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The Appraiser Coach Podcast


Listen while you drive to and from appraisal inspections as Dustin Harris, The Appraiser Coach, gives you helpful tips, tricks, ideas, and principles which will make you a better appraisal business owner. Dustin has been a successful real estate appraiser for many years. As the Appraiser Coach, he has made it his life’s mission to teach other appraisers across the country to also succeed and thrive as real estate appraisal business owners. Join Dustin each week as he keeps you informed with the latest in the appraisal profession, interviews movers and shakers, talks to your peers about what is important to them, and shares with you his secrets to incredible success.

Jul 31, 2016

It is quite possible that real estate appraisers put their lives at risk every day when we take comp photos; and for what?  With today's technology, it is really still necessary for appraisers to take live photos of comparable sales and risk being chased down, threatened, or even harmed by a home owner?  What will it take before Fannie and Freddie and the rest see the danger in this activity?  Mark joins Dustin to discuss.  #AppraiserLivesMatter #NoMoreCompPhotos


BRYAN WEDMORE
a year and a half ago

THIS IS REALLY AN ISSUE IN THE CITY. AS I LIKE TO SAY. THE ENTREPRENEURS ON THE CORNER USUALLY ARE NOT HAPPY TO SEE A GUY TAKING PHOTOS WHILE THEIR BUSINESS IS OPEN. THE OTHER THING I SEE IS THE MLS PHOTO IS A REFLECTION OF THE DWELLING AT THE TIME OF THE SALE. THIS WAS ALWAYS AN ISSUE WITH REO'S IN MY OPINION. THE CURRENT PHOTO ALWAYS LOOKED MUCH BETTER THAN THE ONES WHEN IT SOLD. I ALWAYS THOUGHT THIS ANYWAY

Carrie Smith
almost two years ago

Some areas you can get shot trying to take photos in our area. It is very dangerous on many levels!

Doug Adams
over two years ago

I know that it is political season and everybody wants to get all binary either all the way to one side or another, but what it the balance here? Also, the false equivalencies do nobody any good. How can we be safe and also let a lender know that we did actually drive by the comparable homes? Figure this out and then things will change. Pictures of every comp all the time is just stupid. Never a single comparable photo is also just as unreasonable.

How about people just do the best that they can and put in an explanation. If a particular person never will use an original photo, then it is perfectly reasonable to question that their certification signature might be justified to challenge. However, using a previous-report original from a few months ago should be OK. Missing one in a report should be OK.

I have never had an issue with a lender as long as I have some originals and just explain why I don't have the others - even FHA. Safety, people working in the yard, kids with a lemonade stand all have been fine reasons since I have not demonstrated a pattern of never having an original photo.

Most importantly, there is no better way to have your issue not heard than to go totally binary or use false equivalencies. Common ground is not a bad thing, even though we might not see a lot of this until November.

Jeff Alpert
over two years ago

I still can't believe taking comp photos is a requirement when you consider the danger and now we have the technology to avoid this. I have been yelled at, chased down and run off the road. It causes me so much anxiety that I take something for it now. An appraiser will be shot dead at some point and then this danger won't be required. There are crazy people everywhere! Case in point, a man here in Wesley Chapel (north of Tampa) killed a man for texting in a movie theater. Oh P.S. he was a former cop and was also texting himself!! It's this type of deranged crazy psychopath that will kill an appraiser for taking a unnecessary comp photo!

Bill Johnson
two and a half years ago

As long as there is not a crystal clear set of minimum standards that every interested party (lenders, AMC's, etc) must agree to (example USPAP only)and set a fee on (C&R), then we will continually be asked to do more for less. If the state of Virginia can in part establish a set of standards that C&R fees must be based on (Veterans Association), then we can begin to establish extra pay for extra work. If I assess my risk, liability, time, etc. is worth $50 to take comp photos for a conventional loan where they are not required, WILL THE LENDER PAY OR SAY THATS OKAY WE DON'T WANT ORIGINAL PHOTOS? If I go get my car washed and pay the minimum fee (basic wash) but have over the years gradually been getting more and more work done (at no extra charge) then we as appraisers are completing a full wax and detail for the price of a basic wash. Until we address scope of work, C&R pay on a single set of standards, and establish fees for extra work (cost approach, extra sold comps, ANY active or pending listing, photos, etc.), than the trend will continue. In a previous blog post, (A la carte pricing?), Dustin in my opinion is again off the mark in not recognizing the issue that in my opinion contribute to appraisers being in a position (take original photos), that they do not belong. Please go back and read that blog for my comments and others. Thanks.

Mark Skap
two and a half years ago

I love the comments. One thing I will say is this. Why do we keep putting band aids on something that needs stitches? Get a dash cam, zoom lenses, this that and other things. Band aids. Why can't appraisers just band together and make this an issue that needs to stop instead of constantly making excuses and using band aids. It's not just this topic either.

Carla DeYoung
two and a half years ago

This requirement needs to be removed by the lenders and FHA. I know 2 appraisers that have had guns pulled on them. I have been chased down a highway and run off the road, been involved in an accident because someone tried to pass me as I was turning into a driveway because they were tired of waiting on me (was looking for the address), had an incident where I had to go to end of road and turn around and as I was passing back by the house a man ran out in front of my car slamming his hands down on my hood and approached my window threatening me. It's ridiculous. This is not a USPAP requirement and out appraisal states that we viewed the comps, not that we personally took a photo. I get so stressed out when taking comp photos and then when you are on a busy highway trying to find an address and point the camera you take a high risk of having an accident. Magnetic signs and flashers do not resolve the risk.....

Carla DeYoung
two and a half years ago

This requirement needs to be removed by the lenders and FHA. I know 2 appraisers that have had guns pulled on them. I have been chased down a highway and run off the road, been involved in an accident because someone tried to pass me as I was turning into a driveway because they were tired of waiting on me (was looking for the address), had an incident where I had to go to end of road and turn around and as I was passing back by the house a man ran out in front of my car slamming his hands down on my hood and approached my window threatening me. It's ridiculous. This is not a USPAP requirement and out appraisal states that we viewed the comps, not that we personally took a photo. I get so stressed out when taking comp photos and then when you are on a busy highway trying to find an address and point the camera you take a high risk of having an accident. Magnetic signs and flashers do not resolve the risk.....

Steve Hopkins
two and a half years ago

Good podcast...I have been in the industry for 35 years, and seen it all. I was a property tax assessor for 23 years and currently a fee appraiser. I only do commercial appraisals now, but seemed to get into more trouble when I did residential properties. Had several guns in my face, seen dead and/or naked bodies, had chases, and even police with guns drawn when I was measuring a residence (a concerned neighbor). We could write a book...

Mark Barrs
two and a half years ago

I forgot to mention the danger of taking pictures on busy highways.

Dave
two and a half years ago

This is a test comment

Kelly Robert Carlton
two and a half years ago

I enjoyed your talk and agree that comp photos can be a hazard. I have been chased down and threatened by people who wanted to know what I was doing. I also have nearly had an accident while trying get a photo. All to get a photo that is sometimes months later and the house could look totally different from the time it was purchased. Also it can add a tremendous amount of time, gas and energy to drive several miles across rural areas to get all the photos. It can be a waste of time. I work two different appraisal jobs. During the days of the week I work for the local tax administration as the county appraiser. On nights and weekends I do appraisals for lenders and owners. If you think I get dirty looks when I take pictures of homes when I am there for a mortgage or owner. Think of the looks I get when I am there to probably raise their property taxes. Fun city. Again really enjoyed the comments. I hope to join that facebook page soon if they let me. Don't know if they will want a TAX appraiser in or not.

Charlotte Anderson
two and a half years ago

It is my understanding the it is not Fannie or Freddie that require photos it is the AMC or lenders. Fannie and Freddie only require that appraisers observe the comps not take photos of them.

C. Begault
two and a half years ago

I totally agree. In some cases I turn down an order due to it's location and the safety factor of obtaining comp photos.

David Sike
two and a half years ago

I had a neighbor to a comp who saw me take a picture of his neighbors house get in his car and follow me all the way back to my office where he confronted me in the parking lot. I also had 2 constables surround my car while I was inside conducting an interior inspection on a refi, because someone reported me taking a picture of their house. But honestly due to the increase of lawlessness in our communities and high level of suspicion, it's becoming more difficult.

Ray Hilson
two and a half years ago

During my 34 years of appraising and taking comparable photographs, I have been stopped, chased, and yelled at! I know an appraiser who was stopped and told to remove the roll of film from his camera (before digital) or there would be consequences.

Andrea Couture
two and a half years ago

Hello, I couldn't agree more with Mark's comments. I've been appraising residential properties since 2004 within the last 12 years, I've been followed, chased, screamed at and cut off for taking residential comp photos. When I worked exclusively appraising commercial properties, I had no concerns or issues. Times have changed, people feel threatened and we need to make the changes in our industry before someone gets hurt.

Maria Cahn
two and a half years ago

Agree 100%! I have been confronted on more than one occasion while taking comp photos- have had homeowners angry and shouting, threatening to call the police, another confronted me DEMANDING to know why I am taking pictures of his house, etc. All to take photos of a house there is already a photo of. NOT pleasant.

Jen Lane
two and a half years ago

Here are some thoughts that I hope can improve others safety. I changed my tactics about 5 years ago to be more stealth and have had no issue for that time. I have been doing this for 27 years and have a long list of scary stories in my past. I tinted my windows and DO NOT ROLL DOWN THE WINDOW. If the lens is close to the glass, you can eliminate any glare created by window glass. Even if for some reason there was a glare, there is no rule that a photo must be perfectly centered in perfect light. You could always supplement with a MLS photo. Cameras with mega zoom lenses are no longer expensive. I use a zoom from a distance out the windshield when people are out front. Dash cams are dirt cheap. You could turn around directly in front of the house with a dash cam running and later take a photo of the house on your digital dash cam screen playback when you are in a safe place. You could also save a snap shot of the dash cam to your report. Removing the requirement would be great, but maybe these ideas can help the safety of appraisers now.

George
two and a half years ago

Great podcast as usual, but you are preaching to the choir my friend. My biggest problem with comp photos is the traffic danger. Many of my comps are on busy roads on which it is impossible to slow down let alone pull over. Our eyes are constantly drawn from the road looking at our gps/reaching for the camera/searching for the correct house number/trying to angle the photo if it's FHA, etc. I did come close to hitting a person crossing the street once. It was too close for comfort and I was rattled for a few days after.

George
two and a half years ago

Great podcast as usual, but you're preaching to the choir my friend.

Jim
two and a half years ago

I appraise properties in the Anza area in Riverside County, CA and there is a growing number of pot farms (mostly illegal based on CA ordinance) in the area. Some of the land comps I've had to use have pot farms so I have to be very careful when taking photos.

Tracy Doss
two and a half years ago

I completely agree. I am located in a mountainous area along with urban areas of high crime. I have been chased down after taking photos from the street. It is quite scary. One woman blocked the street and approached me (it was a cul de sac road ). She questioned why I took a photo. I explained and she was understanding But stated she observed another man taking a photo while her young daughter was in the road and she feared he was a pedophile since she was unable to confront him. A friend of mine had the police at her door after taking a comp photo as the person residing in the house was a prominant figure who had been receiving death threats. The pint is for every photo there is someone who has an issue they are dealing with and our innocent act of photos my be putting us in harms way. The mls photos are superior to what we talked from the road in my opinion.

Sheila Edmund
two and a half years ago

First time listener. I been an appraiser for 12+ years and this has always scared me. Working independently I felt I was the only one who was scared to take comp photos! Glad I'm not alone. I have had people chase me down. Once I came from behind the subject to have two cop cars fly up on me. Like I was a robber! Neighbor called the police on me for taking pictures. Anyway I enjoyed the podcast I look forward to hearing more. Thanks.