Saturday, September 23, 2023 | The Latest Buzz for the Appraisal Industry

The Role of the Appraiser in Modernization

Appraisal modernization comes with a multitude of opinions, judgements, and plenty of misinformation. While companies are striving to modernize the way that appraisers run their businesses, appraisers believe that with this modernization also comes replacement and micromanagement. Andrew Bough, Executive Vice President of Valuations at Solidifi, takes a hard look at why appraisers need reassurance and support now more than ever, and how putting appraisers first is the only way we should be moving forward. We recently sat down with Mr. Bough to ask him his thoughts on appraisal modernization. Take a look below!

Buzz: Why do you believe professional appraisers – in reference to modernization – are being ignored?

Andrew Bough: “I wouldn’t say appraisers are being ignored but bypassed. Perception is that appraisers are more expensive and slower than alternative labor forces and I don’t agree. Some major market participants, including Solidifi, are already actively engaging appraisers in a broader array of services and are leveraging their skills, experiences, and geographic expertise to the fullest. Developing opportunities to continue engaging a highly trained and experienced workforce of professional appraisers vs bringing in an entirely new labor force is a better option for developing best practice as the modernization of the appraisal process takes hold.”

Buzz: In what ways do you think people are using technology that “threatens” appraisers?

Andrew Bough: “I don’t believe technology is a threat to appraisers in the slightest. On so many occasions during my 26- year career, I’ve heard that AVMs or hybrid appraisals will be the death of the appraisal industry and here we still are. Progressive, forward thinking appraisers are embracing technology and using it to help enhance their business by improving efficiency and report quality.”

Buzz: In what ways does bifurcation “substitute” appraiser expertise?

Andrew Bough: “In my opinion, it doesn’t. I believe you cannot simply substitute appraiser expertise with a less qualified alternative and obtain the same quality results. The risks as understood by the lenders does not warrant the uncertain and marginal financial gain. Using a trained, certified professional, with cutting edge technology provides the best opportunity for a consistently good customer experience, superior report quality, and effective risk mitigation which reflect on the lenders’ business. Our role is to be the steward of their brand and to maintain the highest quality standards in the industry. Standards that deliver the best outcome for all parties. Why retrain when the expertise is readily available and has proven its ability to compete on quality, cost, and turn times?”

Buzz: How is quality customer experience winning over technology?

Andrew Bough: “Outstanding companies focus on delivering exceptional customer service. Appraisal reports are not simply electronic files. We understand that the reports articulate invaluable information within them that enable consumers to make key life-changing decisions. The work of appraisers provides extensive evaluation and insight that helps families trying to move or send their children to college or buy a car so they can get to work. While this is a people business, technology has also become an integral part of the appraisal process and allows for an enhanced customer experience through the delivery of a credible report in an efficient and cost-effective manner.”

Buzz: What specific values do appraisers have that are overlooked and shouldn’t be?

Andrew Bough: “Appraisers uphold numerous values, professional standards (including USPAP), and licensing regulations that drive accountability. They offer specific in-depth regional expertise, independence, and impartiality in addition to the critical customer interaction component that can’t be easily replicated. The interior inspection process is one of the most intrusive experiences a homeowner will ever endure with a complete stranger walking through every room of their home. We need professionals with the necessary experience and discretion to do this well. Reputational risk is so often overlooked when it comes to the inspection process. Good appraisers know their markets extremely well, know what adds value and what detracts, and they know true market boundaries vs those that are artificially generated. The best appraiser professionals also maintain strong relationships with other Real Estate professionals.”

Buzz: In your opinion is this a good time to be an appraiser or for new entrants to join the industry?

Andrew Bough: “I think this is a fantastic time to be an appraiser. We haven’t seen material modernization within our industry for a generation. The opportunities today for appraisers to provide a myriad of services using cutting edge technology are as good as I can remember. Progressive appraisers can work more efficiently than ever, grow their business and continue to play a critical role. I would highly recommend to anyone considering joining the appraisal professional to do so, align yourself with forward thinking professionals and help to enhance the industry by providing excellent service and a first-class product.”