Apparently there is still a lot of appraisers, lenders and AMCs out there that believe that USPAP requires the appraiser to take photos of comparables. I had an AMC recently tell me that "comp photos are required by USPAP." My response was "please tell me where in USPA it says that". I have yet to receive an answer. That is because there is no USPAP requirement for this nor does USPAP even require the appraiser to take ANY photos of anything. The requirement that an appraiser take photos of comparables is actually an assignment condition of the client.
FNMA does not specifically require that photos of comps be taken by the appraiser. FNMA requires that the appraiser "inspect each of the comparable sales from at least the street". It should be noted that FNMA does NOT say the appraiser must "physically" inspect each of the comparables from the street. It might be implied because when the requirement was included in the work scope, Street View applications like Google Earth probably did not yet exist or were not as advanced. Until FNMA revises their work scope; using a Street View application to "inspect comps from the street" should be considered. If you are not familiar with this feature you are missing out. You can drop down on the street in front of the comp and walk around the neighborhood if you like. This is by far much more useful and safer than driving by a comp to "inspect it" for 2 seconds while taking a photo and fleeing the scene. It would not be surprising to see FNMA address this and specifically require this in the future. However, clients will likely continue to include such requirements as "comp photos much be concurrent or be taken by the appraiser" in their assignment conditions so until then don't forget to charge accordingly for those hour spent driving those country roads to get that perfect picture of that gate. Comments and thoughts please.