BluefoxToday blog : Hey Lady: Why Were You Taking Pictures of My House?

Hey Lady: Why Were You Taking Pictures of My House?

Las Vegas Broker Price OpinionsHave you ever seen anyone drive by your home slowly and take a picture of your home?  Wouldn’t that be creepy?

It happens quite a bit and for different reasons:

  • Sometimes when your insurance policy needs to be updated
  • Sometimes when an appraiser is using your home as a “comp”  (or comparable) and there isn’t a good exterior photo available in public records
  • Sometimes a Tax Assessor may need to update the file
  • Sometimes when the home is in default, being sold as a short sale, or the lienholder needs to “update” a file a BPO is ordered

A BPO is short for a “Broker Price Opinion”.  Basically a BPO comes in two forms:   interior or exterior (commonly known as “drive by”.)

Interiors are commonly ordered for pre-list REO second opinion pricing, deed in lieu of foreclosure or a short sale.

Exteriors (the “Drive-By”) is commonly ordered for short sale, default and simply updating a file.  Please NOTE:  You do not have to be in default to have an exterior BPO ordered.  I do not want tenants paranoid or freaking out about this!  Here is a short tutorial on how to find out if a Las Vegas Area home is in default.

Our goals are different from appraisers.  Appraisers value the property and BPO agents formulate marketing strategy and analyze a list price for the home in today’s market.

Most BPOs are ordered from third party systems and we do not (generally speaking) receive orders from the lienholder or investors themselves.

Please feel free to ask questions about this process if you have any!  I have performed close to 2000 BPOs since 2007 and I just wanted to let potential occupants of these homes know what is going on with this tutorial.  Back in 2007 most homes were unoccupied but since this past spring many of the homes ARE occupied.

When you see me (or us) there is no need to panic, we are not here to “take your home” nor are we here “casing it for burglary”.  If you are curious why you may have been subject to the BPO, call your mortgage servicing company or your insurance company before you call the cops!

Thanks,  Renée Burrows 702-580-1783 Broker/Owner, REALTOR®


copyright 2006-2013 Renee Burrows, REALTOR®, Savvy Home Realty Solutions  702-966-2494

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Comment balloon 31 commentsRenée Donohue~Home Photography • September 24 2010 04:49PM


Renee, great recap for homeowners.  I often wonder what home owners and neighbors think when I ride by and take a photo of a particular house. 

Posted by Damon Gettier, Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE (Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert) almost 9 years ago

I love taking pictures where I am now because there are HORSES! I'm afraid some of them are subject to foreclosures. ;-(

Posted by Susie Blackmon, Ocala, Horses, Western Wear, Horse Farms, Marketing almost 9 years ago


Always an interesting perspective arrives when you post! I so enjoyed every word of this one. ..and the photo. THX!

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 9 years ago

An excellent explanation of the BPO, thanks.

Posted by Katherine Fornale, SFR, GRI (REMAX REALTY 9) almost 9 years ago

Renee, great way to tell clients not to call the police when someone is taking photos of their home!  :-)  Seriously, nice explanation of what is taking place.  ~ Susan

Posted by Susan Laxson CRS, Local Knowledge & Global Network (HomeSmart Professionals) almost 9 years ago

I know exactly what you mean. I had an owner come out and harass me for taking pictures of the home for a BPO. The home was being foreclosed so the owner felt compelled to project his anger onto me since he couldn't take it out on the parties responsible. I agree that it's a bit freaky when someone takes a picture of a home but how many pictures of you are out there that have been take without you knowing? Do all cell phones have cameras? Food for thought.

Posted by Victor Zuniga (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services California Properties) almost 9 years ago

Excellent posts. Wow you have done many, many BPO's. I am told only an appraiser can do this type of activity in PA. In fact, BPO is not a legally defined term in this state. Best of luck.


Posted by Cal Yoder, Homes For Sale in Lancaster PA - 717.413.0744 (Keller Williams Elite) almost 9 years ago

Damon:  You should google some phrases.  Many of them think we are casing the home, LOL

Susie:  Ouch on the foreclosures!

janeANNE:  You are welcome :)

Katherine:  you are welcome too!

Susan:  I am waiting for the cops to come knocking on my door one of these days!

Victor:  TRUE THAT!  On a public street is legal too!  I think they should project their anger inwards.  Not our fault and LOTS Of BPOs are being ordered during the default process per lienholder.  You were just the lucky one to get caught!

Cal:  I have heard that about PA also!

Posted by Renée Donohue~Home Photography, Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer (Savvy Home Pix) almost 9 years ago

Great job, Renee. Been chased myself a few too many times.

Posted by David Karp, Woodstock, Marietta GA Real Estate (Peachtree Realty Group, LLC) almost 9 years ago

I do not do many BPOs but there are some very effective neighborhood watch organizations and someone usually sees me and stares quizzically (probably writes down my license number too).  Thankfully, short sales and foreclosures are still the exception to the rule in my neck of the woods.

Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) almost 9 years ago

Renee - Great explanation!  Although I haven't actually caught anyone do that with our home, if I do, I won't freak out.  :)

Posted by Donne Knudsen, CalState Realty Services (Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA) almost 9 years ago

Some homeowners and tenants get freaked out when they see anyone with a camera outside of the property.  Colleagues that conduct many BPO's have mentioned the same state of paranoia demonstrated by homeowners and tenants. 

You are one busy cookie, that's almost 2 BPO's a day.

Posted by Sun City Grand Homes Surprise AZ Real Estate Leolinda Bowers Designated Broker Leolinda Realty, Sun City Grand in Surprise Arizona (Leolinda Realty) almost 9 years ago

David:  Haven't been chased but now that I said that.....

Norma:  I am envious that short sales and foreclosures are the exception in your neck of the woods.

Donne:  :wink:

Leolinda:  Yup some days ten, some days none!

Posted by Renée Donohue~Home Photography, Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer (Savvy Home Pix) almost 9 years ago

I was chased down by a homeowner... Big truck  (I'm sure he was making up for other shortcomings) and angry as hell that I took a picture of his home. All I'd done is roll down the window, and this goofball charges after me, cathing me several blocks away. He was the new homeowner, and had no clue about comparable sales, etc. He calmed down slightly, when I explained what the reason was -  

Posted by Patrick Harfst (Realty Executives - Phoenix AZ) almost 9 years ago

If someone has recently closed on the home, they are definitely more likely to have someone taking a photo.

Posted by Rodney Mason, AL, FL, GA, SC, & TN (Angel Oak Home Loans) almost 9 years ago

Renee - Sitting out in front of a home yesterday morning, I was gathering some paperwork on a subject house. People walking around were so suspicious that I felt bad. I didn't take any pictures but what would they have thought if I did.It wasn't just a drive by. I actually didn't even get out of the car.

Great explanation so the public will know.

Posted by Ken Barker Realtor® GRI, E-Pro Certified (Dilbeck Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

Renee - I am always concerned what does the homeowner will do when I take a picture of a home. Excellent blog.

Posted by John Pusa, Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest) almost 9 years ago

When I take pictures, I do it quickly. I have been asked before from neighborhood watch people, etc. As soon as they find out I am a Realtor, they calm down and talk me to death.

Posted by Scott Baker, Realtor Homes for Sale in Cincinnati, West Chester, Mason, OH Area ( Coldwell Banker West Shell) almost 9 years ago

Love it!!! GREAT TOPIC! And a very relevant one at that! Recommended it be featured, and re-blogged!

Posted by Ryan Case, 877-828-0710 (SCA Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

It is funny how things can change from area to area, and from marketplace to market place.  What you are calling a "drive by"... I normally hear it referred to as "windshielding."  Just seeing the home through the windshield... and the BPO'er "drives by."  Same thing... different nickname.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) almost 9 years ago

If you have done over 2000 REO since 2007 you know the market quite well.  I have done over 3500 in the same time period.

Posted by Elite Home Sales Team, A Tenacious and Skilled Real Estate Team (Elite Home Sales Team OC) almost 9 years ago

Renee I think you pretty much found every possible reason a Realtor would want to take a picture of someones home:)

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 9 years ago

This is a great post to explain the process so Homeowners are not concerned when they see the camera and unusual interest in their home. I like your idea that the .com address on the vehicle points here. What a solution!

Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge almost 9 years ago

Renee, I suggested your post.  If I put the shoe on the other foot, I think I would be highly concerned as well.

Posted by Don Spera, Serving York and Adams County, PA (CR Property Group, LLC) almost 9 years ago

This very subject was on our local news last night.    They say if the picture was done from the street (a public place), no need to permission, but always good to have it!   GREAT post.

Posted by Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time (House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373) almost 9 years ago

I was doing a drive by the other day and a woman came out.  She was very nice and I told her what I was doing; but we were both wondering as she was current, not refinancing, and had been in the loan for a long time.  I think she even had equity.  It is possible her loan was being sold or someone was evaluating the portfolio at the lender.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

Very timely topic, Renee.  I worry about homeoners coming out and hassling me when I do a drive-by BPO too.  You did a great job of listing many other reasons why an asset manager would request a BPO.

Posted by Kate Wheeler, CCIM - Murphy NC Real Estate for Sale (Country Homes and Land Murphy NC Realtor ) almost 9 years ago

This is very good topic and you have made it very informative ..

Seems Every Town, USA is seeing this occur more frequently and youve done a nice job translating our duties!

Posted by Michele Connors, Your Eastern North Carolina Realtor (The Overton Group, LLC Pitt & Carteret County) almost 9 years ago

Renee if I lived in Vegas they may have seen me taking pictures.  I take them all the time for these bad blogs I write.

Posted by John Walters, Licensed in Louisiana (Frank Rubi Real Estate) almost 9 years ago


I bet a lot of Vegas homeowners have seen this going on at their own house or in the neighborhood. This ought clear the reasons why it may happen. Timely info indeed.

Posted by Esko Kiuru almost 9 years ago

Good post , it helps when people are informed and knows  we aren't there to take the home away. I've had to take the photos from my car to avoid possible confrontation.


However ordes have declined in Phoenix metro ? has anyone noticed that ?



Posted by Elena Martinovici, Associate Broker- Phoenix , Arizona (MY HOME GROUP 602-321-1273) almost 9 years ago

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