The Dangers of Using MLS Photos in Your Appraisal

New technology continues to break ground in the valuation industry. With time, we are finding a majority of these programs assist the appraisers and make their job easier. Like anything new, there is always hesitation. But adapting to new technology is key to helping one grow in the profession. A unique app was recently launched to help appraisers receive on-demand, location-specific media.

Proxypics matches users based on their geographical location to request or take photos needed for an assignment. Within minutes, you can be anywhere around the world.

Luke Tomaszewski, CEO of ProxyPics will be joining us for a free webinar on June 13that 2:00 pm EST  to provide app support and better show us how this new app is paving the way for the appraisal industry.

Buzz: Luke, thank you for joining us today. We are excited to be speaking with you about your upcoming webinar on June 13th. Can you tell us why you think it is important for appraisers to attend this webinar?

Luke: Proxypics was created to help appraisers. As an appraiser myself, I understand the frustrations of driving across town to capture a photo. I thought, “Why on earth am I driving to take a photo when someone could be standing right next to the location.” That is where the idea developed.

This was created for appraisers, real estate agents and lenders to assist them through the process. We currently have about 5,000 users and 70% of those are appraisers. Our users are quickly seeing the benefits of the app as they are using it for comp photos, hybrid photos, subject photos and even taking photos for other appraisers.

Buzz: Craig Capilla, a Trial Defense Lawyer who specializes in residential and commercial appraiser cases, will be speaking during the webinar. What role does Craig play in this?

Luke: Right now, we are getting a lot of questions and feedback on several topics such as, when the appraisers can use the app, does it fall under USPAP guidelines, will investors approve, and Craig is the expert on this. He has been looped in since the beginning and I want him to speak to the attendees to help them feel safe. He is here to show you when you should and shouldn’t use the app, help you better understand why the service was developed, how an appraiser could benefit from it and most importantly, put the appraisers’ mind at ease.

Buzz: The app seems easy to use and provides the user with step by step instructions. Will you be showing the attendees how to use the app?

Luke: Yes, we are going to give them a short demo on how they can request and take photos. At the same time, we are going to go over some of the future enhancements to the ProxyPic app. The first version is live, but we are working on the second. We are getting so much input from appraisers, realtors, attorneys, and lenders on features they would like to see. We want to incorporate some of those suggestions. We are hoping that during the webinar we will be able to receive even more feedback from the appraisers and how they think ProxyPics can help serve them.

Buzz: So appraisers can sign up to take the photos too?

Luke: Yes, even if you don’t want to use the service for requesting pictures, appraisers are perfect for taking pictures too! They are out in the field doing inspections and driving around their city. Why not make some extra cash taking pictures along the way.

Buzz: What are some of the enhancements users have to look forward to?

Luke: The next version offers more customization for the user. It is adding a better experience to meet their needs. For example, we are adding a video option to give the appraiser more resources.

Buzz: What are the dangers of using MLS photos?

Luke: There are many reasons why you should not use MLS photos and why an up to date photo is always the best option. You have to remember that the job of a realtor is to present the property that they are selling in the best possible condition, highlight the best features, and minimize the flaws.  When agents take these photos, they may take the photo from a certain angle that may not show the gas station that is next to the property.  The opposite side of that property may have an entirely different piece of siding or be missing some exterior features that the other side did not.  We have also seen MLS photos that were taken from prior MLS listings so the photo can be a few years old. We’ve even seen assessor photos being used for MLS listings. These are just a few reasons why the most up to date photos are the best representation of a property and why you should avoid the use of MLS when the option is there for you.

Buzz: How will the webinar help appraisers who may be on the fence about using the app?

Luke: ProxyPics is safe and approved but it is up to the appraiser to pay attention to the type of assignment. Some assignments will not allow for a service like ours but that is what we want to get across.

We developed the service because we see a need for it in the profession. Craig and I highly encourage appraisers who want to learn more about the app, appraisers who are concerned about using it and appraisers who have never even heard of ProxyPics to join us for the webinar. There may be something they are misunderstanding and that is why Craig will be speaking. We want the users to be educated on when they can’t use the service and when they can.

Buzz: Luke, thank you for joining us today. We are excited to learn more about ProxyPics and look forward to speaking with you soon! Is there anything else you would like to add?

Luke: Overall, our goal is to show the appraisers why the service was developed and how they could benefit from it. We highly encourage appraisers to attend the webinar and see for themselves.

Register now to learn more about ProxyPics, space is limited.

If you would like to submit an article to the Appraisal Buzz please contact us at, comments@appraisalbuzz.com.

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About Luke Tomaszewski

Luke Tomaszewski
Luke Tomaszewski is CEO and founder of ProxyPics, Inc a new tech company located in Chicago, IL and CEO of eValuation ZONE, Inc. An appraiser in his own right, Luke has years of real-world experience and knows exactly what is needed to make each transaction as efficient as possible. ProxyPics, is a new app designed to make region specific photography available to all, utilizing his second US patent. Luke aims to change the way homes are photographed for mortgage needs in the digital age. Luke started in the appraisal industry 15 years ago and has always been excited about developing new and exciting things that will change the industry for the better. His first hybrid appraisal form was developed over 4 years ago and one of the first companies to Beta test ACI Sky with a custom BPO form. Luke is always pushing the industry forward while presenting over the last two years as a guest speaker at the AARO Conference (Association of Appraiser Regulatory Officials) on the future education for appraisers and most recently on the technology with Virtual Reality Inspections.

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