Tips and Tricks for Photographing an Outdoor BPO
1. Order of operations
Typically, you should complete the Exterior Broker Price Opinion portion of the report after taking pictures of the home. Implementing this method will result in an as-is value more accurate if you take a personal look at the home and neighborhood before reporting. In addition, the inspection will also be fresh in your memory.
2. Avoid confrontation
The bank may have ordered a BPO on an occupied property, but most likely people don’t know that you will be taking pictures of your home. Any typical landlord or renter would be suspicious if they noticed you taking pictures. To minimize confrontation, you must be discreet and remain in the vehicle unless approached. If this is still not an option, the best thing to do is to simply explain who you are and what you are doing to alleviate any concerns. If you ever feel like you are in a threatening situation, leave the property immediately.
3. Bring business cards
It is impossible to perform all outdoor BPOs without the confrontation of curious onlookers. It’s just going to happen. The business card works like a free get out of jail card. If you give it to them while explaining that you are conducting an outside BPO for the bank, it is usually the beginning and the end of the conversation. Regardless, most homeowners have no idea what an exterior BPO is.
4. Buy a quality camera
A camera or smartphone that has a zoom of at least 30x (3x optical and 10x digital) should be optimal. This will allow you to zoom in on a house address. Any house that is located in deep terrain will also be easier to photograph. If the photo is too small or unclear, the appraisal company will request that a new photo be taken at your expense. Save yourself the trouble.
5. Don’t take pictures of people
Appraisal companies consider this unprofessional and will request new photos or Photoshop editing. People in the picture could present racial / religious / gender bias when determining house values, which is illegal.
6. Make a note of visible damage
Bricked up windows, outdated ceilings, and peeling paint are just a few examples. An outside BPO can usually pass quality checks without the need to identify repairs. However, the lender will want the report to reflect what is seen in the images. Ultimately, repairs will affect the as-is value of the exterior BPO, so they should be added when necessary.
7. Selection of comparables
To perform an exterior BPO report, you need to search for six comparable houses (comps) in the immediate area of the subject. Three offsets must be sales offsets; the other three must include compilations. The selection of compositions is determined using a variety of similarities to the property of the subject. These similarities can include size, age, and location, to name a few. Price is the only statistic that is not taken into account when choosing comps. It is unwise to default a value as it would create a biased report.
By following these simple steps, you can go from a Broker’s Price Opinion buff to an expert in no time.