Appraisers are, by far, the most technical agents in the real
estate world. By necessity, they have been drawn into the digital
world at a pace not seen by most in the real estate industry.
The appraisal process is one that lends itself to technology.
The technological advances in the industry are shared with the
appraiser’s customers, in the form of shorter turn-around
times and a much better final valuation report.
Let us start at the beginning. Millions of real estate transactions
are processed each year in the United States. Almost all of
them require some sort of appraisal. Technology has allowed
appraisers to reduce the workload of their clients in ordering,
tracking and receiving appraisals. In the past, clients would
send requests via fax, and then follow-up with a phone call
to ensure the order was received. Tracking the progress of the
appraisal meant numerous phone calls.
But the modern, technologically advanced appraiser has a much
better method. Using tools like this website – complete
with the ability to order appraisals on-line – allows
clients to shave valuable time off the process of ordering and
tracking appraisals. Technologies like e-trac are advancing
this concept even further, giving its users the ability not
only to order appraisals, but track their progress all the way
The appraisal process is a data-intensive process. Appraisers
spend tremendous time gathering both specific information about
the subject property and general data about the local market
and developing trends.
Today’s digital appraiser has several tools that can aid
in gathering data in the office and the field. Starting with
tools like Pocket Zoo, appraisers are eliminating the duplicate
data entry problems of the past. Tools like the Leica Disto
Laser meter are making the measurements more accurate. And software
like Apex’s PocketApex allow the appraiser to sketch the
home with greater detail. All of this means that the appraiser
can get the report done and delivered to the client in a fraction
of the time it once took.
In addition to property specific data is the general data about
the immediate neighborhood and market area. The Internet has
revolutionized the ability of appraisers to get quality data
in a fraction of the time it once took. Where once an appraiser
would spend hours finding the right location maps and then rubbing
on decals, the modern appraiser gets his maps with a few mouse
clicks, complete with location markers. And flood maps? Likewise
just a few clicks away using services like ACI’s Flood
Insight. Standardized addressing, accurate postal coding, and
census tract information are all at their fingertips. This ensures
that the final report is as complete and accurate as possible.
The report is done. Now how is the digital appraiser going to
leverage his investment in technology to improve the delivery
process? Modern appraisers have forsaken the slow mail route
for a much more efficient electronic delivery system. Utilizing
Adobe’s Portable Document Format (PDF) files, an appraiser
can deliver a multi-page report, complete with digital photos
and maps, through simple e-mail. Now, instead of waiting for
the daily mail or paying for expensive overnight mail and courier
services, appraisal customers can simply log into their company
email system and retrieve all the appraisals at one time.