Brian Coester grew up in the appraisal business, tagging along with his dad, Tim, a well-known self-made appraiser who hit the streets with pencil and paper accessing East Coast properties.
His unique perspective has helped shape CoesterVMS, growing it from a local appraisal company to a nationwide provider of appraisals and appraisal technology.
“When you grow up in an industry and have such an understanding of the industry and the way the mechanics work, the baselines of understanding appraisal and mortgage lending are already covered,” said Coester, who was 22 when he founded his Rockville, Maryland, company in 2005.
“You can see the small gaps in the process and that’s what we’ve tried to capitalize on.”
CoesterVMS offers cloud-based technology with full appraisal field inspections, appraisal analytic tools and compliance solutions that help banks and lenders comply with inter-agency compliance and collateral securitization regulations.
The company is said to have developed the first mobile application for appraisal management companies and the first artificial intelligence-based appraisal review system, which uses 160,000 algorithms and appraiser-based intelligence to review a file to local market standards.
Most lenders buy a quality control system from one vendor and an integration system and compliance programs from others. These pieced-together systems are functional, but convoluted and “annoying” to manage, Coester said.
“We’ve built everything from scratch and took the time to do it the right way and can capitalize on our client base and vendor base,” he said. “We’re very much playing to win. We have a two- to three-year lead time on most of our competitors.”
Coester, who played football at the University of Maryland, College Park, and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, applies many of the principles he learned as an athlete to his business.
“The same discipline required to be successful in football, from training to studying plays and your opponent to improving your skill set and competing at a high level, is the same discipline you need in business,” he said.
“Football taught me that preparing, planning and being ready for every situation is the most important thing possible to do. I take that same sentiment into business.“
Coester VMS is among the fastest-growing companies in the country, adding 300 new clients this year and experiencing consistent year-over-year growth. The company has already surpassed last year’s total revenue and enjoyed six consecutive quarters of revenue growth.
Coester says it’s taken the better part of five years to get “things lined up,” but his company has emerged with a definite edge. CoesterVMS completes about 7,000 appraisals a month.
“Our growth is centered around proving a very sticky and intricate service to our lenders, and we take it well beyond what most companies do,” he said. “They stick around and they grow with us, and our revenue grows with them.”
The company has already won one award for innovation in the industry, and even though he built the company’s customer QC system with his development team, Coester says he doesn’t see himself as a techie, but a CEO doing what’s necessary to provide the best solutions for his clients.
The young leader also is co-founder of ComfortCases.org, which provides kids in the foster care system with necessities they need as they enter the foster care system.
Looking ahead, he expects a similar revenue pace as this year, and he’ll beef up his lean sales force of four to handle the growing demand.
“A lot of the technology and development has been centered around ‘how do we be a complete solution for a mortgage bank or lender,’ and we’ve done well in that capacity,” he said.