The road ahead in the appraisal industry has been shaken up by the recent COVID-19 pandemic. GSE’s are adjusting policies, appraisers have begun completing more desktop and drive-by inspections – change is happening all around us. HomeVision is a startup in the appraisal industry working to build next-generation tools and technology for appraisers. We sat down with Vincent Chu, Co-founder and CTO of HomeVision, to discuss his upcoming webinar on May 7th at 1 pm EDT, “Appraising the Future: What Happens Post COVID-19?”
Buzz: Tell us a little about your background.
Vincent: I’ve worked as a software engineer for the last decade at a variety of technology firms large and small. The one you’ve probably heard of is Twitter, where I helped scale some of the largest systems on the planet. I originally got into tech for a very simple reason: I graduated right at the beginning of the Great Recession and I needed a job ASAP. I taught myself how to code and worked my way up. Over time, I’ve come to appreciate how well-designed software can transform our lives for the better – to give us superpowers and to make the rougher edges of our personal and professional lives smoother and easier.
Buzz: Please tell us more about your startup company – why you began, your mission today, and what you hope to achieve in the future.
Vincent: I had my home appraised a few years ago and ended up chatting with my home appraiser. It was clear that he had incredibly deep expertise into all aspects of home valuation. What struck me was how frustrated he was with various aspects of his job – his relationship with his clients, the second guessing, and the awkwardness of his tools. That’s when I began getting interested in this problem. The whole reason that HomeVision exists is to use good product engineering to develop tools that appraisers will love to use, to make them better and more efficient at their jobs, and to help them deliver their expertise to the broader financial ecosystem.
HomeVision is a remote homeowner appraisal tool. It allows an appraiser to request photos and other information from a homeowner when the appraiser can’t physically go to the property. Specifically, it allows for 1) quick and easy communication between the appraiser and the homeowner, 2) notifications that helps you move your file forward and 3) we provide additional information and data (county/local records, sales history, flood maps, etc) on each request that an appraiser opens.
Buzz: What are some examples you’ve seen that COVID-19 has impacted the appraisal industry?
Vincent: I think we’re just in the early stages of understanding the lasting impact COVID-19 will have on the appraisal industry. I think the appraisal industry, along with almost every other industry, has been forced to shift to a remote model with a much larger reliance on technology. I think that shift has forced everyone to reconsider their tools and processes. I think you see that most clearly with the launch of some remote appraisal tools.
Buzz: What new products will you be discussing in your upcoming webinar? Why are these products now being seen as potentially “the new normal?”
Vincent: We’ll be discussing our new remote appraisal application, HomeVision, as well as our general product vision for the broader suite of tools we want to build for appraisers. We started HomeVision before COVID-19 appeared, but this current environment has reinforced why we think the need for new tools for appraisers is greater than ever.
Buzz: Why should appraisers join your webinar?
Vincent: Appraisers should join our webinar to learn how they can leverage HomeVision’s software tools to help them continue their business and how an independent startup is thinking about building technology specifically for them. Our backgrounds, focus and mission are to use good product engineering to develop tools that appraisers will love to use. We’d be successful if we made them better and more efficient at their jobs, and to help them deliver their expertise to the broader financial ecosystem. Also, we’d love to hear from appraisers too. We’re constantly looking for input and feedback about what we should work on, so we’d love to start that conversation!
Thank you for answering our questions, Vincent! We look forward to your webinar on May 7th at 1 pm EDT, “Appraising the Future: What Happens Post COVID-19?”
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