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MLS PHOTOS------COPY / PASTE ???

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BlueDog007

Thread Starter
Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
South Carolina
I normally pull all comps before I go out for my inspection. However, in some cases (rural property), I do not know what I am dealing with. And, with the amount of work we are doing now, I do not have time to go BACK out to take comp photos in "minimal" cases. Our MLS system has the ability to copy/paste photos to our report. However, I do not like the idea due to the fact I like to see what I am comparing. Butttttttt, the photo taken by the listing agent......could possibly be the best picture based on the fact that is almost exactly what the market was viewing at that time. What do you all have to say???
 

Blue1

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
I once knew an appraiser that lifted pictures from the MLS and put them in his report without actually personally inspecting them. In one instance the photo on the MLS was of a differnt house, he got reviewed and "spanked."

In another instance he did not report the external obsolesence of the rail road tracks that ran past the back yard of the comaprable. You got it...."spanked" again.

The third time, he "struck out."
 

Neil (Texas)

Sophomore Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Texas
MLS photos are not reliable.

MLS property photos are often shot by a third party photo service or agent assistant, instead of the agent, which often results in a photo of the wrong house. Recently pulled some comps, one of which the MLS photo showed to be a brick ranch, however, the agent described the "style" as an "A-Frame." It was actually a two-story "barn style." Another MLS photo showed a two-story brick colonial and it was actually a one-story log home. This seems to be a growing problem.

MLS photos are as unreliable as some of the MLS property data.

Neil Schaeffer, IFAS
Texas
 

John Hassler

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Item 8 on the Appraiser's Certification (Form 439) you sign in most appraisal work states that you have personally inspected the exterior of the comparables. If I sign that document, I'm am personally viewing the property as best I can. Period. To be compliant with USPAP, if you did not drive-by the comps, at a minimum you would have to state that in your report.

When I can't see the improvements from the public street I take a picture of the gate, trees, or whatever I can see. Then I include my picture AND an MLS photo (with a notation of its source).

John Hassler
 

Ken in Arkansas

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
I agree that you have to inspect each comp to the best of your ability, even that perfect comp at the end of the quarter-mile long one lane driveway. More than once I have had to explain what I was doing on their private property. Ninety percent of the time there is no problem, but every now and then it gets a little touchy.

Also, you have to remember that an MLS photo is going to show the best side of the property, not the run-down barn just off the edge of the picture, the second floor door with no deck, etc.
 

xmrdfghap

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
General Public
State
Florida
The only time I have used MLS photos is when the subject was too far off the road to see and the gate was locked. At that point I photo the gate and drive and use as a primarey picture and I include the MLS photo with an explaination as to what it is and why I used it.

I understand your volume situation, but were I in your shoes, I would charge substantially more for such a rural property.....enough to pay for a second trip to verify comps.

It is called doing your job......and the appearance of impropriety will come back and bite you.....just get paid for the additional effort required.
 

George W Dodd

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Virginia
I agree, don't use an MLS photo unless you disclose why a photo was not able to be taken (lazyness does not count 8O ).
 

DeseretJohn

Sophomore Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2002
Professional Status
Appraiser Trainee
State
Utah
On top of all the issues about accuaracy that everybody else is discussing, it's likely that you might also be running into copyright or other legal conflicts. You are charging for an appraisal you're representing as YOUR work, but not compensating or acknowledging to work of others.

Make the drive, take the picture.
 

Ted Martin

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Kansas
On the rare occasion when I get the photos with a review assignment I find that at least 1/3 of the time the comp photos come from the MLS. I've called it to the clients attention and nothing has happened. One of the worst offenders is one of the most porlific shops in this market.
 

Jeff Horton

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Alabama
This probably won't be a popular answer but I use MLS photos a lot of the time. If I know the property and have seen it before and dont have or can't find a photo I will use the MLS photo. I have driven by homes and for various reason not taken a photo of the house and just used the MLS photo.

If I have appraised a home in a neighboring and I know a nearby house and the neighborhood I may use an MLS photo. If you know the property and the nieghborhood I dont see the problem.

Last week doing a review I found one in the MLS with the house next door pictured. The more I dug into it they had the right house but had the wrong address on the listing sheet. If the appraiser had used that picture without knowing the house he would have had a real mess.

I have one on my desk right now that one of the comps is a home I just did a review of the appraisal of this house. I have an original photos on my computer I took. If I can't find those photos you can bet I will use the MLS photo. Why ride back out and take another one?

Now I am sure this will set wrong with many on here so I am putting on my fire retardant suit.
 
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