How I Learned New Appraisal Technology

Jared Preisler, Chief Appraiser at DataMaster


All appraisers have had to pick up new skills over their years of appraising. For some appraisers, implementing new technology and appraisal software is no issue because, let’s admit it, some people just “get it” when it comes to tech gadgets and software programs. But for others, implementing a new tech gadget into their process or learning to use new appraisal software is no easy feat.

It’s Time To Learn New Skills

So the writing is on the wall-you know that you have to start using some of these newfangled gadgets and software programs if you’re going to stay relevant. How did everyone else do it?

With the help of a ten-year-old, I implemented some new tech and joined the world of paperless appraisals!

Here’s how I did it:

How I Went Paperless

In 2017, shortly after becoming the chief appraiser for DataMaster, I was trying to juggle a lot of things. I had my family life, my appraisal business, and a new opportunity with DataMaster. There had to be some way to figure out how I was going to make it all work!

I dropped some of my clients. I also cut back on some of my appraisal work. In an effort to save even more time, in January 2017, I decided that it was time to go paperless. The time had come to utilize the available time-saving technology and to combine it with my appraisal data management software.

Third Time’s the Charm!

This was the third time I tried to go paperless. It wasn’t for lack of buying the best equipment that was out there, buying the high-tech iPad, and all of those different things. Neither was it the lack of having a form software that had the ability to collect the data paperless. It was a lack of knowing how to make the jump!

There was an appraiser, Dustin Harris, that had been successful at it. I follow him and listen to a lot of his podcasts. Luckily, I talk to him on a regular basis. He gave me some helpful advice,

Do at least 10 reports, the first 10 reports of the year. It doesn’t matter if they’re lender work, if they’re custom homes, if they’re manufactured homes, if it’s a log home, if it’s really tough or really easy. Do the first 10 paperless. And once you get through those first ten it’s going to become easier and easier and easier.

Just Do It!

Normally I had these big file folders and they have my checklist and everything on them. So, for the first try of my third attempt, I took that file folder with me but left it in the truck on the passenger seat. Only my laser measure and iPad came with me into the house!

Figuring it was better to be upfront with the homeowners, I told them, “I’ve been appraising for 20-plus years, but I’m trying some new technology. It’s going to seem like I don’t know what I’m doing, and I want to apologize up front. Your house is the first house and I’m trying to learn something new.”

So, I started my sketch. I got everything going and I went into the living room. They had a ten-year-old boy that was walking around with me (I like to have the homeowners take me on a tour.) I put the living room label on and I double-clicked it to take the picture. As I put my iPad up, it went blank. And I said, “Oh no, what’s going on?” The ten-year old said, “Let me help you with that!” He grabbed the iPad and he got it going for me after a quick setting change. Now it wouldn’t shut off automatically on me. Luckily, he followed me around! It took me a little bit longer at that home because I normally would’ve been taking notes on a notepad.

Finishing Up

When I got finished, I climbed into my truck. My file folder was sitting on the seat next to me. Without hesitation, I grabbed it and started writing down everything that I could remember about that home. It was nerve-wracking because I was so worried that when I got back that it wasn’t going to upload to my appraisal software!

It all worked out though! By about the eighth or ninth assignment report, I could leave the folders at home! There was this learning curve, but I just did it and jumped in cold turkey!

And that’s the way that I learned that appraisal technology. I can’t imagine going back!

The Benefits of Appraisal Tech

It has saved me so much time to go digital and fully utilize appraisal technolgy. I’ll be out driving a property and there’ll be a final inspection that comes up, and my office will call and say, ‘”Hey, can you run by and do this? We just uploaded the file to you. Go and grab that inspection!” I’ll say, “sure!” and get the appraisal done without having to run back to the office.

Adapting new technology and implementing new appraisal software is very simple. You’ve got to commit to the process. You’ve got to commit to the technology, to the tool that you’re using, to get it right. And if it doesn’t make sense, if you’re looking at an analytic tool that you’re trying for the first time, and it just doesn’t make sense, trust your judgement. Tell yourself, “OK, what is it that I need to change? What am I missing? What data did I not put in right?” Be careful not to let appraisal theory go out the window for the sake of statistical analysis. But make sure that you’re keeping your appraiser hat on. But you really have to commit to the new tech or software.

It can be painful. But the benefits that come from it are going to far outweigh the little bit of uncomfortableness that will start it off!

You Got This!

Good luck! Please share your new tech or appraisal management software story with us! I’d love to hear it!

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