Faster, More Accurate Appraisals

Real Estate Appraiser with Fariss Appraisal Services

I've always been a fan of using technology. I've reported in the past about switching from paper and tape appraisal inspections to laser and pocket pc or tablet pc. Taking the leap from one to the other takes a little getting used to, but if you ease into, it will take forever to get the hang of it and reap the benefits.

Last month A la mode released a new version of their appraisal software that works on the iPhone. it's still in beta testing right now, so it's not perfect. That said, I've tried it out on several inspections with mixed results. I've lost some inspection notes and sketches during the inspection...I've learned to back up on paper right now, but other inspections have gone well.

I'm trying the software out on small vacant homes right now because of the couple of problems I've encountered; I use a tablet on all other inspections. However, the potential for this software to save time is great. There are some fantastic features built into this software: take photos with the phone and have them appear in the right spot in the final report; take photos of each room and add notes; sketch with your finger; add notes to rooms labeled on the sketch; add comps on the fly; pull a subject map; record voice notes; free-form notepad; ability to email a PDF of the sketch and all inspection notes; and best of all sync back to your desktop application from the field with an iPhone. The application will work with an iPod Touch, but you lose some of the features if out of WiFi range.

The potential for this application is great. Sending your inspection notes back to the office from the field for a secretary to start typing is great!

A la mode is working on some bug fixes and enhancements already. The full version should be released within the next couple of weeks.

Best of all the application is free, even if you don't use WinTotal. Just email a pdf of your inspection notes back to yourself. You can even copy high resolution photos right from the PDF.

I'll post some updates when the full version and syncing are released.

The Bakersfield Appraiser

Comments (5)

Douglas Fischer
East Oahu Realty - Selling Honolulu, Hawaii Condos - Honolulu, HI

Anything that helps improve the overall appraisal process, including speed, efficency, accuracy and ease are all to be applauded.

Dec 02, 2009 06:46 AM
Jesse Skolkin
Independent New York State Certified Real Estate Appraiser - Fresh Meadows, NY


I'm a true Wintotal believer, but have not yet put down the clipboard & 100' tape measure.  I just feel that low tech is more reliable for workfiles, which we're required to keep for a minimum of 5 years.  I do see the benefit of less clutter, and I guess eventually I'll make it into the 21st Century.

Dec 03, 2009 04:04 AM
John Fariss
Fariss Appraisal Services - Bakersfield, CA
Appraiser - Bakersfield, CA

Doug: I completely agree.

Jesse: Actually the mobile tools are more reliable for workfiles...the field notes are automatically attached to the Workfile in WinTotal. So, your field notes are always attached to the appraisal instead of stored in a box somewhere. If you combine the field tools with DirectFax or scanning, you can include all your notes and printouts in the Workfile in WinTotal. Then, store your files via the Vault or some other off-site storage and you never have to worry about losing your notes or having to dig through boxes in storage.

Dec 03, 2009 04:14 AM
Alix Pinzon
Open Mortgage, LLC NMLS # 2975 - Downey, CA

I'm with Jesse.  There's never been the income or stability in this business to be able to hire "a secretary."  Maybe I should be calling India, since the AMC's think that it's such a grand idea.

Dec 07, 2009 02:41 PM
Rita Bradley
Laguna Hills, CA
Valuation Consultant in Orange County California 949-916-3263

I like the concept.  Once the kinks are out, I think I can see myself using this tool.  Also need to see the price of I-phones come down a bit-I'm sure the 1st ones that came out are cheaper now-does this app work on those too?  As far as secretaries-I work as an appraisal assistant now and it doesn't appear to be worthwhile for anyone to have an assistant unless the appraiser is getting close to what we think of as full fee.

Dec 15, 2009 01:17 AM