Saturday, February 4, 2023 | The Latest Buzz for the Appraisal Industry

The Future of Desktop Appraisals

Are you ready to meet the new GSE requirement of a detailed floor plan for your desktop appraisals? Join us for our upcoming webinar on January 25th at 2 pm, “The Future of Desktop Appraisals” with Joshua Walitt and Mark Walser! Learn about all of the new features in RemoteVal – a free inspection app for appraisers! RemoteVal has added a Dynamic Floor Plan Creator, in addition to allowing the appraiser to visually inspect the property in real-time on the date of inspection. We sat down with our hosts to get the inside scoop on this upcoming webinar.

Buzz: What is your background in the appraisal industry?
Mark Walser: I am a technology and operations executive with 13 years of progressive management in all aspects of AMC operations and technology with various AMCs, and am the President of Incenter AMC.
Josh Walitt: I am the principal consultant of Walitt Solutions. I hold an SRA and AI-RRS, I am an AQB Certified USPAP Instructor, and I also provide valuation, education, and compliance services to various types of clients.

Recognizing the challenges and resistance to alternative appraisal products, we’ve developed RemoteVal to fulfill the promise of an appraiser driven solution that can deliver speed that lenders and consumers want, while keeping the appraiser in control of the process.

Buzz: What do these new GSE requirements mean for the appraisal industry?
Josh Walitt: The Remote Desktop is both an opportunity and an inflection point for appraisers. While nobody knows how the exact numbers will play out, if you baseline that approximately 10% of GSE loans were done within the framework of the Temporary COVID Desktop Flexibility, it’s not hard to see how the GSE’s could progress to 15-20% of their total appraisal volume potentially being Remote Desktop eligible in 2022 and increasing that as a share in subsequent years.

However, the reason this is being done is speed. Lenders and the GSEs need speed, but they can’t sacrifice a high level of quality either. Thus, it’s an opportunity for appraisers to step up and fulfill these Remote Desktop appraisals quickly and show how a fast turn time that is 5 days or less could happen every time.

But – it presents challenges too. Among the requirements for this new Desktop is an exterior sketch plus a floorplan showing interior wall partitions. The only way to really do that is for someone, or something, to inspect the property and collect picture or video data to understand and produce the floorplan sketch. Here is where the inflection point is for appraisers, and why it’s so important that they consider adopting solutions like RemoteVal that keep them independent and in control of the inspection, learn the technology, and implement it. Technology is like water; it seeks its own level. To oversimplify, appraisers have a high level of value in the transaction today. They control the appraisal analysis, and they control the inspection that generates the data for that analysis. But if appraisers cede the inspection to someone or something else, that lowers their importance in the overall process and reduces their value (and compensation), while reducing the overall integrity of the report. We believe that RemoteVal will give appraisers the tools to keep control of the inspection, maintain maximum integrity, and hold that ground.

The opportunity to use RemoteVal in the new Desktop framework enables a number of ways for appraisers to gather the information they need on the relevant characteristics, understand the condition and functionality of the property, derive GLA and generate floorplans. We are excited to show appraisers the various options. 

Buzz: What is RemoteVal?
Mark Walser: RemoteVal is the first appraiser-driven inspection technology that allows appraisers to utilize a remote desktop application and control the mobile device of the person at the property. Via a live video conference, the appraiser is in control and can view the property in real-time, click their mouse to photograph it remotely, and measure rooms or exterior to determine GLA all using that person’s phone. It’s the way an appraiser can inspect the home on the date of inspection and generate fast turn times while expending less time driving to a property. The average RemoteVal takes approximately 15-25 minutes to do based on the complexity of the home. In many cases, the appraiser will have access to previous sketches or floorplans from a variety of sources and the appraiser ends up verifying those measurements, rather than starting from scratch. This will make the remote appraisal process even faster!

The RemoteVal process mirrors the traditional inspection process: introduce yourself to the occupant, proceed around the exterior, go room to room in the interior, converse with the occupant to gain important information, and capture photos and measurements as you go, and do all of this using the mobile device the occupant already has in their possession. This is the next generation of the appraiser inspecting properties.

Buzz: How is RemoteVal and their new features different from the technology and software already being used?
Josh Walitt: Every other technology is a hybrid of some kind. A hybrid in this case is where someone else inspects the property, creates the floorplan and pictures, and sends those to an appraiser who takes it on faith and performs the desktop appraisal using that information. In these hybrid cases, the appraiser loses control of the inspection, and has to choose to provide a valuation on something they did not see or inspect.

RemoteVal is totally different. There is no “middleman” obtaining data for the appraiser. The appraiser is able to do their current process of inspecting, talking to a homeowner, and getting photos and measurements. It thus allows appraisers to deliver a product approaching the strength and veracity of a full, in-person appraisal. RemoteVal also pays an appraiser their full customary and reasonable fee for appraisals. In fact, RemoteVal can even be used in trainee scenarios where the supervisor is the desk appraiser, the trainee goes out to the property, and they connect through RemoteVal to ensure there are no surprises for the trainee — you still have two sets of eyes on the property, but the appraisal firm’s time is used more wisely.

Buzz: Why should appraisers attend your webinar?
Mark Walser: Appraisers can take control of the remote inspection process and learn to inspect properties virtually. On a high percentage of properties, Appraisers can do more work in less time using RemoteVal Desktop, and confidently put their name on a report. They don’t need to lower the value of their work by ceding the inspection to someone else, they can control it. They can free up valuable time and reserve the driving for the large complex property assignments that truly need it. We will also learn how to leverage pre-existing floorplans and use RemoteVal to verify them, thus saving more time and easing the process of creating that floorplan for the Remote Desktop.
Josh Walitt: Appraisers of all ages and experience levels can use RemoteVal to grow their business. Appraisers nearing retirement can use it to continue practicing and not have to drive so much. They can leverage their decades of experience to keep producing valuations from their desks. Trainees getting into the business can be mentored with RemoteVal, overseen directly and remotely by their supervisors. And appraisers in the middle of those two ends of the spectrum can perform more appraisals in less time, increasing their income and productivity while satisfying the lenders they serve.

Buzz: Thank you guys so much for answering our questions, we’re really looking forward to watching you both soon.

Make sure to join us for our upcoming webinar on January 25th at 2 pm, “The Future of Desktop Appraisals” with Joshua Walitt and Mark Walser!

Jeff Bradford

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