Street Scene Photos of the Subject Property

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Dave Towne

Certified Residential RE Appraiser at Towne Appraisals
AGA, MNAA, Accredited Green Appraiser - Licensed in WA State since 2003.
Dave Towne on e-AppraisersDirectory.com
Dave Towne

Latest posts by Dave Towne (see all)

Subject Street Scene Photos' Policy - Appraisers BlogsAppraisers, the discussion of subject photos occurred recently on a forum I read. How many of you know the street scene “view” policy of FHA and FNMA?

How many of you were trained to just take ONE photo from the very front of the subject, looking down the street in one direction or the other (without having the subject in the photo)? Is that ‘good enough’ for a lender to know the context of where the subject is on the street?

If a ‘street view policy’ between agencies is more strict for one, would it be appropriate to adopt that policy for all reports? In my opinion, yes!

Per the HUD 4000.1 Manual (II (D)(4)(a)) (used for FHA & USDA, and possibly VA assignments), the ‘street view policy’ is this:

“Street scene photograph to include a portion of the subject site

Per the FNMA Selling Guide Part B (B4-1.2 Exhibits), the ‘street view policy’ is this:

“Clear, descriptive photographs showing the front, back and a street scene of the subject property…” “The subject must be appropriately identified.”

It is obvious that FNMA’s policy is not as well defined as the HUD/FHA policy. But FNMA does say that the subject must be identified.

In my reports, I use BOTH policies for the ‘street view’ photos. I use the HUD/FHA policy by taking the street photo from 1 or 2 houses up or down the street FROM BOTH DIRECTIONS, include a portion of the subject in the photo, and then in the photo description (using FNMA’s policy) I tell the reader the home is on the left or right side in the photo. Yes, my reports include TWO street scene photos. For suburban/rural sites, with the subject not visible on the street, I do the same process, but include a portion of the site in the photos. For these, I also include a photo of the driveway intersecting the street.

While we’re on this topic of discussion, there is NO requirement that subject photo pages be limited to 3 photos per page. Except when transmitting reports using the outdated, archaic .env protocol (Appraisal Port). That system demands 3 per page. But when not using .env, you can use photo pages with 6 photos, which most reviewers prefer due to photo size. Using subject photo pages with 12 or 15 per page make the photos extremely small, and hard to review.

My reports have the 6 photos per page for the subject. First page is the subject exterior – all 4 sides – and two street scenes. Other subject photo pages also have 6 photos, starting with the interior, and then other exterior elements and amenities on extra pages. I’ve been doing it this way for many years with absolutely no issues from any client.

The comp photos are on the typical 3 per page.

Using 6 subject photos per page is also a way to shorten number of pages in a report. Makes the overall report file size smaller, and it’s easier for end users to utilize the report.

Dave Towne

Dave Towne

AGA, MNAA, Accredited Green Appraiser - Licensed in WA State since 2003. Dave Towne on e-AppraisersDirectory.com

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11 Responses

  1. Baggins Baggins says:

    Seeing is believing. 100 photos minimum and the reader goes on a simple virtual tour. I like the GA1 & TOCP for intro and index large photos, then picint6 for most, and pic15 for finishers like attic and yard, etc. Just relabel them and it does not matter if they’re intended for interior or exterior, etc.

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  2. Avatar DianaN says:

    Two street views with the subject in each of them and the address if it’s on the mailbox. At least one front view with address show. I sometimes include an aerial if available.

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  3. Avatar GY says:

    I’ve been using the 15 photo pages for years and years. Not one negative response from a lender or reviewer.

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  4. Avatar Bill Johnson says:

    No amount of front pictures, side pictures, dirty bathroom pictures (toilet), blurred out CHRISTMAS decoration pictures, etc., will prevent Mr. and Mrs. Smith from losing their jobs, and thus foreclosing on their house because of lost income.

    Will it be the appraisers fault because they provided a front picture straight on, versus at an angle? Do you think if I started (10 years ago) having my local full service car wash place do just one more thing from the last time (for free), that I would be paying $12 (Basic wash), for the full on interior/exterior, clay bar, ceramic coating service they offer for $750? (It’s CA people)? Take pictures for your work file yes, but this crazy appetite for photo disclosure in the report adds weeks of time each year (for free). If those weeks are your vacation, or vacations, what is that time worth to you?

    Seek the truth.

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  5. Avatar Tim says:

    Is there an app that will add my car’s side view mirror or door pillar to an MLS photo? Now for THAT I would gladly pay $12

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  6. Avatar Dave Towne says:

    Tim…..did you understand the point of the article? It’s not about the comps. It has to do with the subject street view photo(s).

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    • Avatar Bill Johnson says:

      Good article Dave. Have you ever tried to get a street photo with no one it while doing a high population downtown condominium? How about when its baseball season when those condos are a few feet from the stadium that seats 40,000+? Hell, forget about baseball season, as within a few blocks (Stadium/Public library), there’s a permanent homeless population of over 1,000. There’s nothing like afternoon baseball, and playing a game of miss the poop on the sidewalk while taking street, front, side pictures, etc. But the urban guys have it easy right?

      Seek the truth.

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      • Avatar DianaN says:

        Bill, some of the inner city areas I’ve worked in, if you pull out a camera they run for cover. Gee I wonder why LOL.

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        • Avatar Bill Johsnon says:

          If you schedule your appointments early enough, you may just get pictures of blankets, and shopping carts, otherwise its a classic game of Frogger. Downtown San Diego, where that small 2 bedroom condo will run you $500,000+, and its a mystery as to who your doorman will be for the day. Good times.

          Seek the truth.

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    • Avatar Tim says:

      Sorry, Dave. Never had a street scene issue in 25 years. The only photo addendum revision request I’ve ever received was from an AMC for a 12 photo limit per page. Shortly thereafter TOTAL added the 12 photo addendum. Problem solved.

      Now, about my side view mirror app? Any leads?

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  7. Becky Lowell on Facebook Becky Lowell on Facebook says:

    Maybe I’ll do that. 1 more minute of effort. No big deal. Also, I do 12 photos/page and it seems to keep everyone happy.

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Street Scene Photos of the Subject Property

by Dave Towne time to read: 2 min