Appraisal management companies have a new tool at their disposal that promises to enhance efficiency.
Anow, a software developer for appraisal firms and AMCs, is partnering with the Business Association of Real Estate Appraisers (BAREA), in a bid to simplify operations for the latter’s member companies by, among other things, reducing administrative duties and turnaround times.
“Anow makes appraisers more efficient,” said Marty Haldane, founder and CEO of Anow. “We organize them from auto intake of orders to analytics, payroll, invoicing and scheduling. What we do for appraisers is make their lives simpler.”
Typically, mortgage brokers work with a few trusted appraisers, but existing relationships do not influence who AMCs assign to appraise properties. Through Anow Connect, however, the broker is back in the driver’s seat.
“Many brokers already have appraisers they like to work with,” said Haldane. “If the broker calls and needs somebody that day, the problem that occurs with traditional AMCs is that the brokers don’t get to choose who they use. Now they’ll get to choose their appraiser, but with a complete audit trail and an extra layer between brokers and appraisers for compliance.” There’s also an audit trail, which helps cut down on things like mortgage fraud because it’s all out in the open.
“When a mortgage broker orders an appraisal on their client’s behalf, the client is trusting the broker to find an appraiser who treats them professionally and does a fair appraisal. What we do is vastly different than the traditional AMC model because we still let them work together.”
Appraisers, no longer burdened with administrative tasks, are able to increase their output.
Leigh Walker, president of Lawrenson Walker Appraisers and a principal at the BAREA, says that Anow Connect has improved the service quality for his broker clients by reducing turnaround times by a third. That, in turn, has enabled Lawrenson Walker Appraisers to escalate its volume and become more profitable-something it would have been incapable of doing without adding staff when market activity peaked between 2016 and 2017.
“It allows brokers to come in and look at all the orders placed through my company and give them real time updates,” he said. “Everything is streamlined through Anow Connect, including the painless payment process. There wasn’t a lot of innovation in the appraiser space before.
“We gained back 20% on our administration costs and we reduced turnaround time. As a broker-centric appraisal company, we’re an extension of the broker’s business and we want to make sure they’re well-represented to their clients. When the homeowner meets our appraiser, we want to make a good impression.”