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And the Appraisal Survey Says …

digital lendingSeventy percent of appraisers plan to utilize desktop technology in the next two-three years to streamline their work, according to a new survey by Computershare Loan Services [1]. Full survey results can be found in the company’s white paper, “Property Appraisers in 2020—Embracing New Technology to Reinvigorate the Industry [2].”

Of the 400+ answers received from Computershare’s current network of appraisers, 35 percent responded that they are already utilizing desktop technology for a least a quarter of their appraisers.

Overall, Computershare found that their survey results point to the fact that “U.S. appraisers believe their industry is on the brink of significant change.” Despite only 12 percent of respondents reporting that desktop appraisals make up half their work, 37 percent said they expect to join this number by 2020 or 2021.

Desktop appraisals differ from the standard appraisal method where an appraiser will visit the property to personally evaluate the interior and exterior. With desktop appraisers, appraisers instead utilize public records and online tools to make their assessment. Some appraisers choose to employ a hybrid method of the standard and desktop appraisal.

Among the challenges appraisers face is the issue of supply and demand, according to Computershare. Citing data from a 2017 Appraisal Subcommittee report by the Federal Financial Institution Examinations Council, appraisers are outnumbered by real estate agents 25-to-1.

Time and cost is also a factor for today’s appraisers, according to Computershare. Citing Property Solutions data, the company revealed that an appraisal in some parts of Washington state took nearly four weeks to complete at a cost of $1,800—while in suburban Illinois this was decreased to less than a week and $450.

“Like many professions, property appraising currently faces some interesting challenges as well as the emergence of significant technological changes,” Nick Oldfield, CEO of Computershare said.  “However, our white paper shows that, by embracing new methods, whether desktop appraisals, cloud computing or the use of drones, the industry can dramatically increase its efficiency and overcome other issues, such as declining numbers and a shortage of new appraisers entering the industry.