The Innovation Series: Appraiser Partnered Innovation

Our blog is full of tips and tricks to help you and your clients throughout the appraisal process.

  • The Innovation Series: Appraiser Partnered Innovation

    Appraiser Partnered Innovation

    Each afternoon in the fall of 1998 after my last class ended, I would leave my high school parking lot bound for work at a local real estate appraisal office, sometimes stopping at the pharmacy to pick up photo prints (and a sweet tea). When I arrived at the garage-conversion office, I was often met by a leaning pile of orders on the floor next to the old-school fax machine. I would log each order into a spiral notebook and stuff manila file folders with copies of the first page of form 1004/70, which I then neatly stacked on a work table in order of receipt.

    Folders of completed inspections were then organized by the computer, signaling they were ready for manual data-entry into our modest appraisal software. My favorite part was rendering a digital floor plan from the appraiser’s hand-drawn sketch; deciphering his handwriting was like solving a puzzle I would eventually master over time.

    Before “gluesticking” subject photos to the report, I matched the appraisal inspection date to the corresponding time stamp on the corner of each photo and ensured the sketch floor plan and the front and rear photos aligned. Comparable photos were matched based on photos found in the bulky MLS books we received monthly from the REALTOR® board.

    Finally, I sent a prayer into the wind that I had completed all tasks correctly and placed a copy of the report on the appraiser’s desk for review. Only after the above steps had been blessed by the Almighty Appraiser Gods, did I finally make two copies of the final report and deliver it in a sealed envelope to the client.

    A New Era

    It took four paragraphs to describe just a portion of the administrative duties of our storied appraisal past. In the last 20 or so years we have made incremental advancements in the fulfillment process with online ordering, the use of digital cameras, and internet MLS access. Yet much of the appraiser’s field work and analysis has remained the same.

    In a recent poll sent to our appraiser panel, roughly 56% of appraisers indicated they have not deployed any sort of mobile inspection application and another 48% still use a measuring tape and a clipboard to measure the subject. Moreover, we still find appraisers that are resistant to data import services and regression software which would actually improve efficiencies and overall report integrity.

    Each morning it seems a new article is posted about that dirty little “b” word – BIFURCATION. Many appraisers have sweepingly vowed to never accept alternate products such as property data collection (PDC) or desktop appraisal orders based on fear-based assumptions, instead of facts.

    Technology is rapidly changing the valuation industry with artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automated models promising to reduce the use of appraisals on lower risk mortgage transactions. As the application of appraisal waivers and alternate products are on the rise, how can appraisers firmly plant their flag into the shifting sands of this industry and remain relevant for years to come?

    In the coming weeks, we will be sharing how Class Valuation is spearheading valuation innovation. You’ll meet members of our team who are working hard every day to offer you the best solutions on the market. And we’ll share all the facts, so you can make an informed decision on what products and processes work for you.

    As a first step, we’ve launched our new appraiser page. Check it out to learn how working with Class Valuation means you’ve got a strategic partner that supports you today and invests in your future tomorrow. Also, enter your email below to receive updates on new posts so that we can keep you informed every step of the way.


    Julie serves as SVP of Valuation Transformation and Engagement for Class Valuation. In this capacity, she is dedicated to driving thoughtful change in the valuation industry through responsible innovation and stakeholder collaboration.


Fast Track