Different types of appraisals call for different needs. As an appraiser, you are the most qualified to make choices regarding an appraisal. There are a lot of things you have to juggle, and clients and lenders have their own ideas of how it should be. What about in regards to comp photos? With the advent of the hybrid appraisal, it seems that the need for comp photos has become obsolete. If we don’t need original photos for hybrids, do we need them at all? Who honestly likes them anyway? Isn’t technology these days pretty good for getting most information from the desktop?
What’s important to remember is the realm of your scope of work. How long have you been appraising? Maybe you were raised on the 1004 and got really used to “form filling”. But you know that the appraisal process and the appraisal form are two separate things. The process that you go through to do an appraisal and the type of reporting you do on that process could be miles apart, although they are related. A restricted report is very different from a narrative report and a narrative report from a drive-by report. The key here is the forms you use are specifically set up for a certain scope of work.
So, just because a lender says you don’t have to do something doesn’t mean you should not. For example, just because you don’t need an original photo for a hybrid doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include one. You may have to cater to the needs of the appraisal and to what you feel is important to include in the report. If you are well-acquainted with a particular place then use the information you have, and if you don’t know enough about the neighborhood, go drive it.
Comp photos are mostly not necessary. But depending on the type of report you are creating, there may be a need for you to jump in your car and go drive around. Don’t allow what the lender ordered to solely dictate the decisions you make. It should be the appraiser’s decision, not the lender. You know the scope of work that will work for the problem you are trying to solve. So you make the decision about whether or not you need comp photos. What do you think? Should we still hang onto them or are they a thing of the past?
For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: