You can be a great Visual Scout, even without an SLR camera with a zoom lens!

Visual Property Scout

Thank you for interest in joining our team of Visual Property Scouts!

Our goal for a property photo session is threefold:

  • Document the overall condition of the house and each room
  • Catch possible repair issues the seller might have failed to mention
  • Give us an overall picture of the property and understand how we can improve its value

We will provide a step-by-step guide on how to take the photos, what order works best for us, and allows us to more effectively determine our exit strategy for the property. This should make it easier for you to take the most valuable pictures (and video).

The process should take about 30-40 minutes at the house to do a thorough job. Doing a good job will require a bit of concentration from you to complete. If your pictures allow us to negotiate a better price on the home, we’ll find an extra special way to say “Thank you!!”

Now let’s begin.

RELATING TO THE SELLER

Your job is to document this property with photos and video. The only responsibility in relating to the seller (or whoever meets you at the property) is to be nice, professional, and all ears. The answer to any question as to the relationship between you and U.S. Direct Home Buyers is that you periodically work with us to help evaluate properties. On these properties tell them you are working to document with photos and video so we can craft the best strategy for the property.

The writer of this web page is the owner of the company and I do this exact process, since I don’t know the conversation my Acquisition Manager has had with the seller and don’t want to interfere. 

You just need to get as much information as you can. If they’re knowledgeable about any details, like age of roof, past plumbing problems, whatever, you’re free to ask those questions. Just refrain from giving opinions that matter to our negotiations since anything you can say could unwittingly affect our negotiations. Be especially careful of this if you’re a real estate investor (ask me how I know).

If you’re a contractor, you likely were presented to the seller as one of our contractors that needs to see the property. Feel free to ask any pertinent questions about the house from a contractor’s perspective. On what our company intends, indicate that you’re just the contractor and you don’t know. If we’re looking to wholesale to you, in the end in our seller’s eyes, you’ll be our contractor.

And, of course, you can always help by giving good reference to our character and trustworthiness. FYI the staff of whom you may hear them talk about include Sydney, Jonathan, or Richard.

Our guide will give specific instructions to the order of photos. Below are just a few items we emphasize.

  • Take photos in a certain order. Generally it’s
    • Living / Dining / Kitchen / Utility / Garage  / Basement
    • Hallway / Hall Bath / Bedrooms 1, 2, etc. / Master Bedroom / Master Bath (Master is always last)
    • Exterior photos
  • For ALL rooms it’s the same sequence (ingrain this in your head):
    • (from) Four Corners
    • Details
    • Damage
  • Treat the back yard as a room (as in four corners)
  • Unless it makes sense otherwise, ALWAYS take pictures landscape (or sideways)
  • Unless it makes sense otherwise, ALWAYS take video portrait (or vertical)
    • Photograph these issues anywhere you see them:
      Flooring damage, Uneven floors, Sagging doors, Diagonal cracks in the walls (if major, show a pen for scale), Plumbing problems past and present, Water damage, especially in kitchen and bathrooms, The plumbing under all sinks, Water stains on the ceiling, Damaged drywall, Paint blistering, Paint peeling, Cracks in masonry or brick. Always look at window/door corners, Broken or missing light fixtures, etc., Exposed wiring or open electrical boxes., Always, the water heater, air handler, compressor, Close up of the manufacturer’s plate on any equipment, If kitchen appliances are in good condition (less than 5 years), closeups of those, Any unusual features (flat roof, added room, etc.), The preceding items may appear to be a long list, but after a few houses it goes fast.
  • Interior Video
  • Exterior Video
  • Neighborhood Video
  • Upload Photos First, then Video. We’ll send you instructions. A good internet connection is needed. Even with a good connection videos can take a while. That’s why we want  the photos first and separate.
  • The video should have any comments you think are pertinent. We would just assume you tell us in the video of anything unusual you see instead of writing us a note. We want to save you time and effort.
  • We find a typical house will yield 120-140 photos with an average number of features and damage pics. Of course, heavily damaged properties may have more, though the heavier the damage, the less important the photos are because it’s a tear out and rebuild.

The guide is quite detailed, but not onerous. We ask you to read it and understand what we want and color within the lines. This is important to us because when we get 140 photos back from a stranger visiting a property and these procedures and order is not followed, it can take hours to decipher which detail is in which room That’s why we emphasize things like Four Corners – Details – Damage. This way we can take in a lot of information on a property and simply sort photos in the order which they were taken and our staff spends minutes instead of hours. That’s why we pay a bonus when these procedures are followed.

The quality of the photos needed are just smart phone quality, best you can, get as much light as you can.

Again on relating to the seller, talk about anything but the house. Kids, job, hobbies, weather, but concentrate on the house.

Fill out the form below and if you’re detailed enough to read through all this and still care, we’re likely a good fit. Thanks for your interest. 

Following your visit we want you to upload the photos as soon as you can. After that’s done then the videos. Once we get the information our house buying specialist will organize the files and prepare them for our internal use. An evaluation of your work will be done by our Leads Manager as feedback and to determine if we should increase or reduce your compensation according to the guidelines above.

Evaluation (Rate 1 – 5)
_____Were the photos in the prescribed order?
_____Did you get a sense of the layout of the house from looking at the photos in the order they were taken?
_____Photos taken landscape except where portrait was better?
_____Did pictures flow Room – Details – Damage?
_____Correct order of rooms?
_____Attic?
_____Front/Side/Back Yards?
_____Roof/HVAC/WH/Fdn?
_____Video shot Portrait?
_____N’hood  video Landscape?
_____Demerits?
_____Extra Credit?

Property Scout Application-Visual

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