Bob in Albuquerque says:
I've been shooting RE now for almost 4 years. I have a licensed business and carry liability insurance. Recently, a topic came up over coffee with a client which leads me to this post.
I have a question about who, if anyone, should be present when you are shooting. Though I know many of the readers here do, but I don't have a lockbox key.
Many of my clients (whom I have known a while now and who trust me) will meet me at a listing, let me in, then leave and ask me to lock up/put the key back in the lockbox, etc. I have a few clients who believe that it is their responsibility to be present and stay the whole time I shoot. I have some who will just set it up for the seller to be home to let me in. All these possibilities can happen with seller occupied; just staged or empty listings.
I'd like to ask about other shooters' policies. Does anyone have a problem being in an occupied home without either the agent or seller being present? What about going to the shoot and the agent just makes arrangements with a (often female) seller to meet you but the agent isn't there to vouch for or introduce you? I haven't had a problem yet with any scenario but I'd just like to know what more experienced shooters do. Most of my clients know that I'm semi-retired after 25 years in law enforcement and I think that helps with the trust level. I did search the forum for this topic but couldn't seem to find any post where this was addressed and I just wanted to check with the forum about any thoughts, opinions, advice, policies, etc.
The ultimate responsibility for deciding whether or not a real estate photographer should be accompanied while shooting a listing is up to the listing agent.
However, I have direct personal experience that some MLSs have rules that require listing agents accompany all subcontractors working on a listing. During the period 2000 to 2010, the NWMLS in Seattle had a $5,000 fine for listing agents that did NOT accompany a subcontractor at a listing. An agent in our office was fined and yet most of the other agents in the office did not know about the NWMLS rule.
So my recommendation for a real estate photography shoot policy would include:
What are others' experiences with this issue?