The first was a question I was asked just last week during an inspection of a house I was doing an appraisal on. The second question came up when I was out taking photos of comparable properties for this same property and was chased down by an angry homeowner for taking a picture of his house.
In answer to the first situation (taking interior photos of the house), effective September 1, 2010 Fannie Mae is requiring interior photos as noted below.
Appraiser will be required to provide interior photographs, which must, at a minimum, include:
-main living area;
-examples of physical deterioration, if present; and
-examples of recent updates, such as restoration, remodeling, and renovation, if present.
While the above is a “new” requirement it has always been required that photos of physical deterioration (damages) be provided. I, for one, have always taken interior photos to give the reader /underwriter of the appraisal a good view of all the nice and not so nice features of any home. It has been my experience that providing all these photos has only helped the appraisal through the underwriting process and very rarely, if ever, has it caused any problems, unless warranted (i.e. damages needing repair).
In regards to the second situation noted above, it has always been a requirement that the appraiser provide “original” photos of all the comparables utilized in an appraisal report. HUD/FHA is the most stringent on this requirement, but it is also required by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, VA, etc. and all the major lenders throughout the country. If your home was sold/purchased in the last 12 month period from the date of an appraiser’s report, you can bet that appraisers may be driving by your house, stopping in front and taking a picture for their files. This has nothing to do with your property and the County Tax Office or anything else. In fact if a County Tax Official is driving by your house for official purposes, he/she will always be in a county vehicle clearly marked as a tax assessor’s vehicle or at the very least have an official county emblem/seal on the vehicle.
Rest assured, I know very few appraisers (if any) who will take a photo of a house with children or people in the yard as they can always state this in their report and provide a photo from another source.
Again, pictures are a very important part of the appraisal process – they give readers a picture diagram to best explain and show what is good (and not so good!). Remember – a picture is worth – especially in this case – a thousand words!
About the Author: Robert Koppes is the owner of KT Appraisal Services, LLC and is a Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser with the State of Georgia (License # CR004733). He holds the CREA designation from the National Association of Real Estate Appraisers and also holds the MRA designation from the National Association of Master Appraisers. Robert has been an appraiser since 1994. Robert’s areas of specialty include valuation of properties in the 20 county Metro Atlanta area with emphasis on Conventional and FHA funding and consultation and valuation of foreclosure properties. He can be reached at 678-254-4050 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.