Tips & Tricks For Photographing an Exterior BPO
1. Avoid confrontation
The bank may have ordered a BPO on an occupied property but the people are most likely unaware that you will be taking pictures of their house. Any typical homeowner or renter would get suspicious if they notice you taking pictures. To minimize confrontation, you should be discreet and stay in the vehicle unless approached. If this doesn’t remain an option, the best thing for you to do is simply explain who you are and what you are doing to ease any concern. If you ever feel you are in a threatening situation, leave the property immediately.
2. Always carry business cards
It is impossible to perform every exterior BPO without confrontation from curious onlookers. It’s simply going to happen. The business card works like a get out of jail free card. If you hand it to them while you explain you’re performing an exterior BPO for the bank, that’s usually the beginning and end of the conversation. Most homeowners don’t have a clue what an exterior BPO is anyway.
3. Purchase a quality camera
A camera which features a 30x zoom (3x optical and 10x digital) should be optimal. This will enable you to zoom in on a home address. Any houses that are set on a deep lot will be easier to photograph as well. If the photo is too small or unclear, the valuation company will request a new photo be taken at your time and expense. Save yourself the hassle.
4. Do not take pictures of people
Valuation firms consider this unprofessional and will request new photos or Photoshop editing. People in the picture could present racial/religious/gender bias when determining home values, which is illegal.
5. Take note of visible damages
Boarded windows, outdated roofing, and peeling paint are a few examples. An exterior BPO can normally pass quality controls without needing to identify repairs. However, the lender will want to see the report reflect what is visible in the pictures. Repairs will ultimately affect the as-is value of the exterior BPO so they should be added when necessary.
Generally, you should complete the report portion of the exterior BPO after taking photographs of the home. Implementation of this method will result in more accurate as-is values if you personally observe the home and neighborhood prior to performing the report. In addition, the inspection will also be fresh in your memory.
To perform an exterior BPO report, you must search for six comparable homes (comps) in the immediate area of the subject. Three comps must be sale comps; the other three must be listing comps. The selection of comps is determined using a variety of similarities to the subject property. These similarities may include size, age, and location to name a few. Price is the one statistic not taken into consideration when choosing comps. Predetermining a value is not wise since it would create a biased report.
Following these easy steps will help you become a BPO ninja in no time. And if you want to photgraph in style then don’t forget to put the top down. That’s how I roll.