Photographing an ENTIRE subdivision

Real Estate Appraiser with
I recently started a new practice for doing field reviews.  When I am in the neighborhood, I may not yet have discovered better comps to use and I don’t want to have to drive back by the homes for new photos.   So here is a solution:

You could individually photograph the entire neighborhood as you drive, but then you have to remember where you were, which house was which, etc!

OR – you could use the video setting on your camera, and just video the entire drive!   I recently took video of a whole neighborhood, commenting along the way about homes, house numbers, which cross street I was at, etc!

Then, back in the office, I play the video full screen, skipping forward to where I want to be, and then pause the video on the frame of the video to be use.  In this case, I wanted a certain house number, and paused the video right in front of the home.  

Next, using Jing (screen capture) – I simply hit the hot key (F8) and grabbed a screen shot of the home:



Not bad, right?!  And this is MY personal photo instead of an MLS photo.  So I can certify I drove by the home and I even have the video recording in my workfile for support!

You can get Jing (for FREE) at or pay $14.95 a year for the PRO version.  The pro version allows you to edit video screen captures, save in multiple file formats, and even upload directly to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter!   It’s a great program!

And now – I have on file – and ENTIRE subdivision which I drove anyway to get familiar with the area!  Don’t tell PITA….but I killed 2 birds with 1 stone!

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Melanie Hedrick
Elite Texas Properties, the best homes from McKinney to Dallas! - McKinney, TX

That's a great idea  -- now you can build up your library of neighborhood videos.  Thanks for the Jing tip!

Mar 04, 2011 05:05 AM #1
Martin Dorgan
Prudential Indiana Realty - Columbus, IN

Great Idea! Thanks! Richard, I appreciate the information.  I'll have to try it out, just to see what happens.  But it would also make a great expose of specific neighborhoods.

Mar 04, 2011 05:08 AM #2
Chris Smith
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage - New Tecumseth, ON
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta

This is a very good idea, Richard.  When doing a CMA in an area of custom homes, this information could be pragmatically obtained in this manner.

Mar 04, 2011 05:47 AM #3
Jesse Skolkin
Independent New York State Certified Real Estate Appraiser - Fresh Meadows, NY

I guess you have to drive down each street twice to get homes on both sides.

Mar 05, 2011 03:29 AM #4
Richard D. Ferris - Clermont, FL
Florida State Certified (FHA) Appraiser

Jesse - yes I did.  In this small subdivision, many of the streets ended in cul de sacs.  So it made sense to drive them.  I wouldn't do this for one of the larger ones near me (with multiple subdivisions in a master planned community).   But it is great for the immediate area.

I often end up finding a new comp to use from public records, and then have to drive back out to the subdivision to get it...since FHA appraisal and Fannie Mae reviews require original photos at the time of my inspection.

So leveraging the technology works!

Mar 05, 2011 04:51 AM #5
Richard Glesser
North Country Appraisal Services - Gaylord, MI

A benefit of urban appraising.  It's been many, many years since I've done a report where the subject and comps were from 1 subdivision.  I can only remember a couple from the past several years where all were within 1 mile.

Mar 06, 2011 11:29 PM #6
Douglas Belcher
RE/MAX of Nanaimo - Nanaimo, BC

Windows 7 has a built in screen capture program that saves as a PNG Gif or Jpg. The program is called "snipping tool".

Mar 07, 2011 03:42 AM #7
Richard D. Ferris - Clermont, FL
Florida State Certified (FHA) Appraiser

@Richard- I could not imagine doing this in anything but a cluster subdivision or urban environment!  It wouldn't work so well on the rural county roads - that's for sure...except for long pauses and my commentary stating "more trees...more trees.....uh...more trees.......oh 16501 CR 33.......more trees....."   ;)

@Doug - good to know! I use Vista - I have a couple of other snipping programs too for more advanced options - what a life saver these are for emails, blogging and now even photos...

Mar 07, 2011 05:02 AM #8
Virtual Home Explorer
Virtual Home Explorer - Peoria, IL

We have been implementing this idea for about 6 months now. We shoot video of neighborhoods and the surronding area like parks, shopping malls, gyms, etc etc. We then build a Virtual Tour with all the Video/photos to give clients an idea of all surronding attractions. If you are interested about our technology /techniques or to submit you content to our databases please let me know.



Mar 08, 2011 03:16 AM #9
Bill Cobb
Accurate Valuations Group, LLC - Baton Rouge, LA
Greater Baton Rouge's Home Appraiser

Yeah, Great Idea Richard, but just wait till you turn in that appraisal and the lender says we need a comp photo that actually matches the "Season"!  That's right!  If you do work for several AMCs and it's FHA work, you must have a current photo within the season of the effective date of appraisal.  If it's winter and you provide a summer photo with lush green grass, you will receive a correction notice, especially if you do work for a certain AMC....can't state their name here.  I have over 10,000 comp photos I've been cataloging and the AMCs don't buy this argument that you did drive by the home....maybe 4 years ago.

One thing I do is when in an area is just snap photos of current listings without the sign in the photos.  These listings will probably be a sale eventually and I'll need that comp photo anyway.  


Mar 09, 2011 03:30 AM #10
Ilyce Glink
Think Glink Media - Chicago, IL
Best-selling author, award-winning TV/radio host.

What a great idea, Richard. Google Street View is also a really handy thing to use before you even do a drive through.

Mar 10, 2011 03:08 AM #11
Christopher Johnston
The Johnston Team - Metairie, LA

@Douglas, the snipping tool has been around since XP, I believe. Jing is a little bit easier to use though and it has some better functionality for annotating the image.

Mar 12, 2011 02:06 AM #12
Jennifer Cote
RE/MAX Properties Nashua - Nashua, NH
Realtor, Nashua NH Area Homes for Sale, Everything

This rocks!  I have always taken pictures of houses listed for sale while taking my comp photos anyway.  The video is an excellent idea.




Mar 14, 2011 05:11 AM #13
Marjorie Taylor
Riverside Homes - Saint Augustine, FL
New Homes in St. Augustine Florida

Jing is a great tool.  I never though about using it for clipping video!

Jul 05, 2011 12:09 PM #14
Richard D. Ferris - Clermont, FL
Florida State Certified (FHA) Appraiser

Thanks! I did also find recently that when playing the video back in QuickTime, all you have to do is stop it on the frame you want, press CTRL+C and copy the frame, then paste.

I do video now on my walk through the homes too - so I can have the audio narration of the walk through.  I am using a Kodak Zi8 now - although it records in widescreen - the photos and video are acceptable for the appraisal reports!  I have to get a wide angle lens for the future - but this is a keep now for sure!

Jul 05, 2011 12:50 PM #15
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