Software Enables Appraisers to Share Data

Article excerpt

Edmond real estate software developer a la mode inc. has released a new product to help appraisers gather needed home sales data for their reports.

Chief Executive Dave Biggers said a la mode's new CompsXchange software automates daily sharing of information about recent home sales between appraisers in the same locale. Data about sales of comparable homes -- called "comps" by those in the industry -- is necessary for appraisers to complete a residential appraisal.

CompsXchange works by allowing each appraiser to decide which colleagues he or she wants to trade comps with. At a time designated by the appraiser, the software automatically extracts comps from his or her electronic appraisal reports and e-mails them to colleagues. Digital photos associated with the comps are compressed and sent along with the comp data.

"It's an automated buddy system," Biggers said. "Appraisers get the exact information they need to do their job from the people best qualified to give them that information. And they won't have to remember to send their comps or retrieve the comps sent to them. The software does it for them."

Biggers said the CompsXchange saves appraisers time and money.

Many appraisers pay fees to collect comp information through the Multiple Listing Service of their local real estate board. However, MLS data is collected for Realtor use, not appraisal use, and often doesn't contain key information appraisers need. In addition, MLS data requires hand typing into an appraisal report, forcing appraisers to key it in themselves or hire someone else to do it for them.

Information obtained from county assessors' offices is likewise incomplete and time- and labor-intensive for appraisal purposes. And while several national and regional companies sell comps they've collected from mortgage lenders, assessor offices and appraisers themselves, the services may cost as much as $2,000 a year.

A second benefit of the CompsXchange is that the software does not open the door for comps to be pulled into automated valuation models -- large databases pulled together from a variety of sources. AVMs identify comps in order to establish the value of a home for which the lender is preparing a loan. Many appraisers fear that increased use of AVMs by lenders will decrease use of appraisals, forcing some appraisers to lower their fees and others to leave the business altogether. Because use of CompsXchange does not create a central database that could be sold to or otherwise shared with an AVM, Biggers said appraisers retain control of their data.

Realtors to hear Lamirand

Hershel Lamirand, executive director of the Oklahoma Health Center Foundation, will be the featured speaker at the Commercial Industrial Division of Realtors' luncheon and meeting at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at Applewoods. The OHCF represents all 21 institutions (over 13,000 employees) located in the Oklahoma Health Center campus area and is involved in all aspects of this research, medical and technology center. Cheryl Choumbakos, director of Technological Development for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce will join Lamirand in the presentation. To make a reservation, call 840- 1493.

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