New tools in technology are reducing the amount of time we waste during the work day. The appraisal industry is no different – is your company losing valuable time that should be spent on actually appraising properties? Revision requests can be the biggest time-wasters that an appraiser can face. We sat down with Keith Ellis of Anow to discuss some practical tips on saving time while also saving money in his free webinar, “Stamp Out Revision Requests: 10 Tips in 30 Minutes.” Click here to register!
Buzz: Please explain your history in the appraisal industry.
Keith: I’m the Chief Operating Officer of perhaps the most innovative software company in the appraisal world, Anow. Most of my day is talking with independent appraisers or large firms about how they can use technology to not only simplify their lives and improve their efficiency, but also about how appraisers want to transform their industry. I spend a lot of my time listening to how appraisers want to use tech because so much of what we’re going to talk about simply could not happen in the absence of rethinking how appraisers could be using technology. I will also present to maybe 1,000 appraisers this month in webinars like this one or others that we do with partners such as Appraisal Institute, ASA, NAA, and BAREA.
Buzz: In what ways have appraisers and appraisal companies lost valuable time?
Keith: Time is the only thing an appraiser has to sell and it can’t be warehoused. The only way most appraisers can drive up their annual income is to either do more orders at a time when they are already busy, or do higher-fee non-lender work. However, both of these paths force the appraiser to be more efficient and focus more of their personal time on what adds value to the appraisal while doing less administrative work. Only in this way can an appraiser drive UP the quality of their work, while still taking on more volume. Appraisers sometimes have the attitude that appraisers who do higher volume inherently produce a lower quality appraisal – this is simply wrong. Many of these higher volume people have realized they need to be amazing in their organization and use of time.
Buzz: How can those people shave valuable amount of time off the appraisal process?
Keith: In both delivering quality and in reducing the time required to complete the appraisal, it comes down to staying organized and allowing the technology to keep you organized. Having something like Anow is like having your own virtual assistant – it simplifies your life by automatically loading the orders without rekeying, keeping track of the process, and putting the important information right at the appraiser’s fingertips. The difference between high-volume, high-quality appraisers and lower volume people is often the system behind them, particularly when it comes to appraisal quality. Little things, like rekeying addresses, both consume time that doesn’t need to be consumed and introduces the possibility for typos, which can reduce quality because it is being done manually.
Buzz: In what ways can revisions waste time and how can they be combated?
Keith: Let’s focus on non-valuation related revisions. A revision request should be viewed as a process failure for the appraiser – and I know that’s totally contentious thinking, but stick with me for a moment. When you get a revision request on something that should have been caught by the appraiser’s own quality control, it diverts resources from completing new orders. It’s not simply having basic checklists the appraiser runs when completing orders, it’s simplifying the automation around the appraisal and ensuring the unique lender requirements for a specific order are at your fingertips. Certain AMCs have a specific set of rulesets that are designed to help appraisers avoid revisions or requests for minor things after submitting a report. When AMC rulesets aren’t checked prior to delivery, it’s a waste of an appraiser’s time because they often have to go back and fix details that could have been corrected prior to delivery. These minute mistakes and time-sinks can easily be avoided thanks to Anow. Anow helps by running rulesets inside the system before a report is delivered to ensure appraisers have met all of the necessary requirements for that AMC. It’s the non-standard stuff that hangs up the appraiser – face in a picture, insufficient justification when forced to use a comp that is further away, and etc., that hangs up the process.
Buzz: Is it more the appraiser, the client, or a combination of both that contributes to this problem?
Keith: I’d say it’s the industry itself is extremely complex. Clients have unique underwriting rules and preferences, but the source of the problem is the amount of complexity in first defining value and supporting the opinion of value with facts. However, I’d say it’s also firmly on the appraiser to live with that complexity and deliver appraisals that don’t generate revision requests. At the end of the day, every appraiser is faced with being on a client scorecard, and like it or not, the revision request rate ends up being a big determinate on whether or not the appraiser keeps that client when the market gets soft.
Buzz: Why should appraisers attend this webinar?
Keith: This is a very fast paced session where every three minutes we’re looking at a new concept that an appraiser could implement to save time and drive down the revision request rate. We’ve pulled some of the very best ideas from our clients and are sharing their practical advice to the appraisal community. I think if an attendee can walk away with two or three great ideas, that’s a great use of 30 minutes.
Thank you again to Keith for answering our questions. Have any comments or would you like to submit an article of your own? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.