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. Below is a video visit I made to a property, with my beautiful wife following me. I talk slow, so SPEED UP TO 2X!

Visual Scout Training Video


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 work with us taking pictures to help us evaluate properties.

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.

For your protection, if anyone is present at the property during your visit, check with them and wear a mask if requested.

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.

  • 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. 
    • Always: the water heater, electric panel, air handler, compressor, Close up of the manufacturer’s plate on any equipment, kitchen Appliances (if newer than 5 years).
    • 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.
  • 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 typically a gut-and-rebuild.

When we get 140 photos back and our procedures have been followed, it saves us time. 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 they were taken, and our staff spends minutes instead of hours.

We only need smartphone-quality photos.

Following your visit, we want you to upload the photos as soon as you can (remember, photos first, then video.) Once we get the information our house buying specialist will look at the files and we will promptly pay you. We 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 for you.

Here is the evaluation criteria we use (Rate 1 – 5)
_____Photos taken landscape except where portrait was better?
_____Were the photos in the prescribed order?
_____Did pictures flow Room – Details – Damage?
_____Front/Side/Back Yards?
_____Video shot Portrait?
_____Neighborhood  video?

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