I am appraising. He just bought the house. He is replacing the vinyl siding and the roof. He does not like the white siding. He prefers a new roof even though the one he has is 15 years old and it is not broken. Should I go back last year when I may used the home as a comp and make a condition adjustment on that appraisal!!!!! I would like your response. I maybe coming to Oregon to join my son. He was where the fires were in Talent. So appraising might be different for me. I may make an effort to take those photos because I can afford it. But I will not go down a private driveway for it. Or take pictures with people in front or even worse children. Please note FHA requires us to take photos of the street sign (or driveways) for the photo (last I knew). then there is Talent Oregon. A lot of homes lost. All the comps no good since they represent land value.

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  13. Pretending that nonsensical busy work somehow adds value to the report and will stave off bifurcation is delusional. Time wasting filler is not job security. Market data and analysis is what add value to the report.

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  14. I love and even print out most of Richard’s articles, but here’s some logic that is never addressed- if the MLS photo is not applicable because it was taken well before the sale, why then is my driving by any more applicable well after the sale? With 36 years as an appraiser I can tell you that most homes change nothing from list to sale- however many make major changes from sale to me coming by one to four months later for a comp photo. I still maintain that a listing picture is more relevant than months after the sale with new owners. Especially if the home sells in 30 days or less. And for the lender saying ‘for Pete’s sake why don’t appraisers just do their job’- because you would drop us for poor turn time. Even with a tract home I don’t magically have exactly my three comps during the inspection. So let’s say I have three appointments that day, and I’ve pulled 5 to 6 possible comps for each- including my subjects I’m driving to 18 to 21 different properties. That means I’m not in the office writing, and probably means your lender is calling or emailing wanting a status update. I had a comp that I changed from C4 in one report to C3 in the next, and the lender wanted to know why. For the first use I went by two days after it sold- asphalt drive, old roof, overgrown yard. Using it again two month later, I went by as required- paver drive, new roof, beautiful landscaping, exterior paint- changed to C3 BASED ON WHAT I SAW per FNMA. In no way relevant to when it sold.

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  15. How about the danger’s of taking original photograph’s? In my market’s I am forced almost daily to take photo’s at 40+ MPH, sometimes in a curve or coming over a hill. When I am fortunate to do subdivision appraisals there are children wandering the streets and I have to look for an address posted on a front door. Texting and driving and often driving with a phone in the hand is illegal. So to me it doesn’t make sense to allow distracted driving because I am real estate professional. Going back about 13-16 years ago most clients allowed MLS photos for a time and it was in their engagement letters that original photos were not required. Surely most appraiser’s don’t stop long enough to actually look at the comparable they are photographing. To believe that we do is foolish. It’s too dangerous. Someone needs to lobby for us on this matter and do away with the pictures.

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  16. While I respect the author and appreciate his thoughts, I would say that the Fannie/Freddie requirement was a precursor to the now modernized MLS. There was a day when the MLS had one photo, and at times no photo. Then there were 10 photos, then 15, then 20, and now; a agent can add up to 40 photos. So not only can you get a comprehensive look at the exterior of the home and other improvements, you can also get a pretty good look at the inside of each if the agent does a good job of adding photos.

    Then there’s the fact that the home then may look different from the home now. New paint, roof, windows, anything. Especially in rural areas where comps may be used for months on end. So, the question is, what is the data for? I’m under the impression the data is for the sales data of the comparable as of the date of sale. Is providing a photograph of the comparable 6 months later an accurate portrayal of that comparable at the time of sale if the home has seen significant improvement since selling? And, are we not falsifying our report by providing the photograph of the improved home vs the photograph of the home as it was at the time of sale?

    And in regard to your statement “And by the way, that bank and FNMA both can compare appraiser photographs against the MLS. If there’s a match, the federal law requires them to turn appraisers into the state board for disciplinary action.” I cannot count the times I have taken a photograph of a comparable and found it looked VERY similar to the agents MLS photograph. So, are we now going to prosecute appraisers because “their” photo looks almost exactly like the MLS photo?

    And last, has anyone from Fannie, Freddie, FHA, or VA had someone pull up, stick a gun in their face, and ask what the F*%$ you doing taking a picture of my house? Have any of them been surrounded by police, required to provide proof of why your taking photos of houses in the neighborhood? Has any of them had their camara snatched out of their hand by a pissed off home owner that ran you down after you took a photo of their home, only to leave you to have to get another camera and start over again, including the subject photos you already took? Has any of them been chased off or away from the comparable property at gun point while trying to get a photo? These are all real-life experience’s over my 18 years as an appraiser. And, it’s getting deicer than ever out there these days.

    So, perhaps Fannie, Freddie and company need to look at this somewhat outdated and dangerous rule. It was originally instilled to ensure we actually looked at the home. Now days appraisers are shooting the photos while still rolling to avoid any of the above from happening. I for one cab see a lot more in the 20-40 MLS photos than I can when I drive by and shoot a photo of that completely renovated home that no longer portrays the data or condition used in my appraisal report.

    Thus, while I respect the author, I have to disagree with the article! Its time something be done to protect appraisers form being chased down, threatened, and having guns drawn on them!

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  17. I see all of your points, and you are right that USPAP does not require inspection of the subject or comps. The photo requirements are from FNMA, VA, FHA, etc. I take photos of all my comps, but I have been shot at (Twice), trouble with police, Getting chased through down town, One guy called the police because he thought I was taking photos of his children.etc. In another remote area I was trying to find a comp and got lost. I pulled over to look at my map. Withing minutes I was surrounded by neighbors. They were angry and told me to get off their street. I was finally able to escape them, but the police caught me as I was trying to escape this small town. I needed one more comp picture, but because the police pulled me over for about 30 minutes, it was too dark. I included a black photoi, and fortunately I was never asked to re-take it. I agree that we need to drive the comps, but the photo requirement is what will get an appraiser killed or arrested.

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  18. I have driven so-called “comps” that were photographed by other-than appraisers, that were not the comp as stated, some in completely different locations !! I have used MLS photos of rural properties that were not accessable from the public ROW, with the statement as to why they were used.

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  19. I’ve been driving a photographing comparable photos for 27 years. Why not MLS Photos? Your example of a “singular” burned house I have not seen in 27 years x 250+ Appraisals a year x 6 comparable photos (over 40,000 photos). I’m one Appraiser now multiple that by the number of Appraisers in the County (think about the natural resources that could be saved). Not to mention car/pedestrian accidents and even lives saved. A Realtor could simply be required to provided an un-altered photo. An Appraiser could also disclose that Google maps was used to verify traffic patterns and adjacent commercial properties. I appreciate your article; however, unless you’ve taken as many photos as I have you really don’t understand how uncomfortable people feel when you drive slowly into a neighborhood stop and photograph a home. Appraisers have “many, many, many” stories about being approached and asked why a comparable home was photographed.

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  20. I have been threatened and harassed by 4 homeowner the past 6 months. It’s only a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt. This is an outdated practice, that can be replaced with a call to a realtor to confirm a properties condition at the time of sale. A burned down comparable isn’t going to be selling for the same price as a C3 comparable, give me a break. If you’re using those as Comps, you shouldn’t have a license in the first place. You’re comparing the comparable at its time of sale, not its current condition. Just my opinion, it’s 2021, there is information everywhere about a property, and realtors are always able to be contacted with how inseparable people are from their phones. I always take the pics, but I don’t feel safe doing it.

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  21. I do not disagree with Richard’s logic but it would be nice if lenders would pay for the time it takes to take the photos especially in rural areas. We have lost lenders for raising fees. Other appraisers have as well.

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