Since the “2008 Housing Crisis,” lending institutions and secondary lenders (such as Fannie and Freddie) have tightened their regulations regarding appraisals. One of the areas that has received attention is that of photos at the subject property. Where it used to be considered normal to take a picture of the front, street, rear and maybe a few interior shots, it is now quite common to require much more.
Though every lender is different, many now require the appraiser to not only see every room in the house, but to take pictures of each. Due to the wide number of lenders requiring such photos, most appraisers (myself included) will take a digital shot of each room whether or not the lender requires it. This helps us avoid unnecessary follow-up visits later if a picture is requested after the fact.
The purpose of photos is not to invade upon your privacy, but rather to give the lender a good idea as to the condition and quality of the home. As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Do not be worried if your home is not as clean or uncluttered as you might like it to be. Unlike a real estate agent, we are not staging your home for sale. Those few individuals who might see the photos do not care if there are dirty dishes in the sink or a pile of unfolded towels on your couch. They are looking at the home itself only. For example, the good condition and quality of this kitchen can be seen, despite the slight clutter on the counters and even the floor.
Of course, your home is your castle and, as an appraiser, I am not trying to step on your privacy. The purpose of taking photos is to fulfill the requirements of the lender. If you do not want photos taken of certain things, it is within your rights to request such. I will respect your wishes, of course. This may or may not affect your ability to get the loan, but this is between you and your lender.