Appraisal software is sometimes misunderstood by appraisers and other real estate insiders. While some appraisal software is as simplistic and unpliable as accused, there is appraisal software that is far more helpful, efficient, pliable, and generous in decision-making allowances than many appraisers may realize.
Appraisers want their software customizable.
George Dell, in his article, “What Skills Do I Need Now?”, states that there are two types of appraisal software:
Some software helps the analysts analyze. Other software helps the analyst transmit and communicate to the user’s brain. Who has to know these two different uses of software? It’s the analyst. The Appraiser.
The Miracle Software
It might come as a pleasant surprise to Dell and many other real estate insiders to learn that there is an appraisal software that combines the capabilities of both types of software, the ability to analyze and the ability to communicate “to the user[‘s] brain.” DataMaster Pro (and its predecessor, DataMaster Classic) contains the ability to analyze data for appraisers while allowing the appraiser to customize the appearance and content of various reports and forms. The ability to analyze and customize data allows more natural communication with “the user brain,” as well as, more importantly, gives the appraiser the ability to choose which data to include.
Intelligent features such as data customization; visually appealing graphs that tell the story of the data; quality and conditions; maps; customizable trends; comparisons between MLS and public records data; and detailed explanations (with sources) of how DataMaster populates the forms, help appraisers work. DataMaster is not a dictator but a generous mentor who aids appraisers in presenting clean, thorough, defensible appraisal forms. DataMaster does not “control” the appraiser but gives the appraiser ample freedom in determining what to include on the forms.
Let’s look closer into how DataMaster gives you, the appraiser, the power!
Customize Your Data and Processes
You can customize the appearance of the forms in DataMaster, but better yet, you can also customize data fields in DataMaster. You can customize DataMaster to match your workflow!
For example, you can format various fields in the Sales Comparison Grid, such as the heating/cooling line. DataMaster shows you how the title of the line appears in the MLS, “Central Electric,” then gives you the option to enter precisely how you want the title to appear on your forms, e.g., “Central.”
By adding or deleting columns, changing their order on the form, and determining the title of the subject (e.g., “FR” instead of “Front Room”), you customize the forms to the layout and appearance that you prefer!
Options for customization in the comparables grid are many. Let’s touch on some of them!
First, you can choose to use the MLS photo of the subject property, or you can choose not to use the picture on your form at all. You can also leave comments with your photos to further explain your decisions and for future reference should you revisit the appraisal forms.
Next, DataMaster allows you to choose the properties that you want to use for your comparables. You sort through the various property options and choose which ones to import. DataMaster brings those properties in and populates the details into your form.
Finally, as you perfect the comparables, you can customize and edit the details in the comparables grid. You choose the quality and conditions ratings (DataMaster even includes USPAP definitions to jog your memory).
Then you enter any information you need to add. Ultimately you, the appraiser, determine the information you send to your form vendor and to include in your final appraisal report.
You have the option of choosing from more than 20 graphs for your appraisal report. You determine the presentations that best portray the market trends and support your market conditions data.
You can also customize the appearance and content of the graphs. You can add trend lines and format them how you want. You can choose between bar and line graphs, set the trend type, and even change the colors to match your preferences!
1004 MC Report
DataMaster calculates and populates (at a rate of approximately 28,000 words per minute!) the market conditions report. You set the trends in your report! You can even add comments!
DataMaster explains how it populates the 1004MC by providing a thorough explanation (line by line) of the information included. Dell postulates that “With forms software, the problem is the original programmer/marketer made analytics decisions.” This theory may hold for some appraiser software, but not for DataMaster!
Also, on the 1004 MC form, DataMaster follows UAD guidelines and prominently displays those guidelines for appraisers to read and understand. Nothing is hidden and there are no surprises!
Appraisers enjoy success at the end of the day!
Rick Lifferth, MAI, SRA, founder of DataMaster, said about this sophisticated software,
“One of the things that we’ve tried to accomplish with Datamaster…is to allow the appraiser to be an analyst, to look at the data and to analyze what it’s really saying to him…
It allows appraisers to bring that data in the format that he wants. This allows the appraiser to control the quality of the report while he spends more of the time analyzing the data rather than getting the typing right.”
DataMaster takes your input then contacts your MLS and public records feed and gathers the data you need from them. You then customize the report and when you’re ready, DataMaster exports your data and decisions into your form software, where you can continue to finalize the report.
With DataMaster, you are always in control of the process! You identify the properties that fit your assignment and move them into your reports. You review the assignment details, the scope of work, and other factors.
You choose the data that goes into your appraisal report! You, the appraiser, have all of the power! DataMaster lets the appraiser choose!