Appraisers, appraisal management companies and mortgage lenders have been overwhelmed with new regulatory requirements during the past few years, but a host of offerings promise to make compliance almost routine. Meantime, a number of recent technology enhancements promise to improve the validity of appraisal values. Some appraisal firms are reporting extraordinary growth.
A new workflow engine added to the eTrac appraisal management technology "will grossly expand user customizability to achieve virtually limitless possibilities for custom workflows, and enable accessibility to the industry's newest technology features," Global DMS said in an April 23 statement. Users can customize the workflow engine, enabling them to create unique business rules that automate user-designated actions and guide each appraisal order to the next appropriate step.
Global DMS, a Mortgage Daily advertiser, previously said it launched a mobile application in March.
Lenders can work directly with chief staff appraisers on concerns about valuation reports as a result of Appraisal Liaison unveiled in March by Nationwide Appraisal & Settlement Network. Also recently added to the firm's offerings were LenderConnect, a portal with all of the important functions needed to maintain files and receive updates as changes occur, and CustomMax, which enables users to pick and choose from LenderConnect.
Growth has been so strong at Nationwide that the Oldsmar, Fla.-based company is moving its headquarters and tripling its space. The AMC also plans to expand its staff this year.
In April, Nationwide -- which is also a Mortgage Daily advertiser -- reported that it will give extra attention to quality and service during the second half of this year.
Nationwide, which says that it approves thousands of new appraisers each year, reported in February that its new PanelPlus enables lenders to maintain existing appraiser relationships. Nationwide takes over the approval, management and maintenance of appraisers while maintaining regulatory compliance.
A "cloud control compliance center" announced in May by Coester Appraisal Group promises to help lenders comply with appraisal requirements of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 and the Truth in Lending Act. Mortgage firms can see exactly how each appraisal report measures up to industry requirements like customary and reasonable appraiser fees and appraisal independence requirements.
Coester said in April that it enhanced Cloud Control with automated appraisal review technology. The free service, which debuted in March, is an end-to-end appraisal management technology.
"The system automatically extracts and converts data into UCDP-compliant formats and submits appraisal data through the Uniform Collateral Data Portal," Coester said. "Cloud Control provides the property value as estimated by an automated valuation model, provides reviewers' notes for every appraisal report, and verifies that the appraiser and property adhere to industry requirements by cross-checking resources like ASC.gov, FHA Connection and FEMA."
Compass Interactive was introduced last month as a seamless interaction between Woodfinn's Compass appraisal management software and Bradford Technologies' ClickFORMs appraisal form filling software. The offering provides instant communication with participating appraisers -- "dramatically" improving review process efficiency by eliminating quality control-related appraisal resubmissions
Bradford said in March that its redesigned CompCruncher valuation technology provides regression-based analysis for GSE-approved appraisals. More than 2,000 appraisers have reportedly been trained to use CompCrucher, and the number is expected to expand to 5,000 this year.
A technology integration has been completed between loan origination system developer Mortgage Builder and InHouse Inc., making a full menu of appraisal options available to users of the LOS, a May 7 news release indicated. InHouse's Connexions is an appraisal management platform.
A month earlier, InHouse said it was actively recruiting more highly qualified appraisers as a result of "unprecedented demand." In addition, the Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.-based firm is pressing more of its appraisers to become certified.
The reverse mortgage division of Plaza Home Mortgage Inc. has implemented Platinum Data Solutions' RealView automated appraisal review technology, an announcement this month said. The offering reportedly helps underwriters ensure that the best available comparable properties were used.
A qualitative scoring function was added to RealView, Platinum reported in April. One of three rankings are automatically assigned based on the number and type of rule discrepancies found in each report -- including potentially inaccurate, erroneous or fraudulent data points.
Last month, Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based Platinum claimed that Nations Valuation Services achieved a 66 percent increase in appraisal orders since implementing RealView in July 2011. In addition, client dispute rates are down 18 percent at the AMC and productivity is up 22 percent. No quality issues were reported by Nations' client lenders during February.
"We're getting an increased share of our lenders' business because they know we provide underwriter-ready appraisals," Nations Executive Vice President Stephen French said in the statement. "We're helping them to reduce risk, and we're also reducing the time and resources it takes to ensure quality on appraisals."
The March launch of Dart Connect enables lenders to combine their existing appraisal panel with DartAppraisal.com technology. The customized service is targeted at rapidly growing small- to medium-sized lenders and promises regulatory compliance.
eMortgage Logic LLC said in February that it integrated nationwide multiple listing service data into its valuation management platform. The enhancement is expected to provide a higher level of quality control, faster service and newer, more accurate solutions than what is currently available.
"In addition, EML has developed a proprietary comparable property scoring methodology that analyzes hundreds of fields of data for each subject property and chosen comps, and provides a statistical scoring of the relative fit for each comp," the statement said. "This scoring process helps EML's quality assurance team verify that the broker or appraiser has chosen the most appropriate comps for the subject property and, if necessary, question why certain comps were chosen."
Troy, Mich.-based TSI Appraisal launched an appraisal blog in February for the appraisal industry. The AMC said the online venture will allow "appraisers to engage in open dialogue, interact and learn from each other."
A series of webinars produced by ACI cover recent revisions to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. Instructors for the events, Richard Heyn, SRA, and Dawn Molitor-Gennrich, SRA, are certified by the Appraiser Qualifications Board.
Customers of DataQuick now have access to USPAP-compliant desktop appraisals through a partnership with ValueNet announced in March. The offering utilizes the market knowledge of local appraisers along with property-level data and neighborhood trending information. Delivery is provided within one week.
Bridgeview Bank's commercial banking unit has signed on as a client of MountainSeed Appraisal Management, according to a news release in March. That same month, the Community Bankers Association of Georgia endorsed Atlanta-based MountainSeed, while Fidelity Bank became a client in February.
The latest release of BPO Plus provides the quality control reviewer and the end user a full set of local MLS farm data in addition to the comparables selected by the local market expert, First Valuation said this month. An automated comparable property scoring algorithm scores each potential comp -- whether a closed sale, listing or pending sale.
BPOMerge is a cost-effective, multi-sourced BPO that is an alternative to traditional BPOs, Valuation Vision announced in March. It utilizes three qualified agents to select comparables and develop independent price opinions on the subject property.