Avoid Buyer’s Remorse

As the chief appraiser, it feels easier to make a business case to go with the established appraisal workflow provider’s new software platform. Moving from an old platform to a new platform within the same company. Makes perfect sense, why wouldn’t you? It’s the path of least resistance, right?

Expect More, Much More

Myth 1: Switching to the established player’s new platform is the path of least resistance.

Reality: Going from an old platform to a new one, even within the same company is still a data conversion. It involves change to your appraisal department. It will require re-training. It will take time to figure out how the new platform is different. New dashboards, different vendor management, different processes. So why not take the time to evaluate alternative products?

The path of least resistance is often a metaphor for personal effort, the easiest way to go. Everyone wants things to be easy. Determine through investigation if this is really true for your appraisal department.

Upgrade Opportunity

Customer service has changed over the years so much that it’s not called that anymore. It’s now known as client success. It moves way beyond the cliché, “we provide great customer service.” The new standard is how does the product and the services provided impact your appraisal department? The outcome. The result. What needle does it move for your department? Are there quantifiable productivity improvements and not just features?

Myth 2: Appraisal workflow platforms are all the same.

Reality: Appraisal workflow designed by valuation experts is what you would expect. Appraisal workflow designed by environmental experts is what you expect.

Communication is Key

How would it feel if your workflow platform could track conversations between:

  • Job Manager and Loan Officer
  • Job Manager and External Vendor
  • Reviewer and Job Manager
  • Reviewer and Vendor
  • External Reviewer and External Vendor

Determine if your workflow platform maintains request documents (supporting docs the lenders upload) in the system indefinitely. Does each group of communications in the system done in separate comment or chat boxes and stored? Is an email sent each time a comment is made to the receiving party? Is this communication date stamped, sending and receiving parties identified, and stored for retrieval later?

Can you find the stuff you need? Determine if your platform is property-centric or borrower-centric. If it’s the latter, it might be an arduous task to track down all valuation docs and communication for a particular property. This is especially true for a portfolio. Often times loans will be identified under various borrowers’ names and entities. It shouldn’t be so hard to find your own data.

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Myth 3: “No one ever got fired by going with IBM.”

Reality: That sentence is 40 plus years old. You may not get fired but you might unnecessarily create a lot of frustration and stress for your appraisal team.

As we fast approach 2021, things are different than they were even a few years ago. Current challenges for your appraisal departments:

  • Real-time access to details of problematic appraisals
  • Meeting service level agreements (SLAs)
  • Real-time reporting to upper management
  • Budgeting – handle more appraisal volume with the same personnel
  • Quickly find documents for regulatory audits

Word on the Street Call other chief appraisers or chief credit officers at other banks. Have a conversation. We find that many bank appraisers are helpful and open to sharing their real life experiences with their choice of appraisal workflow platform. Ask the simple but powerful net promoter score question, “How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?” Avoid making the wrong decision for your appraisal department. Avoid buyer’s remorse. Determine what works best for your department.

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