Six months ago, I changed employers, and with that change came a switch to realquantum.
At first, I was somewhat wary of learning a new system. I’d assisted my previous employer in onboarding to a competitor that was another “off the shelf” commercial appraisal automation product, but one designed around a database and Microsoft Word/Excel templates. I’d used it daily for several years for my report generation and assisted in maintaining the company template database. However, that software was clunky and frustrating to use.
Realquantum is easier, more intuitive, and more streamlined than any product I’ve used or seen in the marketplace, enabling me to be far more productive. On top of that, the learning curve to start using realquantum was negligible.
One of the main selling points of any appraisal automation software is its ability to populate manual data entry into narrative appraisals. While Excel/Word based templates offer this to a degree, there are drawbacks. Have you ever been deep into an appraisal, a deadline looming, when new facts come in? The borrower surprises you with an updated building plan that has a new GBA, you realize that the adjacent vacant lot is supposed to be incorporated into the site size, or a zoning department official finally calls you back and informs you that the subject has an entirely different zoning designation? Of course, these changes need to be made in several sections of the report and can impact the overall value. Did I mention you’re under a deadline?
Using the old template-based software, every time that happened I’d have to decide which was faster: manually changing that information everywhere it appeared in the report (which was inevitably at least five different places), or go through the laborious process of updating my Excel template and re-merging the data into my Word document which could take upwards of five or ten minutes at times.
With realquantum, when one of those last-minute changes comes up, you simply update one field within the program, and that updated information is immediately populated everywhere it needs to go: the database, the narrative of the report, the adjustment grids. Realquantum will even update the automatic calculations within the adjustment grids. There are no templates, no re-merging of data, no scrolling through the report, trying to remember every place the updated information needs to go. It’s all right there, in realquantum, updated all at once in seconds.
One of the other headaches I had with my previous employer’s software was stability. The software’s vendor provided periodic updates which introduced new features. While on paper those new features always sounded good, like clockwork following an update or tweak on their end some functionality or formula in a custom template I had created was disrupted or lost. That meant time out of my day consulting their customer support team, emailing multiple custom Excel templates back and forth and waiting for their diagnosis and solution.
Stability with templates internally within our company was also a constant concern. I worked in an office that shared Excel and Word templates on a common network drive. This allowed changes to be made to one set of templates for global consistency. However, inevitably within a few weeks of being hired, a new analyst would accidentally save over or delete a template. Fast-moving, experienced appraisers could also be just as guilty. Rarely did the offending party even know they accidentally did this and it would take the next employee in the company that needed that template to realize it was missing or corrupted. That resulted in time away from my primary job to track down the correct backup template, make sure it was up to date and re-saving it to the network drive.
It also was commonplace for appraisers within the office to share Excel templates they had modified with each other or they would keep their own customized versions locally on their computers. Again, when an update was issued by the vendor or if any modification internally was made to the primary template housed on the common drive this could lead to a host of issues.
In the six months I’ve used realquantum, its been a breath of fresh air to not have to open files ending in .docx or .xlsx daily. The stability realquantum provides in its imbedded calculations, ease of data management and just the overall simpler, faster workflow compared to the alternative template-based software is far and away worth it.
Sam Stratton is a busy commercial appraiser based in the midwest.
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