Why Are People Taking Pictures of Our House?

Ok, so this is the second time I have seen people taking pictures of our house. Who knows if there are more than that when I’m not home or not looking? The first time I witnessed this was about a month ago. A silver Impala drove past the driveway a little bit, stopped and the passenger stuck a camera out the window and took a picture of the house. Then today, not ten minutes ago, a green Murcury Sable (had to be from the early 90′s) did the same thing except that it was the driver and he was talking on his cell phone while he did it. They are definitely aiming at the house, not the fields around us and then they drive off like nothing.

Should I be concerned about this? Are we being “cased”? I mean seriously, what the hell? The house is not for sale and we haven’t done anything interesting to the outside yet. We’ve only been here 7 months!!! But two people within two months? That’s kinda odd, right? How many times does anyone else drive by someone’s home and take a picture? Is our house just that interesting to look at? I didn’t think it was THAT unique! PLUS, they are not taking pictures of all the houses on the street, they never stop for the one across the street from us.

Noone that I know of ever took a picture of our house on Alsace!

45 thoughts on “Why Are People Taking Pictures of Our House?”

  1. It could be appraisers doing Comps for other homes for sale in the area… our appraisal included snapshots of 3 other houses. You’d think they could use the original listing photos or something, but maybe they aren’t easy to find after the house sells or maybe the appraisers probably need to do SOME verification themselves.

    Could be something totally different, but I can’t think what.

  2. Actually, the first thing that came through my mind is the people who might have lived in the house before are suddenly nostalgic. I know I drive by my old house where I grew up especially slowly when showing someone like Mark, etc….maybe that’s it????

    I admit, it’s odd. I would probably go up to them and say “can I help you?” But of course, this is what I would want the people who own my old house to do when I drive by. ;)

  3. Well, since there are only a half-dozen or so homes in the town of Holland (I should know, I grew up there) perhaps the uniqueness of a house amidst the farmland is something those passing by want to capture for themselves!

    Are you SURE they weren’t photographing the cow grazing next door?

    BBD

  4. @BBD – No cows as neighbors, just pigs. :)
    @Jennifer – We drive by our previous house occasionally too.
    @Sara – This is probably a likely explanation. As BBD said, there’s not a lot of houses in our area, and the selling season is starting to kick into gear. Amanda found the same explanation on another site as well.

  5. The people taking photos of your house are almost certainly doing appraisals on nearby homes, using your home as a comparable sale. I know this because I run Appraisal Services of WNY, a residential real estate appraisal business. I’m also a Real Estate Broker.

    If you’re in the t/o Wales, Holland, or Sardinia there are probably very few recent transfers of homes similar to yours, particularly if it is something other than a ranch-style residence. Appraisers must inspect the subject property and take current photos of comparable sales (sort of proves you actually drove the properties). While the MLS photo might often be an accurate representation of the property at the time of sale, there are many things you can’t determine from an MLS photo or the Listing agent’s comments.

    When you buy a house, you should be aware that there will likely be appraisers taking photos of it for up to a year. I always let people know what I’m doing when they see me taking photos of their home, particularly if there are kids out in the yard.

    While you may think 7 months or a year is a long time, I’ll bet that the value of property you bought hasn’t changed measurably since last fall – so it is probably still a reliable indicator of value (“comparable sale”) for nearby homes of similar size, age, condition, style and appeal. Lets face it, there just ain’t that many “comps” of any kind in the t/o Wales, or Holland or wherever you are.

    So many types of appraisals require comp photos (refi’s, Purchase Mortgages, home equity loans, appraisal reviews, assesment challenges, matrimonial issues, estate valuation, etc). While there are lots of appraisals being conducted all the time, there are a limited number of comps. So Rest assurred, it is appraisers taking photos.

  6. This does make me feel better! It would have been a nice thing to know from our Realtors. I really don’t mind if people take pics, I just wanted to know why! New Mother paranoia kicking in, I guess!

    Thanks, everyone for alleviating some of my fears! Now what can you tell me about Epidurals or C-Sections? :)

  7. Hi Amanda !
    I was very happy when I goggled this complaint and found your messages ! I too am going through the same problem. I just moved into the house in December and have seen about 8 people (all different cars) drive by and take photos ! It is kind of freaky and annoying especially when you have no idea why ! Thanks to your post – Im beginning to believe it is appraisers. Thks ! Wouldn’t it be nice though if they could knock on the door and let us know what they are doing !!
    As far as Epidurals and C-Sections – I have had two and have no complaints !!
    Dee

  8. What about pictures being taken in the middle of the night? We have been in our house almost 2 years and have had a dozen or so people take pictures in the last 3 weeks. Our neighbor came over today to tell us there were at least 3 people who came by after 11pm last night and the flashes were going directly into his bedroom. Why would appraisers be working at that hour??? Anyone else with this problem? I am afraid our house has accidentally been listed as a foreclosure but I cannot find it on any websites although another house on our street is listed.

  9. Yes today I saw someone drive by my house, turn around, then drive by slowly, passenger rolled down the window and took a picture. Last time I saw them do that was a few months ago, I went outside and started to take pictures of them, didn’t even bother to tell me what they were doing.

  10. thanks for the appraisal info. I was seriously thinking that my house was being cased for an armed robbery.

  11. We’ve also been having people take pictures of our house — and we’ve been in it for 3 months. We talked to realtors and knew they didn’t take pictures — just get them off the internet. But appraisers makes sense. Usually the cars they are driving are not “realtor” cars, if you know what I mean.

  12. this sounds like your mortgage company’s doing, I work for safeguard properties and we get upwards of 40homes a day we have to visit, all we do is snap a few pics and leave occasionally leaving a contact card, If your late on your payments than dont be surprised, if not try talking to them and they will/are supposed to stop according to our policy. Keep in mind if your home was previously owned by someone who failed to pay and sold theproperty their mortgage company could still be staking the home for foreclosure although they must make contact before doing anything

  13. I have some homes that I rent out . I was told by my tenants a man stopped and took pictures of 2 of my homes in past 2 weeks . The man told my one tenant I was refinancing the house. I have owned these homes for about 3 years now and do not have any mortgage loans on them. I cannot figure out what’s going on.

  14. Well im freaking out now.I have seen 3 different cars in the past 3 days. when i saw the first one i though she was taking a picture of my van on the grass cause here in florida you can get fined but in brevard county you dont. So when she made the u turn at the end of the street and i made a sign for her to stop she lowered her passenger window only half way and i asked why is she taking pictures of my van and she said she was taking pictures of the street, It was kind of odd but i left it at that, now yesterday another car and today a mini van with 2 people in it. the weird thing is that when i told my husband my daqughter heard me and said she saw a flash throught the living room window but thought it was lightning until the dog began to bark then she saw a man run in a car and take off. This is really scaring me because i think if an appraiser is going to take pictures they should do it in the day time and atleast announce their presence but at night this is scary cause i have lived here for a year and never seen something similar. Now is there someone i can call to find out whats going on?

  15. Glad I found these posts. My family and I just rented a house in pretty nice suburban area and my new neighbor just mentioned that his wife saw a guy on a Harley stop a couple of times and take pictures. He said the guy didn’t look like a hardcore biker or anything but he thought he should tell me. My first thought is that he was “casing” our house but we just moved in, we don’t have particularyly nice cars and someone is almost always home so I can’t imagine our house would be an ideal one to burglarize.
    Also, it seems that if you were “casing” a house doing it on a motorcycle would be kind of stupid because you can be so easilize identified. It still has motivated me to reactivate our landlord’s security system though…

  16. today, some guy was taking pictures then , my dad went out to see and the guy just pulled off. its kinda freaky i guess were bieng followed. but dont know the reason why?>

  17. This just happened to me too. We were sitting in the livingroom when an older man and women passed our house and then backed up and pulled in front of the house slowly so that the man driving could take a picture of the house. When Mike went outside to see what the man was doing, they just drove off. I was really freaked out, but the people really didnt look like robber types. I thought maybe they were PI’s … and that freaked me out even more!

  18. I’ve been in my house since June ’07 and a few times a year someone comes by and takes pictures like everyone here is saying, plain car, plain clothes, slow to take pic and then speed away. I’m still trying to figure out why and as I said, unlike everyone else here, I’ve been in this house for 4 1/2 years now.

  19. Thank you for asking this question. My neighbors and I have seen the same woman in the same truck two weekends in row taking pictures in front of our homes and we got a little worried. We all have small children and they were out playing so we questioned and she said it is for the bank. We still didn’t believe her so then I googled it and here is my answer. Thank you so much to everyone for their input now we call all rest in our California Neighborhood.

  20. We just moved into our new house about 8 weeks ago, and unfortunately have had some vandalism (maybe as an initaition?!) so we have been a little on edge about people around our house. Well, this morning i saw a car pull up and take photos, so i ran to the door and asked them politely what they were doing…they replied “just taking photos” and drove off i yelled “For what?” and they kept going…so i ran and got my shoes jumped in the car and tracked them down because i knew they had to turn around because it is a dead end road. I pulled up to them and asked what they were doing…and they said getting an appraisal…and i said well that is all you had to say instead of driving off. I also told them we had been getting vandallized so we were a little on edge. She showed me the paperwork for the houses that she was appraising in the area and then proceeded to say that it was a public road and she could do that. I said that was fine, but just being curtious and letting us know why she was taking the pictures before driving off or coming and knocking on the door first, seeing that there were cars in the driveway. Anywho, Im glad i chased them down and asked because i would have been up all night worried we were going to be robbed!

  21. My wife and I are building a house and we want ideas for exterior colors for the stone/paint combinations. Looking at the builder’s small samples of colors and textures doesn’t really give us an accurate picture of what our home would look like so we are going around taking pictures of the houses we like in the hopes of getting some good ideas for ourselves. There are a handful of upscale homes in the area that have great colors that help give us ideas about what we would like to do with our own house.

  22. the person who took pictures of the houses around here took pictures of a kid at the park as well this is weird and i don’t know what they are up to but i think if they are realiter people or whatever someone needs to give them a set of guidlines to follow and they need to ask people before taking pictures and yes i know the law you can take public pictures without permission but to take a picture of someones child at the park you can’t deny that’s messed up i think people should always watch out for these kind of warning signs never say never

  23. It is odd, and what is even stranger is that first there was a camera flash in the front of our house near the front door, and then one in the back the next night near the backdoor.What is this junk? noone should be coming onto anyone else’s property to take pictures at night, at all!!!So what is the real answer.

  24. I am having this problem, I am in a duplex and have been here for about 4 months now. This has happened about 3 times that I am certain of. Today I got sick of it after confronting the woman in the car and she ignored me, so I got her license plate number and called the cops. They are in the process of going to her home to tell her to stay the hell away from my house! If you don’t tolerate the crap, it won’t happen….that’s my motto lol.

  25. I’m an appraiser and take on average photos of 8-10 homes each day. We take photos of recently sold homes as well as active or pending listings to use as “comps” in developing an appraisal report. There is nothing illegal about what we’re doing as long as we are on public property and taking photos of the home that can be seen by anyone walking on the sidewalk or driving by the home. A couple of things I wanted to say; 1) Appraisers do not work at night. If someone is taking a photo of your home at night, be highly suspicious. I remember once seeing an MLS photo taken by a Realtor that obviously was taken at night, but that is highly uncommon and quite frankly just plain strange. 2) Appraisers do not take photos of the back of your home (unless they are actually appraising your home that is). If someone is taking a photo of the back of your home over the back fence, that is highly suspicious and should be called into the police. Another thing, we’re not to take photos of a house if someone (adult or child) is in the frame. If I drive by a home that I want a photo of and someone is standing in front I drive by and come back later. 3) We’re not to trespass in order to take a photo. If your home is located up a marked “Private Road” road or gated driveway, we will take a photo of the Private Road sign or the gate and leave.

    In parting I’ll also mention I’ve been screamed obscenities at, chased, had beer bottles thrown at me just trying to do my job. Don’t do that please. :-)

  26. Thank you so much for the message. Some dude stopped infront of my house and took picture. I ran barefoot chased him down. He asked something about refinance some mortgage some thing about money and the house. Now I guess he’s an appraiser, new on the job. Thanks.

  27. Same happened to me. Usually it is someone from the insurance company and/or appraisers. I got a letter about a week ago from my insurance company that someone will stop by for the qualification of my roof (hail/windstorm) insurance.

  28. I just saw someone taking a picture of my house and the one next door. I have lived here 25 years, do not have a mortgage, have not talked to my insurance agent and have not talked to a realtor about selling it. There seems to be more going on here than appraisers roving around.

  29. Great post! I was googling the same thing. Moved into my house in Anaheim Hills 3-4 months ago and saw someone in a really beat up car casually drive by, turn around, and, while driving, snap a shot of my house through his window. Might be an appraiser or the be the bank…I thought it was for more nefarious purposes, but now reading the comments, you’ve appeased my concern. Thanks!

  30. Wow this seems way more common then I thought! I was home with my 2 year old and 1 month old, and a man in a white Impala turned in front of my house, drove slowly and snapped a picture. By the time I got downstairs he was already gone. My Father just recently passed away and he was the mortgage holder so i am thinking it was the bank or possible appraiser. Anything is better than a would-be burglar

  31. My neighbor took a photo of a casually dressed male taking photos of front and back of my home. I remain concerned about this because my vehicle has been vandalised in the past. Yesterday, I received a random phone call at work from a company who was trying to recruit a former employee who is a Notary Public to perform “site verifications” which consists of taking a photo with their cell phone. When I told the woman the person was no longer employed at our company, she asked me if I was interested in performing the site verifications and I declined. I live in Nevada and there are several homes in foreclosure, etc. and Chapter 13 consequently, the necessity of taking photos of homes is understandable. HOWEVER, I believe one should always be pro-active and alert. Thanks to my neighbor, I feel safer and I have a photo of the photographer who was standing in my driveway not on public property. Hmmm, time to file a police report just in case something happens. Thanks to all who posted about this issue. America has many freedoms and I will not hesitate to assert mine when it comes to protecting my right to privacy.

  32. I’m a broker who performs BPOs (broker price opinions), a type of property valuation, for lenders. They are ordered by a mortgage co. or bank for many different reasons, including to simply assess the current values of their holdings. Other reasons that should be more obvious to the owner are default, refi, pmi drop, and heloc. The valuation report usually requires front, address, and street photos. Some brokers employ “picture takers” off craigslist to take the photos for them who may be driving beat-up cars and not look professional. I’ve completed thousands of BPOs. I am only one of a dozen agents doing them in my small town so they are very common.

  33. Hello , this has just happened to me. It happen to me last night at 11:30 pm. I was falling asleep when suddenly i hear a car engine go on. I go to the window to see what happening and a white police car(didnt have the stickers tho). So like the car had black windows and i couldnt see anything. And then all of a sudden the guy puts the window down, takes 2 pictures and runs of. My dad says that it might be someone that takes pictures as always. Put the problem is that this happened at night and does pictures are taken at day time.

  34. This just happened to me about 4 pm. I have lived here for 6 years but have recently refinanced. I heard a car park. Looked out the window and saw a lady take a picture with her phone and a man on his phone in the passenger seat. I have kind of a party house and have freinds over alot and I was thinking it was the cops casing me or somebody casing me to rob me. Appraisels sound alot better…haha. It was jus so weird though. Any other ideas what they could have been doing???

  35. We just bought our house a month ago.We have had 4 people in cars taken pictures of our house.One guy came on our property while my kids were playing asking if that was a house in the back.or garage he had a clipboard.but when my son when to get his father he was gone.I just had a guy not 30 min.ago take another picture of our house.This is getting really annoying. At least they should identify themselves. This is my home and privacy.

  36. I just called the cops on a guy who was driving by and taking pictures of my house that I purchased recently. I was outside moving around my sprinklers, and was, at one point, about 15 feet from his open window. My girlfriend got his plate I do and we called the police. Now the cops are going to bother him. We have an officer who lives in the neighborhood, and he’s down to keep knuckleheads out of here. He should have had the courtesy to let me know what he was doing, and there would have been no issue. If I had seen him taking pictures, I would have confronted him myself, but I just figure he was either lost or checking out the house for sale on the other side of the cul de sac. My girlfriend is the one who noticed him taking photos and got the plate number. Illegal or not, if there are people outside, these folks should have the courtesy of identifying themselves and stating their business when possible. People are protective of their homes And privacy, and rightly so.

  37. At 11pm tonight someone took pic of my house i saw the flashes they drove up a pit and then tok another drove up to the next house and took another then left whats going on …

  38. About a month and a half ago I saw a man in a green van taking pics of my place from across the street… I followed him and got his plate number…a few days ago my neighbor spotted a man taking pics of the property again…This is kind of freaky….I fear for my family and self…I’m thinking of filing a complaint to the police department….

  39. I googled this because I am having multiple people stopping by and taking pics of my home. I also see them taking pics of other homes in the area. It’s very weird. They are always nerdy looking with fancy cameras. Not the type I think would burglarize my home. Especially as much as I take my guns out. I will be sure to approach them next time for sure. If they see you staring they usually are quick to leave. It’s always kinda freaky when they are around. Especially when neighbors call and ask if your selling your house.

  40. I just had someone pull all the way up my driveway, which is about 30 yards long, back out and take pictures of the front of my house. I don’t know what he did while he was in the back of the house. I was inside working and didn’t see he pull in, just out and then take the picture and pull away quickly. I bought this house over 10 years ago and it’s unique with an addition which none of the other houses in the area have, so I doubt it’s appraisers. It makes me nervous.

  41. So I have a friend that has a flyer delivery route.. he let me kno that his job is to take pictures of a home on the block as proof he’s doing his job.. hey if he’s not a realtor maybe he’s got a job throwing flyers … Your best bet is adt lol good luck to ya

  42. I saw a man yesterday is a very old looking beat up car. He was taking a picture of my house after midnight. We were watching TV and saw a flash in the window. I went and looked out to see him jump in his car and speed away. I have lived in this house for over 15 years. We have no mortgage. One thing we do have though is the biggest house on the entire street. This has happened over a dozen times. I am kind of scared for my family and I. If something ever happens, we have guns and guard dogs. I don’t quite think that the bank is hiring people to take pictures in the middle of the night and I don’t think people want to compare my house to theirs or get ideas or whatever in the middle of the night. I’m pretty freaked out. I think I’m being cased… >_<

  43. We just had the 2nd person in 6 days take pictures of the house. At first I thought it was a neighbor needing the address to make a complaint since he pulled up in the driveway and took a picture of the garage that has the house number. Then today around 8 am, a different car with out of state plates and different person took a picture from the driveway. I know it’s not illegal from the street, but they were in the driveway. The first person also showed up within 10 minutes of our car leaving. I have thought of every scenario and nothing makes sense. We don’t do anything at all to cause complaints, we don’t have a unique house. And we are in a culdesaq. Appraisers or insurance people kind of make sense but not 6 days apart.

  44. I just had this happen to me today in Columbus, Ohio. I am working from home, and my dogs went crazy. Looked out my side bay window, and there was a guy, standing on my property (i.e., not the street), taking pictures of the bay window portion of my home. I went out and asked him what he was doing, and he said he was taking pictures “for the bank”. I asked which bank, and he said he didn’t know, but he’s asked to do this for Bank of America, Sallie Fae, etc. I said that I thought he had the wrong house, as the house next door is bank-owned and people are always coming by and taking photos, but he listed my address. I did tell him that while I couldn’t ban him from taking photos from the street, I could and was in fact asking him to get off my property. He was polite, said he understood and left. I’m thinking they have the wrong address, but it still kind of unnerved me.

    My HOE loan (which only has a few thousand dollars left on it) is through my employer’s credit union. My payments are auto pay directly from my paycheck, so I’m never late, and never have been late. I hope it’s an error and not someone casing, or that my financier is about to sell the loan off. I just don’t think they are supposed to come onto the property, much less be shooting photos of such specific items, like my bay window alcove at the side/back of the house!

  45. I saw a man taking photos on our block today and I figured he was an appraiser. I introduced myself and asked him if I could help him. He told me he was an appraiser. I asked for his card in case we needed an appraiser and he wigged out on me. He told me he was not giving me his card and he was just doing his job. I was like what the heck. I just walked away. I hope he never appraises my house. I wanted to tell him I was sorry but I am afraid he might punch me.

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