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!

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  1. These comments kill me! I’m an independent property inspector myself, and wish to clear up a few misconceptions. The first question you have to ask yourself is: Am i behind on my payments? If you are, or have established a consistent late pay status, the bank may begin the pre-foreclosure process with or without you knowing about it. (I’ve done some of the same houses for years.) This includes paying some fool like me $2-$15(average depending on radius from a major metro area) to drive out and perform an “occupancy inspection.” I don’t know all of the reasons why this is performed. I do however know that if you vacate the property for a certain amount of days, they can lock you out and remove any property you have (to be disposed of, held in a storage location, or auctioned off). I did get my insurance adjusters license several years ago, and was offered a job for an insurance co doing this same thing, however it was to verify that homeowners were truthful when signing up. Finding things like an undeclared pool or trampoline, judging roof condition…..things like that.( Also, dishonesty when signing up for insurance is a felony..Its called something weird..What is is? Oh..Insurance Fraud!) But what I do on a daily basis are pre-foreclosure, bankruptcy, and foreclosure inspections. And it seems suspicious, but we really don’t get paid to sit and chat…have no info to give you.(I honestly don’t know who I’m reporting for, I only have client numbers.) ,and I’m racing daylight so I can get decent pics and work enough to make it worth it. Also..No. I’m not going to dress up, when my job is 100% easier if I don’t stand out, and make people feel like crap for not being able to pay their mortgage. I hope this clears up some of the mud. But if you see someone taking pics of your house. Don’t piss of the cops…Call your mortgage holder first.

  2. A white truck stopped in front of the house this afternoon. It looked like some guy taking a photo. Son ran outside and the guy took off fast like he was scared or something. We’ve Never been late with payment. And all is good. So no idea what’s going on. Last January our truck window was shot out as we were going down the road. But thank God we were not hurt. Lately our relatives who don’t live with us have been getting death threats and notes on their door. Now strange guy taking photos of our house. People should really ID themselves before someone gets seriously hurt.

  3. This is happening to us too – we bought a house few months ago in a nice suburban desirable area in Long Island, New York. I’ve witnessed few people stopping by taking pictures. It’s creepy, I don’t know what to think anymore- the house is alarmed but I don’t feel safe. I’m thinking to put a sign on the driveway or a camera to capture how often this is happening.. Creeepyyyy

  4. Just for those coming up on this — there may be several reasons for this. I take photos of homes as part of my job. I am hired by banks and mortgage companies to verify occupancy and conditions of properties. It could be for many reasons. In some cases, it’s just a random check to be sure a property is occupied. In other cases, the home is in some stage of the foreclosure process, or pre-foreclosure process. It could be comparables for brokers or insurance purposes. Even if you are refinancing, changing your insurance, etc. It could also be investigative in nature if you are on unemployment or disability. Also, if you are behind on your car payments (or if you co-signed for a vehicle that’s behind or even were listed as a reference) I could be there to locate the vehicle for the finance company.

    There are just so many reasons. They don’t always tell me why, and I’m usually not allowed to discuss it because of federal collections laws. We are not required to alert you what we are doing if we stay on public property, but if you ask I will always show you my ID card and give you the name/number of the party who hired me if you want it. Some of you noted the photographers driving “beat up” cars — well, when I do do this work, I drive my 15 year old car because I am often required to drive on seriously rough gravel and dirt roads. After driving my nicer car doing this I learned quickly to use my junkier car because I don’t want to beat it up any more…and because a couple of people have run up on me with bats thinking I was casing their home.

    More often than not, it’s a neighbor who gets mad than the resident themselves. The residents are usually aware of why I might be there — not always, but usually. I never go on the property unless I cannot determine if a property is occupied or not. If I’m looking for a car, I may have documents to deliver or I might knock on the door looking for a person that may have moved. In those cases, I’m often required to also take photos to prove that I was there. If a property is empty or abandoned I usually have to take more photographs, check for damage, post a note indicating that we think it’s vacant or abandoned, etc. Another reason I take photos are for landlords checking on the condition of rental properties, or as a matter of quality control for landscapers and contractors.

    Either way… if it’s me, if you wave me down, I will explain what I’m doing. Any reputable person should…though not all of them will. You should ask to see their ID or badge, or at the very least get a name and number of the company that hired them. If they don’t give that to you then you should be worried.

    In the communities I go, I’ve gone to the local police departments and given them my information so if anyone calls in (and they have) the police can tell them who I am and what I’m likely doing. Rest assured, anything I’m doing is 100% legal. It’s disconcerting if you don’t understand. IN the case of mortgage companies, it’s important to know that if a property is in foreclosure (or potentially so) the mortgage company has a responsibility to be sure the property is maintained – so I am sent out (usually once a month) to make sure the property hasn’t been vandalized or abandoned. Even if you are a month or two behind on payments, it could trigger an in-person property check. Sometimes I will only go once… other times I go once a month for 6-7 months or more.

  5. Im in Sydney and just saw this outside my place. The photographer was in the back seat and seemed to take my place and the houses either side of me. The drove down the road, turned back and did it again. Ive been here 20 years though!

  6. The ones that drive up and take pictures of my house are field agents that get paid per report by the mortgage company/bank. Mortgage company sends a guys out to take pics when Im late on my mortgage payments. They want to have proof that the house has not been abandoned and someone is in fact living in the house and taking care of THIER property investment. you can cjeck on your mortgage statement, there will be a ‘physical property check up’ or something along those words and a fee from $20. to $50. listed. That for that guy to come out and take a picture and send it to the mortgage company/bank.

    If you have a mortgage on your house it belongs to them up until you make that last paymemt.

  7. Do what i do! Plant huge bushes and block your drive way/view. Whaaaalaaa! No pics!

  8. I bough my house 15 years ago so it’s not being used for comps. My debts are all paid timely. I have people taking pics of my house in a suspicous fashion ALL THE TIME. It is unnerving. If I approach them they speed off. It has happened no less than 7 times in the last few weeks! My house is not listed, there is no “make me sell” on Zillow. The photographers are all different ages and vehicles. I want to buy a camera and get their plates and report them.

  9. i think its creepy and also dangerous. my daughter ran into the house scared. i came outside to defend my kids by any means
    i guess he was meant to live another day.

  10. I have a “no trespassing sign” in front of my property and someone drove up all the way into my driveway anyway and took photos. (without leaving their car and then left.) This was today at 8am. Appraisers or not they had no business trespassing. If there is a sign up they shouldn’t have come up my driveway at all. Suspicious. I am rich by no means at all but I do have the biggest house in the neighborhood (thanks to my now completely spent inheritance) and now I am nervous….thank God I have a good security system. That’s the snag of having a nice home….everyone wants a piece. Any advice on what to do?

  11. No Trespassing signs may not apply to the situation. It all depends on what they are doing and why… and the local rules and laws where you live. In many cases, if they have a lawful reason for being on your property, they are allowed to be there – signs or not. In some cases, they must leave if you verbally ask them to go, but that really depends on the situation, and again, your local rules/laws. Every city, county/parish and state are different. There are so many reasons it could be happening (see my post above from 2 years ago on this). It’s possible you have very likely already granted certain people access to your property through certain contracts without knowing it – despite no trespassing signs. Purchase agreements for property (including if you cosigned for somebody else), utility work and maintenance, homeowner insurance claims and investigations, even disability and unemployment claims and investigations. Do you have a gardener, perhaps? The person may be there to verify the work of that person. There are just so many possible reasons it could be happening — but especially if you moved in or out, refinanced or did any major work to your home in the last year. It could even be somebody from your county reassessing tax values…or code compliance issues, etc. Again… tons and tons of reasons it could happen. If you’re worried, report them to your local authorities, but there’s a likely a really good explanation. And no… they aren’t necessarily required to ask permission. If your driveway is accessible from a public roadway (not gated, etc) signs alone may not mean anything.

  12. A asian man knocked on my door and asked to take photos of my home.somebody sent a email to him.i seen the email had Pbphotos as the email.with my address he had no reason why he was there just other than he’s responding to an email. I called my mortgage company they didn’t see any notes in the system for anybody to come out to take pictures. I’m in Louisiana

  13. I am a property inspector for multiple banks and mortgage companies. No Tresspassing signs do not apply to people who work for your bank or mortgage company. I can enter your property at any time to perform work for the mortgage company. I can take pictures, I can leave notes on your door, and in cases of where the property has been vacated, I will tag the door giving the occupant a certain number of days to dispute the vacancy of the house.

    If no one disputes that the house is vacant, I can legal drill the locks off your door, enter your home, drain the water out of your pipes and water heater to protect against damage and place locks on your house that can only be opened by the keys in the lockbox I attach to the front door.

    I also can cut your grass, trim your hedges, removing dangerous debris from your yard and eventually empty and clean your house so it can be sold by the mortgage company.

    No Tresspassing signs means nothing to us as we are allowed to do all these things by law.

  14. My neighbor told me a grey van pulled about 35 yards onto my driveway and started videoing my property this morning! Why would anyone do this?

  15. There can be many reasons why someone takes a photo of your house Your Lender requires somebody to go out there and snap a couple Photos they could either be doing a loan modification, Or you are refinancing Or you can be in pre foreclosure or foreclosure, And for our safety were not allowed to contact the homeowner When you have a situation where it’s a for closure you don’t want somebody waiting for you when you come take photos as long as you stay off the property then what you’re doing is completely legal

  16. thank you for posting this. I had my neighbor tell me this morning someone was parked in a black impala with tinted windows taking photos in the direction of my house. last night in the dark on a Sunday. he knocked on the window and said 2 nice dressed people a man and a woman were in the car and told him to mind his own business. but I was thinking that is weird, we rent the house, have lived here for almost 6 months and nothing shady going on. why would they be looking at our house on a Sunday night?

  17. I understand that if you are behind on your mortgage someone will take pics of your property. However today my neighbor had his house picture taken….then the guy pulled up and was taking pictures of our house. We are not behind on mortgage…and are not in forclosure. The guy looked homeless driving a old crappy car and had dealer plates on his front and back license plates.
    I confronted him….he said he was a rep from the bank and that he was performing a service of inspection for them.
    When asked why he was taking pics of our house he stated he was just taking pics of the entire neighborhood for neighborhood value. I found this to be a crock of shit…..and informed him to leave or I would make him leave.

  18. Do they usually stop to take pics or do they drive real slow? Im behind on my morgage and my neighbor said there was a girl driving by real slow in front of my house with her phone out the window?

  19. Jason, I have just started a job in the property inspection business. Yes, we ARE required to take photos of the “neighborhood” so that the company has an idea of how to value the home in question, due to the fact that they may have to prepare for it to go up for sale or auction.

    Lisa, Every inspector handles they way they do their inspection a little differently as most are privately contracted. But, I would guess, to get a good photo, the inspector would need to stop their vehicle.

    I would also add that you can rest easy that these photos are handled with strict confidentiality. At least with the company I work for, once the photos are taken they are sent off to the company. The inspectors keep no physical paperwork with sensitive information. The same goes for any reports. (If, by chance, there were outstanding photos or reports that did exist, they are immediately destroyed once cases are closed.) Inspectors are held to a pretty high standard of confidentiality and privacy. Also, we really do not want to know your business. We are just doing our job and moving along.

  20. Yeah this same thing just happened to me just a few minutes ago. its the second time. its really annoying and weird. I have lived the house for 8 months. i have no idea whats going on.

  21. Would be nice to know where these people are located no? I’m in NY, Suffolk County. This morning I was a “concerned neighbor”. I mean if that woman was my neighbor I think I’d be protective of her as well. The words just came out ” ahh who are you, do you’ve ID?” idk she wasn’t so forthcoming, as this article tells me we should be worried? My brain then said, it’s none of my business and I moved on. Nor my problem? Unless she’s a terrorist plotting to blow up our street? Yes it woylkd of been more professional of her to state her name and organization but hey who am I????

  22. I am certain it is real estate appraisers. My husband is one and that is exactly what he does. When you borrow, refinance, buy or sale a home it has to have an appraisal most of the time. Appraisals come with 3 comparable homes near (within a 5 mile distance) and photos of them.

    You mentioned your home was only 7 months old so that more than explains it. Because appraisal compatibles have to be bought, sold or built with a year or two of the one being appraised.

    Hope that helps.

  23. Keep in mind…for the neighbors of such properties, if the person doesn’t tell you what you want to know, it may be because they are not legally allowed to under Federal, state laws or even court orders. It could be a debt collection issue, a court investigation (unemployment, workers comp, insurance, etc)… Or totally innocent real estate comps. As long as it is from a public place, it is 100% legal and there is very likely a totally legit reason for it. If the person goes on to the property (say to deliver a letter or post a notice) they likey have legal right to do so, depending on the situation. They shouldn’t be loitering ON the property or breaking in, obviously. But they CAN sit and wait or watch a property if they are waiting for someone or if they need to document the occupancy of a property. If you have a true concern, call your local police dispatch (NOT 911 unless it’s life or death!) And report it.

  24. Hello, this has been happening to me as well but very late nights. Between the times of 1:30am-2am for the past couple of days and it’s actually the same car. They pass by my house but you can hear another person talking through the Bluetooth as the driver slowly approaches certain houses while saying the house numbers out loud etc. it was a Honda Accord with a distinct muffler noise. Is this possibly a newspaper company? Or should i be worried? They never stop at our house. Just others but it’s very suspicious and weird.

  25. Its most likely an appraiser.Appraisers are required to take original photographs of all of the comparable sales that they use as support for the subject property opinion of value.

  26. Not legal if they don’t stop when you ask them to, and/or You, your house number, cars or your artwork is in their photo for commercial use.
    You can sue!!

    I had an appraiser so obsessed that he did it on 4th of July while we were enjoying family on a holiday.

  27. The people recording the houses and properties in our rural area are not appraisers. Everyone tries to make logic of this, but they are up to no good. Sorry. Too many scams. Turn them in. Why do you think all these old vehicles belong to appraisers? I have never seen an appraiser drive a 20 year old vehicle.

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