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Safety When Doing BPO’s
Exterior Drive-By BPO’s 🚙
These are the easiest, most predictable and safest type of BPO order you can do.
Since you can take the pictures that you need from the safety of your car and should never get out of your car, you can get wrapped up within a few minutes or less. This helps you not get spotted. You also should NOT bring your kids, your dog and such as it’s not a social outing and not always safe.
It should take you under a minute to get all of the photos you need of the outside of the subject property.
You typically need pictures of:
– The street sign
– Looking down the middle of the road
– The house number (on the mailbox, the sidewalk or on the house itself)
– The front view
– Each side view of the subject
You should take most of the photos you need ahead of time, before driving in front of the subject property. You should almost be able to coast by to get the last remaining pictures of the front view, the house number and both sides of the property.
You’ll want to make sure your camera is in focus as you go to take your photos, don’t pull into their drive-way, trespass or draw attention to yourself in anyway.
Here’s a list of items you want to do when doing Exterior inspections:
- A stack of your business cards (to give out if needed) 💎
- Your iPhone (camera) 📱
- GPS for navigation 🗺
- The addresses of the subject properties you need to take your pictures.📄
- A laptop 💻 (some people work in the field)
Here’s a fun YouTube video 🎥 that I created years ago that talks more about doing Drive-by BPO photos.
Interior BPO’s 🏡
- Vacant Homes
Unfortunately, when you do an Interior BPO order on a property that is vacant, you NEVER truly know what you will encounter when doing your inspection.
Here’s a list of items you want to do when doing Interior inspections:
- Tell a loved one where you are going, when your going there and call or text them when you safely leave. (This is especially important when you are a woman!) ❤️
- Bring disposable gloves 🧤 in case you find yourself in an unclean situation.
- Bring a dust mask 😷 in case you encounter unhealthy stuff like mold.
- Bring booties (like they wear in the hospital) that you can use to cover your feet and help protect your shoes 👞 👠
- It may be wise to also bring some mace because again, you never know what you’ll encounter. There could be squatters, homeless people living inside or worse.
- Always drop off a business card on a dining table as a courtesy to the listing agent or potential listing agent also.
Since this job comes with its own set of risks and rewards, you have to take it upon yourself to do what you feel you need to be able to do your job safely.
After encountering lots of unexpected and uncomfortable conditions when I did Interior BPO orders on properties that were vacant, I stopped doing them. I also took them off of my profile with the BPO companies I worked for because to me, it wasn’t worth it to risk my safety for an extra $25-$50 dollars. 💵
- Occupied Homes
Thankfully, doing Interior inspections on a home that’s occupied is more likely to be a pleasant experience.
Since you make an appointment with them to arrange a good time to go do the inspection, most homeowners tend to keep their home in livable condition and presentable, so that when “company” (you) comes over, their home will most likely be cleaned up.
When agents, brokers or appraisers do BPO work, they have to deal with finding ways to do their work no matter what’s happening outside.
Just like a worker that delivers mail or packages 📦 in any kind of weather, the same expectation applies to real estate professionals doing BPO work.
In fact, I couldn’t help but think of the famous saying of “Neither snow ❄️ nor rain 🌧 nor heat ☀️ nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” – while by no means an official creed or motto of the United States Postal Service – have long been associated with the American postman.” Source
Protect Yourself By:
- Checking weather conditions (before you go out in it)
- Drive safely (be aware of your surroundings, traffic and where you need to be)
- Using your car as “your shield” (both against hazards from weather to people)
Here’s a great thread on this topic on Agentsonline.net called: “Got Chased Taking Pictures.”
Do you have a funny or scary experience that you’d like to share? Simply comment below!
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Nicole Ocean is a national speaker, previously certified real estate instructor, BPO trainer and coach. She’s been teaching real estate professionals all over the United States for the last 10+ years.