Do Associates Need to Be Licensed to Take Comp Photos?
Do Associates Need to Be Licensed to Take Photos for a Property Inspection?
I received a great question in my email the other day:
I am writing on behalf of one of our appraisal managers who is a certified in Illinois. He wants to send one of his associates only to take the photos for a property inspection, but the associate is unlicensed. Is he authorized to do so, or would the associate need a temporary license of some kind?
In some states this is considered clerical work, and some states are considered volunteer states, so a license is not required as long as the certified appraiser clarifies in the report who took the photos.
There’s a tendency to think that any ancillary work associated with appraising is automatically significant contribution and must be disclosed as such. Taking pictures, drawing the floor plan, putting a tape or Disto to a building or spell-checking a report are all things an appraiser does. But if someone does only one or two of these on behalf of an appraiser, do they need an appraiser’s license?
First, let’s examine the impact to the appraiser of someone else doing an aspect of their work. If this is a standard URAR assignment, the signing appraiser is certifying that they’ve personally inspected the sales from at least from the street. This doesn’t mean through someone else’s eyes or camera lens.
(2) inspect the neighborhood, (3) inspect each of the comparable sales from at least the street.
The text above was lifted from the URAR. If an appraiser hires someone to go take pictures of the sales, the appraiser can’t certify to number (3) and probably can’t certify to number (2).
Liability Time Bomb
What if the photographer takes the wrong image? Who is responsible if the appraiser tells the Board that his/her photographer took a picture of the wrong property?
The appraiser who signs the certification is buying the entire report. Warts and all.
We’ve had appraisers blame MLS photographers for the same thing. The fact is, we do not license photographers and they are not responsible for an appraiser’s unintended use of their images.
On the flip side, our photographer will not be able to submit a series of swell photos for appraisal experience, either.
Truly significant contribution is appraisal activity. Only appraisal activity requires a license in Illinois.
By Brian Weaver – Source Illinois Appraiser Newsletters – Volume 7, Issue 5