Over the past year I have become increasingly involved in doing BPO's and although at times they can be a real pain to do for not much money. I have developed a fairly good relationship with three companies. I have been able to negotiate an acceptable fee structure and during these recent slack times I've kept myself occupied with two to three a week. Although most are validation reports I have been able to pick up around 30% of them as fresh listings which fortunately I have been able to dispose of in relatively short order.
As those of you who do BPO's know sometimes the areas you go into are not the best and you can have an interesting experience. Two days ago I received a request for one of those 24 hour turn around BPO which simply was a drive by, exterior with one shot of the front, address verification and a street scene. The property was located out in a rural part of the county in a high growth area. So I pulled the property records and saw that it was a relatively new property (Built in 2003) that it set on slightly over an acre. I pulled up Google Earth and looked at the Arial and it looked nice but it was isolated and off the highway about 150 yards down a paved circular drive. So I immediately knew I could not just drive by. I'd have to drive onto the property, get out of my car and snap at least 1 picture.
You have to realize that this is South East Georgia and if this property was occupied; the current owners apparently had an issue with their lender and might be less than friendly to a stranger. So being somewhat familiar with the ways of the world I put on a shoulder hoister with a 40 cal semi-auto, a lanyard with my ID (with picture), grabbed my camera and leave my home about 7 am headed to the assignment.
I arrive at the address, get out of my car camera in hand walk to the front door, and knock....No response. All the windows were closed, no lights were on and no cars were in the drive. So I snap a couple of pictures of the front and since I was out of the car I thought I might as well get as many different angle of the property as I could. I eventually moved to the back of the house. As I rounded the corner I saw a dump truck, an excavator and a pickup in an area several hundred feet from the boundry of the property. I wave and go on about my business. A few minutes later as I am working my way around the house I hear a vehicle coming up from behind. Out jumps this rather large man, hollering "Who are you; State Your Business and What are you doing on my Land." Not wanting to cause a major confrontation I turned slowly allowing the gentleman to see that I was armed and at least appeared to be some sort of official ID. I then closed the area between the two of us, speaking in a calm voice as I approached. Although it was apparent that he was highly agitated he did stop and listen to my explanation. I gave him a card along with the name of the company and my contact there for verification. He was somewhat befuddled for their request for the photos since he stated that there was no delinquency that he was aware of. I informed him that was not my issue all I was doing was a BPO for this company and part of the process required photographs which in this case required me coming onto the property since the house could not be seen form the highway. He appeared to understand and we parted. Fortunately I avoided a potentially bad situation for what reasons I really am not sure, perhaps it was the fact that I was obviously armed and had official appearing ID, or perhaps it was the unaroused manner in which I spoke to the gentleman. This event got me to wondering if others in the AR community who did BPO's have had a close call or two? If so what was it and how did you handle it?