While the tools carried by appraisers are fairly limited, there are tools today that create a more effective and efficient appraiser. Appraisers are often known as the professionals behind the scene as often times they inspect vacant properties or they complete inspections with a brief and (appearing to be a very) cursory visit. The report writing process takes hours of an appraiser’s time. The inspection represents typically only 5-10% of their time on a property. While an appraiser’s goal is to conduct a thorough inspection, these inspections differ from home inspections. While the inspection for an appraiser’s is not as verbose as a home inspector, they do gather several key features about a property.
Tools of the Real Estate Appraiser
One standard tool for real estate appraisers is a measuring tool for the property. This often varies from a tape measure to a laser measure. Technology has increased the accuracy and efficiency of measuring properties so vastly that often you will see that laser measures have become the standard for measuring properties. While some appraiser’s do utilize other measuring tools, the laser has been able to increase accuracy and efficiency of the inspection process.
If a property has acreage or it is a land appraisal, often appraisers are equipped with drones or work with local drone pilots to gather additional data on the land. While appraisers still physically inspect the land, the drone has a superior advantage in portraying key features of a property (topography, woodlands, wetlands, etc.). With the latest drone technology, the photos provided to the client give a more clear overview of the property which convey better within a report. Some realtors often will engage a local appraiser for marketing photos for their listing properties as drones simply give unrivaled images of properties.
Smartphones and Tablets
Being that appraisers are often on the road traveling, their smartphone or tablet is likely one of their most reliable information sources when looking for comparable data, directions and or looking to relay files to associates. A millennia ago, appraisers took photos with disposable cameras or polaroid cameras. Getting the film developed either required spending lots of money on polaroid film or taking time going to the local film development center (one hour photo) and hoping the photos taken are ideal. Now with most devices providing 4K resolution, photography for reports is at its peak. The appraiser can review the photo taken on site and ensure that the message being relayed in his or her report is clear and understood. Not only do these devices provide the photos, but appraisal writing has gone mobile. Portions of the data collection process for appraisers is done on their devices which communicates with their office. Being connected on the field allows appraisers instant information that may be useful when writing the report.
While you may still see pencil-and-paper appraisers out there, a growing group have found the effectiveness in utilizing the latest technology into their reports that increase the quality of the report while minimizing their time on the inspection. Curious what the appraiser is looking for on his or her inspection? Ask them before they arrive so that the property is properly prepared. Not only will this help the appraisal process of the loan but it can properly prepare you for what the appraiser needs to view and or do on the inspection.