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Technology is advancing the mortgage industry, and appraisals and valuations are no exception. The shift to mobile and cloud-based applications, which allow for quick information exchange and corrections, represents a significant leap forward in the flexibility and accuracy of appraisals.

Appraisal technology traditionally came in the form of desktop software, requiring appraisers to gather information manually in the field and then go back to a desktop for data entry. They can now use mobile applications to capture relevant field data and upload that information directly into the appraisal report via the cloud for completion of the final report and delivery to the AMC or lender.

“The new technology puts the appraiser in more control in every situation they are in — whether they’re at the courthouse, a comparable property, or the subject property,” said Kevin Wall, president of First American Mortgage Solutions, which launched its Smarter Valuations offering in 2017. “The ability for appraisers to be connected with the valuation firm they’re engaged with is going to be critical going forward. One of the reasons it takes so long to get a final appraisal completed is disjointed communication among the parties.”

The continually improving data checks and information sharing that occurs throughout First American Mortgage Solutions’ Smarter Valuations process dramatically reduces the need for quality control. Optimizing the use of data, analytics and technology removes this redundant expense, reducing the timeline and producing a higher quality valuation.

Smarter Valuations technology also improves the critical process of choosing the most-qualified professional for each particular job. It uses data and analytics to quickly identify the right appraiser who is familiar with the area and property type, which helps produce a more accurate and timely collateral valuation.

“The right appraiser will have a better understanding of the collateral package they are managing, including knowledge of both the subject property and comparable properties,” Wall said. “The GSEs require that appraisers reference two independent data sources, but what they often think is an independent data source may actually be harvested from one common data set. A local valuation expert can enhance the quality of the product with their ability to confirm the integrity of the data with confidence.”

First American Mortgage Solutions’ industry-leading repository of real estate data is invaluable in this process. The company’s deep, nationwide coverage of property, collateral and prior appraisal information assists the appraiser in delivering a higher quality appraisal or valuation.