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Why Create a Photo Database?

by Guest on Apr 22, 2012 General Appraisal 1809 Views

It occurs to many appraisers that creating a comparable sales database is a smart idea.  If there is a good chance that you are going to appraise more shopping centers or office buildings, put them into your current appraisal report, why not save them in a format that they can easily be resued for the next report.  Larger offices that share data depend on data sheets of this type, without them everything has to be created from scratch with each and every report.  If you cover a wide geographic area or you live in an sprawled urban area, as is the case in Las Vegas, its also important to not have to take a photo of a building that you have seen 20 times just because you failed to take a photo of it.  Along with your comparable sales "data sheet" collection you should also consider building a database of commercial buildings.

A couple of years ago I was so sure that I had a substantial portion of the commercial building photographs taken in the metropolitan Las Vegas area, and I put up a website to sell copies of them.  Turns out that building photos are not as sought after as I had hoped, but I can't say that the database hasn't payed off in other ways.  When I get in a box for time I can often reference my database for a building photo rather than cross town in rush hour traffic.  That's a real benefit that you can measure in dollars and cents.

Its important to take quality photographs and I take mine at 16.2 megapixels to 18 megapixels with quality cameras and even though they are "just building photos" you can tell a great deal about the construction, condition and tenants or owners just by looking closely at a high quality photo.  My latest camera has GPS, so if you you forget to leave yourself clues about where you started and where you left off taking photos the photographic information will provide you with your exact locations.

Yes, I conceed that the photos eventually do get dated.  If you tried to keep them all updated you would spend all of your time as a photographer and not as an appraiser.  If you make a habit of taking commercial building photos when you are at remote locations, those most distant from your office, there is a good chance that you will be rewarded by not having to take a 20 to 40 mile or longer roundtrip when you could be making more money by doing other things or take some time off instead of depreciating your vehicle and paying for gas at $ 4.50 a gallon.

For more appraisal information contact Glenn Rigdon, MA,MRICS, ASA a Las Vegas / Henderson Nevada appraiser via email or via his business website Horizon Village Appraisal (, or you can also click on “Contact Us” on the home page of this website.

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