The Best Appraisal Tools
This year we have focused on integrating the newest and the best appraisal software and appraisal tools into our property appraisals business.
Before we talk about modern appraisal tools, let’s take a trip down memory lane.
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I remember when I first started appraising, way back in 1991 or so: the days of 386s, DOS and Windows 3.1.
We used Total (now called WinTotal) from a la mode, took 35mm (film!) pictures and waited for them to get developed. We used microfiche to look up comp data and were so excited when the comp data became available on CD ROMs!
Appraisal assignments back then certainly took longer to complete and to deliver – we hand delivered or sent them by postal service or messenger services! Appraisal practice has definitely come a long way since the 1990s.
Now use high-resolution digital cameras and on-line systems such as the MLS, tax records, and mapping and zoning information databases.
And, of course, we have Google. What did we do before we could Google everything? We are far, far more efficient than we used to be, but the art of appraising has become more complicated at the same time. Clients demand (and rightfully so) more data, the analysis of comparables has become more sophisticated and lenders require more substantial information about market areas.
Now, we get an appraisal orders through email or from appraisal management portals. Surprisingly, we still get most of our confirmations by fax.After hours of patient and methodical research and adjustments, aided by the fantastic new tools of the trade, reports are uploaded and delivered to clients online, in the blink of an eye.
Our office looks like the office of people that love love love computer equipment: wide-screen monitors (two per desk), cables hanging out everywhere, little gadgets plugged in to charge or upload or download data.
- We use an Apple iPad with the DaVinci sketching app. I can sketch a house with the software as I am measuring on site, as opposed to sketching it out by hand and then entering it into the computer later when I’m back at the office.
- With the Disto D5 Digital Laser Rangefinder from Leica, I can measure accurately and efficiently at the property, enter the pertinent measurement and property condition data into my iPad and then sync it with my desktop later.
- A Canon Digital Point and Shoot Camera (the latest being a pair of PowerShot SD1200 cameras with Image Stabilization) make taking photos a snap and the quality is outstanding.
Why does this matter to you? You ask? We can provide you with more accurate data (the rare mis-measurement is readily apparent on the software sketch) and the use of these tools improves the turn times on appraisal reports.
Better, faster reports from us, means better client relationships for you.